Positive Progress For Kral And Palmer
After a troubled start to their GP2 Series campaign yesterday, Arden team-mates Josef Kral and Jolyon Palmer bounced back in this morning’s sprint race at Istanbul Park, Turkey. From 13th and 17th on the grid, the duo made stealthy progress as other drivers committed errors or else failed to look after their tyres appropriately. Both drivers gained two places on the opening lap, after which Kral steadily picked his way through to seventh and Palmer to 11th. With five laps to go, the safety car appeared after an accident on the pit straight and drivers were then released for a one-lap dash to the chequered flag. This was an opportunity for further progress and both Arden drivers capitalised, Kral moving up to sixth, to score the team’s first point of the season, and Palmer to ninth.
“My start was good. I gained a few places and then just tried to look after my tyres. I was quite lucky to avoid a collision with Jules Bianchi, who spun in front of me at the corner leading on to the pit straight, but that cost me momentum and I lost a position or two. From that point, however, I was able to make progress. It is rewarding to score a point, but more so that I had to pass so many cars to do it. We definitely learned lessons yesterday and this result reflects as much. I believe we can now build on this to score a strong result in Barcelona.”
“I made another bad start and had to double declutch, but by the end of the first lap I had gained positions overall so that was OK. I was in a tight midfield pack and had bad understeer early on, but I made a few subtle adjustments and the balance came back. I seemed to be struggling for straight-line speed, too, but at one-third distance the tyres came in and I was able to start moving forwards. I was 11th when the safety car came out, which was annoying because I was catching drivers whose tyres were in worse condition. I passed two more people after the restart, so going from 17th to ninth isn’t too bad. I haven’t been to this track before and I’ve learned a lot about tyre management and other things. It has been a steep learning curve but positive, too, and I’m confident I can challenge for points in Barcelona.”