Palmer leads Carlin 1-2 in qualifying
20 September 2013 – Jolyon Palmer took pole position during Friday evening's GP2 qualifying session in Singapore, the Briton posting a best time of 1:53.600 to comfortably outpace Carlin team-mate Felipe Nasr and current championship leader Fabio Leimer.
A dramatic start to the session saw Mitch Evans crash on the exit of Turn 7, the subsequent yellow flags thwarting many drivers' flying laps. Leimer then managed to exert authority over the field, moving to the top of the timesheets ahead of Nasr in the middle stages. But a stoppage with 14 minutes remaining further broke-up the proceedings, with the red flags emerging due to Daniel Abt coming to a halt at Turn 14, followed by a crash for series newcomer Gianmarco Raimondo in the final sector.
At the restart, Alexander Rossi was the first to exit the pit-lane, the Caterham driver cleverly taking advantage of the empty track ahead. As more drivers filed out, however, traffic quickly became an issue on the tight and twisty Singapore streets, with Marcus Ericsson one of a number forced to abandon their hot-laps after catching a slower car.
But the Carlin crew managed to place both of their drivers in clear air, and with no-one to block his way Palmer was the man to claim provisional pole with six minutes left on the clock, with Nasr moving into second position immediately after.
Leimer improved his time in the closing moments, but ultimately failed to match Palmer's supreme middle sector pace, and missed out on the valuable bonus points awarded for top spot. The Swiss could count himself fortunate, however, as fellow title rival Sam Bird failed to capitalise after finding himself bogged down behind the Arden machine of Johnny Cecotto Jr. The Russian Time man finished in a disappointing 10th, visibly annoyed and gesticulating wildly to the Venezuelan out on-track.
Back at the front, Rossi wound up fourth after his earlier clean run, followed by Stéphane Richelmi and Tom Dillmann. Sergio Canamasas was next up, ahead of James Calado, Ericsson and the aforementioned Bird. Stefano Coletti could only manage 11th, the one-time championship leader continuing his poor run of form.
Saturday's GP2 Feature Race gets underway at 4pm local time (GMT +8)