To hell and back!
Fighting spirit is an English expression and Jolyon Palmer was the personification of it in GP2. His pugnacity and his sheer speed transformed last place on the grid on Saturday into victory on Sunday after a couple of sensational races. To add to DAMS's happiness his success was accompanied by a superb weekend by Stéphane Richelmi (4th and 3rd). The result is that Palmer and the Sarthe-based squad have tightened their stranglehold on both classifications with a lead of 41 and 38 points respectively. After free practice which went off without problems (Palmer P3, Richelmi P9), qualifying plunged DAMS into an abyss. The Englishman set the fourth-best time and was then disqualified (insufficient fuel in the tank at the end of his lap), dropping him back to 26th and last position on the grid for the long race on Saturday. This helped Richelmi move up a place after he set the seventh-quickest time. Palmer made a stunning comeback in a very quick car in which he had absolute confidence. Combining speed, intelligence and daring he saw the flag in eighth place, giving him pole for Sunday's sprint race, as well as setting the fastest lap. Richelmi drive a very solid race and came home fourth scoring crucial points in view of the teams' title. On Sunday both DAMS drivers made excellent starts and at the end of lap 1 they filled the first two places. Stefano Coletti managed to split them but could do nothing in the face of Jolyon's dominance. With two rounds to go till the end DAMS and its leader have scored points from both a numerical and a psychological point of view over their rivals. But the outcome isn't yet decided. All the more so as the next event will bring the GP2 circus to unknown territory, the Sochi circuit in Russia, a city layout a bit like Valencia a few years back, which will test the capacity of the teams and drivers to adapt and make the difference. François Sicard: Managing Director: "I'd like to congratulate the whole team for its exceptional reaction after our error in qualifying. We were caught out by higher fuel consumption than we expected. But we did a great job turning the situation round thanks to a risky strategy that paid off on Saturday. And Jolyon was incredible! His speed was mind-boggling as was his mastery of the situation. A big bravo to Stéphane who was finally able to concretise his level of performance. " Jolyon Palmer: "I'm feeling both very happy and proud after my third win of the season. Especially as I came from a long way back. We reacted as a team after our hiccup on Friday and finishing eighth on Saturday was already like a victory for us. It was also time to score a win to send a message to our rivals. There are still two rounds to go with a bunch of points up for grabs, but we're not letting up! " Stéphane Richelmi: "At last! After going through a pretty black period my top-three finish rewards the work done by the team and I'd like to thank them very much. I could even have done a tad better. A place on the first or second row was possible in qualifying and on Sunday I fluffed my restart after the safety car, and that gave Coletti the opportunity to pass me. But I'm delighted to score these points and they've given me a great boost in view of the last two rounds. " Next round: Sotchi (Russia) 11-12 October