GP2: Palmer wins again to surge into commanding lead

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The third round of the 2014 GP2 season took place at Monaco this weekend, and once again it was British driver Jolyon Palmer who dominated proceedings, winning the feature race to surge into a 46-point lead at the top of the championship.

On Sunday, he could only come home in seventh place, but his DAMS teammate Stephane Richelmi kept the team’s flag flying by winning on home soil. The Monegasque racer came under pressure from Sergio Canamasas, but ultimately managed to hang on and claim his first win in GP2.

The feature race on Saturday was quite extraordinary. After a poor start, Palmer dropped to second place behind Mitch Evans, but regained the lead with a great overtake into Sainte Devote. Further back, the action reached fever pitch when Rene Binder and Andre Negrao came together at the Loews hairpin, blocking the track. A red flag was required to clear up the mess, but the race restarted 35 minutes later.

As Palmer and Evans continued to fight for the lead, Stefano Coletti was a man on a mission, quickly coming up through the order. On the super-soft tire, he looked capable of winning the race, but made one brave move too many and collided with Simon Trummer. Ultimately, Palmer managed to hold on ahead of Evans and Williams junior driver Felipe Nasr.

On Sunday, it was all about Richelmi. For the second year in a row, a driver from Monaco had won the GP2 sprint race at home. To cap off a great weekend for DAMS, Norman Nato claimed his maiden win in Formula Renault 3.5, which was also supporting the F1 race.

However, it was another disappointing weekend for the American drivers. Conor Daly and Alexander Rossi could only record best results on 10th and 11th in the sprint race, and both will be hoping for an upturn in fortunes at the next round in Austria in June.

For now though, Palmer is the dominant force. Should he throw it away from here as Coletti did in 2013, it would be a remarkable choke. However, as is the case in GP2, anything can and usually does happen.

Motocross: Chase Sexton to miss Hangtown after midweek practice crash

Sexton Hangtown practice crash
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Chase Sexton announced on Instagram he will sit out this weekend’s Pro Motocross race at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California after a practice crash on Tuesday left him with a concussion.

Sexton’s crash on Tuesday happened during a test session at Fox Raceway.

“Bummed to make this post but I’ll be sitting out this weekend,” Sexton said. “As you guys saw I had a big one during qualifying at Pala, then another one on Tuesday this week that banged me up pretty good. Nothing broken just need a few days to get back to 100%.”

Despite his crash in the first qualification session in Pala, California, Sexton mounted up for both motos and finished second in each race behind his teammate Jett Lawrence, who was making his Motocross debut and won with a pair of first-place finishes. Sexton padded his SuperMotocross points’ lead over the injured Eli Tomac, who is still second in the combined Supercross and Motocross standings despite missing the SX finale at Salt Lake City and the outdoor opener with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Sexton has an advantage of 78 points over Cooper Webb and cannot give up his SMX lead by missing this round.

At stake, however, is the risk of losing ground to Lawrence in the Pro Motocross championship. Sexton currently trails his teammate by six points and is liable to lose significant ground this weekend.

In addition to his concussion, Sexton has also been diagnosed with mononucleosis and the combination of the two conditions caused the team to make the difficult decision to keep him out of the lineup at Hangtown.

“I’m super-bummed to miss this weekend’s race,” Sexton said in a press release. “I feel like I rode well at Pala, and I was really looking forward to Hangtown because it’s a good track for me. Unfortunately, I was already pretty banged up from my qualifying crash on Saturday, and now with mono and Tuesday’s concussion on top of it, I want to do the right thing and hopefully be back on the track soon.”

A return date for Sexton has not yet been announced.

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