GP2 frustration for Jolyon

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SOUTHWATER racer Jolyon Palmer endured a weekend of frustration in Italy at the weekend, when a machanical falure denied him a maiden GP2 Asia points finish.

Palmer, who drives for the Arden Motorsport team, made an impressive start to the weekend by finishing Friday’s opening free practice session in fourth position . He then qualified a superb eighth and ended as top rookie for the opening race of the weekend out of a field of twenty six drivers.

Palmer, who drives for the Arden Motorsport team, made an impressive start to the weekend by finishing Friday’s opening free practice session in fourth position . He then qualified a superb eighth and ended as top rookie for the opening race of the weekend out of a field of twenty six drivers.

At the start of race one, the young Sussex driver made an excellent getaway from his eighth position on the grid, passing the iSport pairing of Sam Bird - who started from the front row - and Swede Marcus Ericsson. Jolyon then held sixth comfortably and was pressuring championship leader Jules Bianchi, though damaged his front wing after clipping the rear of the Frenchman’s car at 180 mph on the run to Rivazza as he tried to overtake. He briefly moved up to fifth position before the Arden team brought him in for his mandatory pit stop on lap 8 in the 35 lap race.

With tyres changed, Jolyon went to pull away but was unable to select first gear and lost 20 seconds as the problem was overcome, dropping Jolyon to 23rd position and amongst heavy traffic. Despite overtaking being virtually impossible, Jolyon managed to find a way by several other drivers, including World Series Renault champion Mikhail Aleshin, with some great moves to finish in 19th place.

With the second race of the weekend starting in order of race one finishing position it was always going to be tough. However after a blistering start and some impressive overtaking moves Jolyon scythed up from 19th to 13th on the first lap, only for the alternator to then fail leaving his GP2 car coasting to a halt and out of the race.

“A disappointing end to what had been such a promising weekend,” said Palmer. “There are many positives to take away though – it was really encouraging to know I had the pace to be scoring points in just my second GP2 event and I was comfortable dicing with guys like Jules Bianchi, who is a Ferrari F1 reserve driver. Now it’s onto Silverstone testing in a couple of weeks.”

Palmer’s next race outing will be on 6-8 May, when the main GP2 Series gets underway at Istanbul in Turkey, supporting F1.