Taupo: Team India Saturday report

Best Ever Qualifying Position for A1 Team India Narain Karthikeyan has recorded A1 Team India's best ever grid spot in only his first A1GP event. Karthikeyan will line up 10th on the grid for tomorrow's Sprint race at the brand new Taupo...

Best Ever Qualifying Position for A1 Team India

Narain Karthikeyan has recorded A1 Team India's best ever grid spot in only his first A1GP event. Karthikeyan will line up 10th on the grid for tomorrow's Sprint race at the brand new Taupo Circuit on New Zealand's North Island. A1GP has a unique qualifying system, consisting of four flying laps' within four 15 minute qualifying segments, with the team's best two times aggregated to produce an overall qualifying position.

A consistent front runner throughout the weekend, Karthikeyan was caught out by oil on the track on his first run. In the remaining three qualifying laps, Karthikeyan put in a great performance to push the team onto the fifth row of the grid. Speaking about his A1GP qualifying session, Karthikeyan said "The car acted very differently on new tyres compared to old tyres and we were caught out with that. The balance seems to change quite a lot, so we weren't able to fully benefit from the new tyres. Again, these are things we need to learn as a team. I expected there to be some characteristics like this, which the team and I would learn together. "I'm pleased with 10th, it's a good start, and as I said at the beginning of the week, we are aiming to get some points, and I think we can do that this weekend. The team didn't really have any data, because the previous drivers have been quite inexperienced, so we've been developing the whole package. We'll take it one step at a time and build on what we've learnt today."

Having raced in the high pressured arena of F1, Karthikeyan was unperturbed by the A1GP qualifying system, "it's quite easy to make a mistake in qualifying, as you are pushing hard on just one lap, but it is similar to F1 in that respect, so I'm used to that kind of pressure."

A1 Team India Seatholder, Yohann Setna was pleased with the team's performance, "Top ten qualifying is what we were hoping for at the beginning of the weekend. I think we'll be able to pick up a couple of places in the Sprint race which should help us in the Feature race. We'll be playing it safe in the Sprint race, Narain hasn't done a rolling start for a while, so we won't be trying any heroics. If we can get a couple of points out of the weekend, it will be exactly what we wanted."

From his starting position, Karthikeyan stands every chance of scoring A1 Team India's first points in tomorrow's Sprint race, with points awarded for the top six finishers. In the longer 70-minute Feature race, the team must complete a mandatory tyre change. Points will be awarded for the first 10 drivers to cross the finish line.

-credit: team india

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Narain Karthikeyan