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Oil slick denies Palmer top-five finish at Long Beach

April 20, 2016

Andrew Palmer kept himself in contention for the Pirelli World Challenge title despite a patch of oil robbing him of a deserved top-five finish on the streets of Long Beach, California, last weekend (April 17).

The 21-year-old Bentley Absolute driver, who is the youngest winner in the history of the series, put in an impressive performance in qualifying to line up eighth on the starting grid and best of those driving the Bentley Continental GT3.

This was despite the tight, concrete-lined circuit not favouring the characteristics of the four-litre, V8-engined British machine.

As the lights went out, Palmer rocketed into fifth place down the long, curved Shoreline Drive section of the fabled California street circuit and gained another spot early in proceedings.

Unfortunately, Palmer’s hopes of fourth place were thwarted when he slid wide on a patch of oil freshly dropped onto the track surface by another car towards the end. Despite making light contact with the tyre wall as a result, Palmer managed to get underway once more and recovered to finish 10th.

The result kept the 2015 Daytona 24 Hours, Sebring 12 Hours and Petit Le Mans winner ninth in the drivers’ standings, less than a win’s worth of points away from the lead of the hotly-contested series.

Palmer has little time for rest ahead of the next round of the championship, which takes place at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama this weekend.

“I think it’s important to be up front here, because they throw the green flag really early and if you’re at the back, you’ll be caught in the hairpin,” explained Palmer. “Our start was crucial and we were able to go from eighth to fifth. For the restarts it was all about timing. The Bentley is really fun on restarts with the turbo and the boost levels; you just build it up and let her rip.

“The car was great and I think we may have had a fourth-place finish in us, but sometimes there’s oil on the track and you don’t know until you get there.”