SOUTHWATER racing driver Jolyon Palmer roared to third place in the GP2 Finals feature race to claim his first podium in the Formula feeder series.
Rookie Jolyon, 20, even briefly led for part of the 31 lap race at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi on Saturday in what was his debut drive for Team Addax.
The 20-year-old son of former F1 racer Jonathan, got away well off the line from his best ever starting position of P5 and made up two places early on to bring his car home in an impressive third place.
As the lights went out, Palmer showed good pace during the early stages, easily matching the leader’s times, and after the pit stops shuffled the pack he retained third spot.
Palmer continued to put in quick and consistent lap times around the Abu Dhabi circuit, venue for this weekend’s Formula One Grand Prix, as he chased down second place man Luiz Razia in the AirAsia car.
In the closing stages, iSport’s Marcus Ericsson was beginning to catch but the Addax driver never really looked fazed as he crossed the line as the leading Brit and his best finish to date in the F1 feeder-series. His team-mate Jake Rosenzweig, meanwhile, failed to finish.
Jolyon said: “I had a good start and took advantage of a collision at the first corner to run P3 for the first stint. I was starting to catch Razia for second when he pitted. I pitted two laps later and lost time whilst he was on newer rubber. After the stop I had big problems with front flat spots and degradation as we only changed rears in the stop so I didn’t have the pace to challenge the top two anymore, but I was able to do enough to hold off Ericsson and take my first podium. I am extremely happy and want to say thanks to Addax for giving me a great opportunity here.”
Racing Engineering’s Fabio Leimer claimed the race victory just ahead of Razia with Palmer third.