ATCC: Everland Speedway, Korea race report

Everland Speedway Circuit, Korea Sunday 23 September 2001 Race Day Action! Asif Nazir wins accident-riddled Round 11 race, Karun wins Round 12 to take himself nearer to the championship. The Round 11 Race of the AF2000 series was one of the...

Everland Speedway Circuit, Korea
Sunday 23 September 2001

Race Day Action!

Asif Nazir wins accident-riddled Round 11 race, Karun wins Round 12 to take himself nearer to the championship.

The Round 11 Race of the AF2000 series was one of the most exciting one seen in a long time, with front runners Karun Chandhok and Asif Nazir pushing themselves doubly hard now that the 2001 AF2000 Championship could go any way.

Asif Nazir, starting on pole, was slightly slow of the start and Karun took full advantage of the situation and took the lead going into Turn 1. Karun held the lead until Lap 3, when Sam Hui's car spun on Turn 6 and rear ended into Sam Chan's car. Both the cars came to a half in the middle of the track and had to be lifted off the track. Red flags were soon seen waving and the race had to be restarted.

The restart was no less exciting. Karun and Asif were again on top of each other, and Karun again got the upper hand even though he was literally pushed off the grass. But when they both approached Turn 3, Asif took the inside line, and Karun spun as they both made contact.

Although Asif said it was just a normal racing maneuver, he was given a suspended sentence for the next two events. He was obviously very upset about all this, and abruptly left the podium for the next round and did not comment on the event up until press time.

Karun, however, commented on the incident and said, "It was obvious that Asif hit me, and I felt he should be given more than just a stern warning." Karun is definitely not playing it safe, and said he's still going to go all out to win every race and collect as many points as he possibly can to secure the championship this year.

With Karun spinning twice in the Round 11 race, the best he could do is a 4th place finish. That opened the door for Meckel Ali and Denis Lian to move up the grid, to 2nd and 3rd place respectively. Denis later said, "It's good to finish up on the podium again. Much have been learnt from this year's championship, and although the results are not as good as I would like it to, the experiences from this year would definitely go a long way for next year's championship."

In the Round 12 race, Karun made full use of his pole position start and led from start to finish. "It was a satisfying race, although I had to slow down towards the end of the race as my rear stabiliser bars broke and I was understeering tremendously. Also, I didn't want to come in contact with the backmarkers, so I slowed down but just enough to not let Asif catch up with me," said Karun after the race.

With the win in Round 12, Karun has now equaled Narain Karthikayan's Formula Asia (the predecessor to the AF2000) record of 7 wins in a season.

Another driver who obviously was having a good day was Meckel Ali, who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively in Rounds 11 and 12. "The car was behaving very well today, although I was having some bad oversteer somewhere in the middle of the race. But the problem went away somewhere towards the end of the race," he was heard telling his race engineer Martin Quick. "I'm happy with the results of this race, this is a good weekend for the team," Meckel said.

Japanese driver Tohru Jitsukawa had an enjoyable racing weekend. He was involved in a tight race for 5th position in the middle of the pack in the Round 12 race, along with Kinson Loo and Stephen Chau. The three were seen overtaking one another, and the crowd - and drivers themselves - were obviously pleased.

"It was good fun racing, and although I only managed 7th position in the Round 12 race, but it was better than the Round 11 race (where he finished in 10th)," said Tohru.

-AFOS-

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Series General
Drivers Karun Chandhok