Josef Kral opened Arden's team and his personal GP2 Asia points account at the earliest possible opportunity, taking sixth place from the first of the weekend's two races at the Yas Marina circuit.
“That wasn't so bad and I'm happy to have finished in the points. It's a pity I stalled in the pits during my tyre stop, but that's the only mistake I made and I will learn from it,” summarised the Czech driver. “I pushed as hard as I dared, but it was quite difficult because nobody really knew how the new Pirelli tyres were going to perform over a race stint. I think we managed the tyre situation quite well, though, and generally the car felt good. It was hard, though, to maintain a good balance over 33 laps.”
“Tomorrow's race is shorter and I'm starting from third, so there is every reason to aim for a podium finish. I'd like to thank everyone at Arden for helping me start the season so strongly. I am determined to reach the top step of the podium and feel that is definitely achievable on the evidence of what the team and I have achieved so far.”
Teammate Jolyon Palmer – making his first GP2 start after two years of Formula Two – finished fourteenth in a challenging debut. The 20-year-old started 18th and began the race by avoiding a huge start line crash and drove intelligently to finish 14th in a race where only 16 drivers reached the checkered flag at the end of 33 laps.
Palmer even survived a brush with Michael Herck that tipped the Briton into a spin.
“I made a good start, but picked up some front-wing damage quite early on and that really hampered my progress. My long first stint didn't work out too well, because other teams derived greater benefit from an earlier switch to fresh tyres, but despite everything this has been a very good experience. I managed to pull off a few good moves and the result would have been better still if Michael Herck hadn't barged me off the road towards the end. My starting position is a little bit better tomorrow and today's experience will hopefully enable me to move forward once more in the race.”