Jolyon Palmer crowned 2014 GP2 Series champion

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Jolyon Palmer has been crowned the 2014 GP2 Series champion after winning today’s feature race in Russia, with title rival Felipe Nasr finishing down the order in 18th position.

Palmer has led the championship since the second race of the season in Bahrain, but finally clinched the title with a supreme win in Sochi on Saturday as he fought off Mitch Evans in the final few laps of the race.

Pole-sitter Stoffel Vandoorne had been in control of the race, wrestling the lead back from Takuya Izawa after a poor start, but a mistimed pit call under the safety car meant that he had to stay out longer than planned.

The McLaren junior driver managed to pull out a lead on the restart, but not enough to hang onto first position when he eventually took to the pits with four laps to go. He was followed into the pits by Artem Markelov, releasing Palmer into the lead of the race ahead of Evans.

Despite coming under increasing pressure, Palmer managed to hang on and claim his fourth win of the season as Nasr – the only man who could have stopped him in Sochi – was slapped with a drive-through penalty, ending his title hopes.

Palmer becomes the first British champion of the GP2 Series since Lewis Hamilton in 2006, and will now be looking to make the move up to Formula 1 in 2015.

“It feels amazing,” a speechless Palmer said on the podium after the race. “Honestly, it wasn’t going to be easy to do it this weekend, especially not today. I can’t thank the team enough. It feels amazing to be champion.

“Four years of hard work for me in GP2, and it’s an amazing end to it. We can just go out there and enjoy it and have fun [tomorrow].”

Palmer’s success will make him a prime candidate for many of the available seats in F1 next season, and it will also give him the chance to follow in his father’s footsteps, who raced in the 1980s.

2014 has seen GP2 go from strength to strength, providing some entertaining racing on the F1 undercard. Not only has Palmer been a worthy champion, but the likes of Stoffel Vandoorne and Raffaele Marciello have come to the fore as racing stars for the future.

Following tomorrow’s sprint race, GP2 will take another one month break before rejoining the F1 schedule for the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi.

Roll of Honor – GP2 Champions

2005 Nico Rosberg
2006 Lewis Hamilton
2007 Timo Glock
2008 Giorgio Pantano
2009 Nico Hulkenberg
2010 Pastor Maldonado
2011 Romain Grosjean
2012 Davide Valsecchi
2013 Fabio Leimer
2014 Jolyon Palmer

Adam Enticknap paves the way for the ‘Other 19’

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Once the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season kicks off in Anaheim, Calif. on January 4, eyes inevitably will begin to focus on the front of the field.

One rider will win that race. Two will stand on either side of him on the podium. Nineteen others will ride quietly back to the garage and if they’re lucky, get a few minutes to tell the tale of their race to a few members of the media. On their way off the track, the other 19 will take a minute to wave to the fans in the stands.

Adam Enticknap will motion for them to follow him.

One of the most engaging riders in the sport, Enticknap not only recognizes his role as a dark horse on Supercross grid, he revels in it.

“Not everyone is going to win,” Enticknap said last week at the Supercross media sessions. “There’s only one winner on a weekend; that’s it. There can’t be more than one winner. And everyone else has got to go home and eat too.”

A recognized Hip Hop artist known for his video ‘My Bikes Too Lit’, Enticknap is bringing new fans to the track – and as a result, he is putting a spotlight on riders deeper in the field.

Last year Enticknap was coming off a broken femur that marred his SX season. He made only three Mains with a 20th in Indianapolis, 15th at Houston, and an 18th at Las Vegas. In October, he earned a career-best 14th in the Monster Energy Cup at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. He got there by being consistent in the three heats, finishing 16-15-15.

But that’s not the point for Enticknap. Yes, he wants to win but it is just as important to be the ambassador for those riders who are known only to their fans.

“I’ve made a path for riders that are not going to win,” Enticknap said. “And that’s not saying that I don’t want to win, or that I’m not going to win, but I’ve made it so that the guy who’s finishing 20th and barely making the Mains can make a full career out of it. I’m probably the most famous, slowest guy on the track. It’s come from the way I’ve marketed myself and the way I’ve been with my fans and I’ve appreciated every second that I’ve been here.”

On a good weekend, Enticknap is one of the “other 19” in the Main Event.

“Without all of us, there really is no winner. Everybody’s got to show up and everybody’s got to compete during the weekend. In our sport, everyone is so hyper-focused on the guy who is winning all the time, but I hope that I’ve opened people’s eyes that sometimes it’s not just about the guy who wins the race as much as it is about the guy who is succeeding during the weekend.”

For Enticknap, success looks different than for last year’s champion Cooper Webb or Eli Tomac who won six of the 17 races in 2019. It’s about knowing that when it’s time to ride back to the hauler – whether that is at the end of the Main or after a Last Chance Qualifier – that nothing was left on the track.

“My best finish was a 14th at the Monster Energy Cup – ever in my career,” Enticknap emphasized. “Making my way from the bottom is huge. I made my way from not even making the top 40 to finishing 14th in A-Main Event. That’s huge.”

And that’s progress.

In his second season with H.E.P. Motorsports, Enticknap predicts he will make 10 Mains this year.

Even if he advances to only half of the Features, it will be his best season in eight years at this level. Enticknap qualified for seven Mains in 2017 with a best of 18th at Vegas. He was in five Mains in 2018 with a best of 16th at San Diego before signing with his current team – and getting injured without rightly being able to show what he could do with them.

“I want to break into the top 10 – that’s my goal for the year – but as of right now I’m succeeding in all the little goals that I’ve set and I want to keep succeeding,” Enticknap said.

It’s not enough to want to finish well, however; riders have to visualize a path to success. For Enticknap, that will come with because of how he approaches stadium races. Towering over the field, Enticknap is not a small man by anyone’s measure so it’s ironic that he makes a comparison between Supercross and ballet. The indoor season is about precision, technical mastery, and finesse. And that is where Enticknap believes he shines.

“Supercross is more of a ballet. It’s more perfection. It’s something that takes so much talent – and you can see it in real life. When you watch an outdoor race, you’re like ‘that guy’s a beast’; he’s manhandling it; he’s hammering the throttle. And when you see a Supercross race it’s just so rhythmic and flowing and light. So much finesse on everything. Just such a fluent, technical race.”

Enticknap credits his background in BMX racing as one of the reasons why he is so fluid on a tight track.

“Supercross fits my riding style a lot,” Enticknap said. “I don’t like to just hang it out and get all sideways and just swap, swap, swap. I like to be very precise in all my movement. I’m a perfectionist. It helps in Supercross because everything is just timed by the millisecond.”

More: Michael Mosiman expects magic in this third year

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