Best ever finish for A1 Team India in season finale A1 Team India took part in a spectacular season finale at the Brands Hatch circuit in the UK today, with former F1 racer Narain Karthikeyan behind the wheel. Karthikeyan drove a fantastic ...
Best ever finish for A1 Team India in season finale
A1 Team India took part in a spectacular season finale at the Brands Hatch circuit in the UK today, with former F1 racer Narain Karthikeyan behind the wheel. Karthikeyan drove a fantastic Feature race to take India from seventh to fourth place and secure his country's best ever finish in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. In a close battle with A1 Team Italy, just three tenths of a second separated Karthikeyan from a third place finish after 70 minutes of racing. Karthikeyan finished seventh in the earlier Sprint race.
The team qualified fifth for the 20 minute Sprint race and Karthikeyan took his place between Italy and Malaysia for the rolling start. As the 22 cars thundered down the start/finish line to start the first lap, Karthikeyan was caught out and lost two places to Malaysia and the Netherlands. With the race consisting of just 15 laps, the team had little opportunity to make up the position, despite looking considerably faster than the orange Dutch car. Karthikeyan went on to cross the line in seventh, just one place out of the points.
Taking his finishing position from the Sprint race as his starting position for the Feature race grid, Karthikeyan lined up seventh for the 70 minute race. The Indian car had a good start off the line, and was running alongside the Dutch car into the first corner with the Irish car close behind. As the cars entered the narrow right hand bend, Karthikeyan ran out of room and had to slot in behind the Netherlands and Ireland, in seventh place.
A1 Team India chose to make their mandatory pit stop early in the race, a move which paid off when several teams were caught out by a safety car period which closed up the field. When all the A1GP cars had pitted, India came out in fourth, close behind A1 Team Italy, who were under investigation for pitting after the safety car had been called.
Karthikeyan fought hard to take the last spot on the podium, putting Italy under pressure lap after lap. With little opportunity to overtake, India had to be happy with fourth, crossing the line just two tenths of a second after the Italian car.
Karthikeyan was pleased to secure seven points, but frustrated to have missed out on a podium, "We were fourth, we could have been third, we had the pace for third and it would have been great to get a podium in the last race of the season. There was some controversy as to whether Italy pitted under the safety car, which is against the regulations, but in this instance no action was taken against them, so we have to be happy with fourth. It's very difficult to pass here, apart from Druids, there really isn't enough room. When I closed up on Italy I started suffering from understeer which made it difficult to stay close. But it was a decent result today and that's good for the future."
A1 Team India seatholder Yohann Setna shared his driver's feelings, adding, "I'm pleased with the result; fourth is India's best ever finish, but I'm sad to have missed out on a podium. We believe Italy pitted after the safety car was called, but there isn't much we can do about that. We'll get a podium in five months time when the new season starts in Zandvoort. It motivates us to work hard over the summer and get things sorted, do the pre-season testing and come back next season even stronger."
A1 Team India has raced on four continents over the course of the 2006/07 season, racing in 10 countries. Three drivers have raced for the pride of their nation; Armaan Ebrahim, Parthiva Sureshwaren and Narain Karthikeyan, who made his A1GP debut at the New Zealand round in January.
The A1 Team India car will now be rigorously tested to ensure it is in the best possible condition for the third season of A1GP. The team will not be on track until the collective test on 28-29 August before the season opener on 30 September 2007 at Zandvoort Circuit Park in the Netherlands.
-credit: team india