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Jun 23, 2014 - 04:50 PM
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Palmer Continues To Lead GP2 Series After Difficult Austrian Weekend
Posted by: newsla on Jun 23, 2014 - 04:44 PM
GP2 News
Palmer Continues To Lead GP2 Series After Difficult Austrian Weekend


Jolyon Palmer retains a comfortable lead in the GP2 Series standings, despite two frustrating races at Austria’s Red Bull Ring last weekend (21/22 June).

 

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For the first time in 2014, Jolyon was unable to score a podium finish, but taking fifth and sixth place finishes in the two races on the championship’s first visit to the Austrian circuit - enough to ensure the Briton will take a 33 point lead to his home round at Silverstone in two weeks' time.

Palmer once more demonstrated his speed with second place on the grid in qualifying, just 0.040 seconds off the best lap time of pole man Johnny Cecotto. This means Jolyon has qualified on the front row of the grid at every round this season.

In Saturday’s Feature Race, a slow start saw Palmer drop to fourth on the opening lap. Squeezed in at the first corner by Mitch Evans and Stefano Coletti, Jolyon had to take avoiding action to avoid damage, but recovered quickly to run as high as third in the early stages.

Running on a different tyre strategy to his closest rivals, Jolyon was forced to defend his position from Cecotto, who had also fallen back at the start. Palmer pitted on lap 14, resuming in 13th place, which became fourth when other runners pitted. Late on, Jolyon was passed by Raffaele Marciello leaving him fifth. Palmer’s immediate title rival, Brazilian Felipe Nasr claimed the race victory, trimming Jolyon’s title lead to 29 points.

Starting fourth on the grid for Sunday’s Sprint Race, Jolyon again encountered difficulties off the line. Immediately in front of Palmer, Mitch Evans crawled away from the grid, boxing-in Jolyon and putting him seventh at the first corner. Palmer moved up to sixth at the end of lap one.

After attempting several moves on Evans on lap three, Jolyon was passed for sixth by Julian Leal. Fighting back with a string of extremely quick lap times, Palmer was easily the fastest runner mid-race, and caught up to the pack of cars following a struggling Alexander Rossi. Re-engaging in battle with Leal, Jolyon passed the Colombian on lap 19, only for his rival to re-pass moments later. Palmer made a decisive move stick on lap 20.

Palmer then closed in on Rossi, getting within half-a-second of the American before settling for sixth. He extended his title lead to 33 points over Nasr, who was an early retirement.

After the race, Jolyon commented: "I got boxed in at the start and lost a lot of positions. Afterwards I wasn't very quick in the opening few laps but then I managed to pull in the gap and pass Leal for sixth. I couldn't do any more though as I got stuck behind Rossi and had to settle for sixth.

"It's been a disappointing weekend in terms of results considering where we started, but the pace was strong and there are definitely positives to take away, I still have a good lead in the championship and I’m counting on increasing it at Silverstone. My team mate won his home race at Monaco so it’s up to me to do the same at the next round!"

The next round of the GP2 Series takes place at Silverstone on 4-6 July.

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