Points Scoring Weekend for A1 Team India A1 Team India added to its championship points tally, with a 6th place finish in the Sprint Race at the Kyalami Circuit in Johannesburg, South Africa. Sunday morning broke with warm and sunny...
Points Scoring Weekend for A1 Team India
A1 Team India added to its championship points tally, with a 6th place finish in the Sprint Race at the Kyalami Circuit in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Sunday morning broke with warm and sunny weather, almost ideal racing weather. A1 Team India started the sprint race from 5th position on the grid. When the start lights went green, Narain got an excellent start charging up to 4th position by the first corner, out-braking A1 Team Monaco. He held onto that position for a few laps. A problem with the ratios of 1st & 2nd gear caused him to lock up the rear wheels coming into the final chicane, allowing A1 Team Monaco to get a run on him down the front straight & pass him going into the first corner. He tried to recover the position, but the loss of momentum caused A1 Team Ireland to also get past him on the long uphill section. This dropped Narain to 6th place, a position he would hold onto until the end of the race.
Starting 18th in the Feature Race, Narain got a solid start. After a few laps he had moved up to 14th place, with other drivers making mistakes and getting involved in incidents with each other. The first sequence of pit-stops went off quite smoothly, and Narain moved up to 12th place by the middle stint of the race. After the second sequence of pit-stops, he had moved to 11th place, behind A1 Team Italy, and was catching him with a steady run of quick laps. With 6 laps to go, he was almost under the A1 Team Italy cars gearbox, and was pushing very hard. He made two very strong attempts to pass the Italian, but each time the car slid wide under braking and the Italian driver was able to get the position back. With 3 laps to go, the A1 Team India car started developing fuel pressure problems, and with just a lap to go, the problems were slowing down the car severely, allowing A1 Team Germany to pass Narain on the very last lap. A1 Team India finished the race in 12th position.
After the races, Narain said, "I'm quite disappointed that we were not able to score points in both races today, despite being on the pace. The disadvantage of starting in 18th place for the feature race was very difficult to overcome. Coupled with the fuel pressure problem in the last few laps, it made for a disappointing finish. However, we showed that we have the pace to run at the front of the field with our 6th place finish in the Sprint race. We are at a disadvantage to some of the other teams as our financial position is not as strong as theirs, and therefore we are not able to have a selection of things like gear-ratios, spring, etc. which could help us to get an optimum setup for the car / circuit combination. We are very fortunate to have some backing from the Tata Group, but we are hoping that some more corporates in India get behind us and support the national racing team as we go to the next race in six weeks time in Portugal."