Palmer keen to snap bad luck in Austria, begin to build momentum

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Jolyon Palmer wants to end his run of bad luck in Formula 1 and begin to build momentum in next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix to carry through to the sport’s summer break.

Palmer has endured a point-less start to the season with Renault, with his sole top-10 finish in F1 coming in last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

Speculation has been rife about the Briton’s future at Enstone amid suggestions he could be replaced mid-season, with a difficult weekend in Azerbaijan last time out not aiding matters.

Palmer suffered problems in his car on all three days of the race weekend, preventing him from taking part in qualifying or finishing the race.

“There isn’t a lot to say from my weekend, but it was a crazy race to watch!” Palmer said of Baku.

“I enjoyed watching it, but I wish I was in it, I think there were some points up for grabs for us.

“We will make sure we have a better one in Austria, the target is always the same: to bring home some points.”

Palmer is treating the Austria weekend as a catalyst to kick-start his season, having previously enjoyed strong outings at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.

“We started on the penultimate row last year but I managed to work my way up to 12th, beating my teammate. I was quite happy with the race, we just needed a little bit of extra luck and I think we could have been in the points,” Palmer said.

“It is a circuit I enjoy having raced there in GP2 in 2014 and then a Free Practice session in 2015. It was definitely one of my strongest races of last season, so it is important to build on the knowledge we have and my confidence at the track and work towards a positive result.

“We need to change our luck. I hope we can make it all stick heading into the final few rounds before the summer break – beginning here.”

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III