Bright start for Arden as Asia comes to Europe...
Arden team-mates Josef Kral and Jolyon Palmer have an excellent opportunity to score strong, points-scoring finishes in the final two races of the GP2 Asia Series, in the wake of an excellent qualifying performance.
Despite its title, the championship concludes this weekend at Imola, Italy. With four of the six originally scheduled races cancelled due to the delicate political climate in Bahrain, a deal was struck to host the final meeting at the former home of the San Marino Grand Prix. It is a fitting venue in many ways, for the GP2 Series began here in 2005 -- and Arden driver Heikki Kovalainen won the inaugural race. Kral and Palmer are both well placed to follow him on to the podium: they line up sixth and eighth for the feature event.
"We had two free practice sessions rather than one this morning. Neither went particularly well for me, however. I couldn't generate any tyre temperature in the first and a red flag meant the same was true in the second. Things were immediately better in qualifying, because I had a clear track and was able to complete my tyre preparations without hindrance. I could probably have got a little more from the rubber, if I'm honest, but I'm happy to be in the top six -- it's a big improvement on this morning and there is definitely more to come. I know the race will be tough, but I'm confident I can challenge for a podium finish. There aren't many opportunities to overtake here, so it will be important to make a good start and then capitalise on strategy to make up further ground."
"I was very happy to be fourth in the first free practice session, although the second wasn't so good because I didn't feel quite as comfortable on the next set of tyres. Even so, I felt very confident ahead of the qualifying session. My first run was spoiled, however, because the red flag came out before I'd set a time but after the tyres were past their best. In the end everything came down to a single run and fortunately it was a pretty decent lap -- there was some traffic, but it cost me only a couple of tenths so I can't really complain. I am aiming to score points in race one -- and if I can do that it will put me in good stead for Sunday, too."