Karthikeyan secures India's best ever qualifying spot in China A1 Team India driver and F1 test driver Narain Karthikeyan secured his country's best ever qualifying slot in the A1GP series today, at the Shanghai International Circuit in China.
Karthikeyan secures India's best ever qualifying spot in China
A1 Team India driver and F1 test driver Narain Karthikeyan secured his country's best ever qualifying slot in the A1GP series today, at the Shanghai International Circuit in China. Karthikeyan put in another strong performance in final practice and then set his fastest time of the weekend to clinch fifth on the grid for tomorrow's Sprint race. A1 Team India's final practice session went well, with the team confirming their quick pace, recording the fourth quickest time in all three practice sessions.
Karthikeyan picked up the pace further in A1GP's unique four segment qualifying session, setting his two fastest laps of the weekend on his third and fourth laps. These two fastest times were then combined to determine the team's fifth place on the grid.
Commenting on this afternoon's performance, Karthikeyan commented, "I'm pleased, it's the best ever qualifying result for India, but we still need to get the best out of the tyres and the car during qualifying. I think we have a much better race car than qualifying car."
Having driven an F1 car round the Shanghai circuit, Karthikeyan is struck by the comparison between the F1 and A1GP cars, "The A1GP car feels quite different to an F1 around here. The A1GP car is better when not driven so aggressively, and you have to carry much less speed into the corners."
Commenting on his qualifying performance, Karthikeyan added, "I messed up the first qualifying lap by getting the middle sector wrong, I was carrying too much speed and the car just didn't want to work. After that I adjusted my driving style, and went into the corners a bit slower, and the lap times picked up. It feels like you're actually going much slower, but it's faster on the clock, and that's the way you have to drive the A1GP car. I think we have a good car here, we need to be consistent and look after the tyres, especially in the Feature race."
The A1 Team India racer will be aiming to make up places in the Sprint race, "I think some people may be cautious in the Sprint race, as they will be thinking of their championship standings, but that's not the case for us. We will be going for it from race one. I have nothing to lose, I've joined the team in the middle of the season, so there is no point in being cautious; we want to get the best results possible in these last races."
A1 Team India seatholder Yohann Senta was pleased with the team's best ever qualifying result, saying, "There was a big mistake on second qualifying, but in any case we were on old tyres so it wouldn't have been one of our fastest times. The third lap was excellent, very clean and smooth, and Narain's fourth lap was also good, although he made a small mistake. It's the best ever qualifying result for us and overall in terms of race pace we have a very good set up. Narain has posted consistently good times in practice, so we should be strong over a race distance. We're feeling positive, and could be in with a chance of a podium tomorrow."
-credit: team india