ATCC: Karun Chandhok wins Championship at Zhuhai

Zhuhai International Circuit, China. 21 October 2001 Karun Wins 2001 AF2000 Championship Karun Chandhok, the young Indian from Madras, won the 2001 Asian Formula 2000 Championships today, after finishing 3rd and 1st in the championships points...

Zhuhai International Circuit, China. 21 October 2001

Karun Wins 2001 AF2000 Championship

Karun Chandhok, the young Indian from Madras, won the 2001 Asian Formula 2000 Championships today, after finishing 3rd and 1st in the championships points table in Rounds 13 & 14 at the Zhuhai International Circuit today.

It was a roller coaster weekend for Karun, when he was forced to use a replacement car as his car - which suffered heavy damages in his crash in Korea last month - could not be prepared in time for this weekend's races.

Even so, he proved beyond doubt that he is the best driver in the championship this year by quickly adjusting to his new car, and was soon up to pace with the best of the drivers.

Karun, by virtue of the two new Japanese drivers driving this weekend, did not win the Rd 14 race outright. However, he collected maximum championship points for his effort, as the Japanese are just racing this weekend to acclimatize themselves with the cars and therefore do not qualify for championship points.

The weekend's races was no doubt one of the most exciting to be held at the circuit in the long time. A total of 22 cars started the race, and within the first lap, Meckel Ali had already crashed out and basically handed the 3rd place AF2000 Championship title to Denis Lian. The Indonesian - whose car clipped the outside curb and careened across the track and hit the inside curb - was not hurt though, and walked away from his car without a scratch.

With Meckel out of the way, it was left to Karun, Asif Nazir and Denis to fight it out. The trio was in that order until Karun made a mistake coming out of Turn 8, and Asif immediately took advantage and passed him. But Karun tried too hard and Denis took that opportunity to pass him in turn. Karun ended up finishing the race in 3rd.

With the results from the Rd 13 race, Karun was in a very precarious situation. Should he not finish the next race later in the day (Rd 14), the championship could potentially fall into the hands of Asif Nazir, should he win the race.

But Karun would not have anything of the sorts, and Karun bounced right back in the next race, and never allowed Asif nor Denis to come close to him. He finished behind the two non-championship registrant Japanese drivers, but collected the maximum points and secured his 2001 Asian Formula 2000 Championship crown.

"This is a dream come true. This is my second year coming out of karts racing cars. Two year and two championships. I look back now and it has indeed been a long year. The championship is definitely one for me to look back and reflect, and I've learned so much this year," he said afterwards.

The Round 13 and 14 races are the season finale to 2001 AF2000 season. However, the AF2000 entourage moves next to Macau for an invitational, non-championship race. The AF2000 event is a support race for the prestigious Macau Grand Prix happening next month (Nov 16-18).

-AFOS-

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Series General
Drivers Denis Lian , Karun Chandhok