POSITIVE END TO SEASON FOR KARUN
Valencia, Spain ; 1st October 2007 : Karun Chandhok finished his first season in the GP2 series on a positive note at the Valencia circuit in Spain with a point for fastest lap in Race 1 , collecting the award for the Most Improved Driver of the Year and earning himself a test with the 2007 Champion team I-Sport International.
The Indian driver did well to qualify 13th, 4 places ahead of his team-mate Borja Garcia at the latter's home race. It was an extraordinarily close qualifying session as Karun explains "We were way down in 21st in the practice session and had to change the car a lot before qualifying. Things were much better in quali but the times are so close - I lost 3 tenths on my best lap and that would've been around 7th, so we definitely have the pace. In fact, 1 tenth would have moved us up 4 places !"
The feature race started in wet conditions, something new for the Indian driver who, apart from a few laps at the Nurburgring in practice, has never driven the GP2 car in the wet before. Despite this, by the end of lap 1, Karun had moved up into 10th place but then started to suffer as the rear brakes got glaced, which meant that effectively he only had use of the front brakes. This caused him to go off the circuit twice and drop out of contention. As the track dried up, the team and driver elected to carry on using the race as a testing opportunity and it paid off as Karun set the fastest lap of the race on lap 42 and earned himself another Championship point.
Starting down in 17th place, based on the results of race 1, the final race of the year was a fairly processional affair, where Karun was caught in a train following Andreas Zuber, championship runner up Lucas di Grassi and with Bruno Senna and Adam Carroll behind. After a small mistake dropped him back a couple places, Karun then collided with the Finn Marcus Niemala while trying to regain ground, putting an end to his race.
Reflecting on the year gone by, Karun said "All in all, it's been a good year. Things have sort of gone to plan in that I had said we wanted to learn in the first half and then score points and a podium or two in the second half. Since, Budapest in the middle of the year we have scored points every weekend and to be given the award for the Most Improved Driver of the Year shows that the people in the know also have recognized the progress we've made. I'm really looking forward to testing with I-Sport soon. They sealed both the driver's and team's championships this year and are obviously a very good team.
I must thank everyone at Durango for a very educational and enjoyable season. We had plenty of up's and down's like anyone in sport but on the whole it's been a very good year for me to establish myself in the premier category outside of Formula 1. Without the support of Red Bull, JK Tyre, Amaron and ICSA we would not have been here and my thanks to them for being there for me once again.
As I said before, there are several options ahead of us for 2008 and I hope that things will all work itself out in the next 3 - 4 weeks."