Carlin didn't get off to a great start in the first sprint race of the 2013 GP2 Series season at Sepang International Circuit on Sunday, when Jolyon Palmer stalled even before the formation lap and threw away a hard-won third place starting grid position in the process.
Instead, Palmer had to start the 21-lap sprint from the pit lane at the back of the field. With nothing to lose, the 22-year-old British racer put his foot down and proved the star of the race as he made his way up from 25th to ninth place, just narrowly missing out on a points finish when he ran out of time to hunt down and overtake Rene Binder for eighth.
"We know that Jolyon could have been fighting for the win," said team boss Trevor Carlin, ruing his driver's pre-race stall. "He must take the award for most overtaking manoeuvres this weekend, but unfortunately it wasn't quite enough to take the final point."
Palmer had already shown strong form on the Saturday, when he'd had to compensate for a troubled qualifying session that left him starting from 22nd place and managed to finish in the points in an impressive sixth place by the end of the 31-lap feature event, despite being used early in the race as a launching ramp by Marcus Ericsson's DAMS.
“I made a great start and had a good first two laps and then I just focused on pushing as hard as possible," said Palmer of that outing. "We had a good strategy and the pit stop was perfect."
It was a somewhat more consistent performance for Palmer's team mate Felipe Nasr, however, who finished in the top four in both races and contributed the lion's share of Carlin's points won in Malaysia.
The 20-year-old Brazilian secured third place on the feature grid after Friday's qualifying session, but was caught out at the beginning of Saturday's race by Racing Engineering's Fabio Leimer absolutely nailing the start and punching his way right through the middle of Nasr and ART's James Calado ahead of him. That left Nasr circulating in fourth place which is where he finished the race, frustratingly one foot off the podium.
“I had a difficult first lap,” admitted Nasr, "There were a lot of cars making very aggressive moves and it would have been easy to make contact and crash out of the race.
"After the first lap I concentrated on my tyres," he added. "I was very quick at the end but left my challenge a little late but we had the pace to win."