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Jolyon Palmer makes encouraging GP2 start in Abu Dhabi

Thursday, February 03 2011

2010 FIA Formula Two runner-up Jolyon Palmer made a positive start to his 2011 GP2 campaign, posting the seventh fastest time on the second morning of official testing at the Yas Marina circuit on Thursday (3 February).

Palmer endured a more frustrating afternoon session, when he was one of several drivers deprived of a second new tyre run after James Jakes crashed heavily and brought the days running to a premature close. He also suffered disappointment when a promising first run on new rubber saw him set the seventh and fifth fastest times respectively in sectors one and two, only to lock up heavily in sector three and spoil his lap time.

That followed an impressive morning performance however, where Jolyon finished little more than half a second off the outright pace set by series returnee, ART's Jules Bianchi. He also narrowly edged out his team-mate Josef Kral - a polesitter in GP2 in 2010 - although the pair were separated by little more than two hundredths of a second.

While Palmer was dissatisfied with his overall laptime in the afternoon, he was similarly encouraged by his pace throughout the day - with his morning performance demonstrating he can clearly be competitive.

The challenge of putting together an ideal lap remains crucial however, and Jolyon will have another chance to perfect the art when GP2 returns to the circuit on 6-7 February for the final pre-season test. The first round of the GP2 Asia series commences at the Yas Marina circuit on 10-12 February.

Jolyon graduated to GP2 with Arden International following an excellent campaign in F2, where he claimed five wins and remained in contention for the title until the final round at Valencia. He will contest both the GP2 Asia and Main Series championships this year.