Misfortune for A1 Team India in South Africa Narain Karthikeyan was back on track today, for qualifying in the A1GP Durban, South Africa. The F1 driver was hindered by a series of incidents which seriously compromised the Chennai born racer's...
Misfortune for A1 Team India in South Africa
Narain Karthikeyan was back on track today, for qualifying in the A1GP Durban, South Africa. The F1 driver was hindered by a series of incidents which seriously compromised the Chennai born racer's qualifying session. Despite demonstrating front running pace in practice, when he was never out of the top ten, A1 Team India will start tomorrow's Sprint race from the 11th row of the grid, after an incident early on in qualifying. In a unique qualifying system, the A1GP drivers complete four flying laps over four qualifying segments.
The team's two best laps are aggregated to produce an overall qualifying position. While pushing hard on his first flying lap, Karthikeyan hit a kerb, tearing off his front wing as several other drivers had done over the course of the weekend. The team worked hard to ensure that the A1 Team India car back out on track, but unfortunately the car had been badly damaged in the accident and Karthikeyan struggled to maintain the pace he had demonstrated early in the weekend.
An accident involving A1 Team Singapore also prevented India from setting a time in the second qualifying segment, leaving Karthikeyan with just two flying laps available to him.
Although frustrated about his performance in qualifying, Karthikeyan is hopeful of his team's chances tomorrow. "It was a disappointing qualifying session, I have nobody to blame but myself. I hit the kerb, the car went up in the air, and when it came back down it just broke the front end. The same kerb has caught a lot of people out, but unfortunately it caught me out in qualifying!! The team tried to do the best they could to repair the car, and I caused them a lot of stress, but unfortunately it just didn't feel right when I went back out on track. We're not sure what it is at the moment, maybe something to do with the steering, but the team are working on that now.
"It was a frustrating day, I knew we had the pace to be in the top eight, maybe not the top three, but we could have been quite high up on the grid. It's a very good circuit for a street circuit. There's a good mix of corners, some very fast sections and some slow sections, it compares well to circuits such as Monaco and Macau. I'm looking forward to an interesting race tomorrow."
A1 Team India seatholder, Yohann Setna, "Unfortunately Narain made a mistake which then compounded itself with some problems with the car and several red flag periods. He was pushing very, very hard and hit the kerb, but that sometimes happens. Even though we fixed what was readily visible, Narain still seems to be having a severe problem with the handling of the car, it's very, very bad. I think it probably took one and half seconds off our pace. The team are going to strip it down tonight and make sure everything is okay for tomorrow.
"I think at the start of the Sprint race, he will just go for it. There's no point in being over cautions for 15th place or something similar. He's got nothing to lose from that point on the grid."
Karthikeyan will start his fourth A1GP race at 11.00 local time tomorrow, when the 23 nations line up on the grid for the 20 minute Sprint race. After what promises to be a colourful and vibrant opening ceremony, the A1GP drivers will compete in the 70 minute Feature race.