Flying start for Karthikeyan at A1GP Taupo, New Zealand Narain Karthikeyan showed blistering pace on his first outing in an A1GP car today, at the Taupo Motorsport Park in New Zealand. The Williams F1 test driver finished the day second...
Flying start for Karthikeyan at A1GP Taupo, New Zealand
Narain Karthikeyan showed blistering pace on his first outing in an A1GP car today, at the Taupo Motorsport Park in New Zealand. The Williams F1 test driver finished the day second overall, just 0.055 behind the fastest man, after only 54 laps of running. Czech driver Tomas Enge, a former F1 driver, was the only man to keep Karthikeyan from the top of the time sheets at the end of his first day in A1GP.
Speaking about his first experience in the car, Karthikeyan commented, "The A1GP car requires a completely different driving style to an F1 car. The gearbox, the braking, the tyres, it's all very different to F1, so it's like going into a completely different category. I suppose today was a good start, I've only had two sessions in the car, and there is still a lot to do. We'll have to see what changes we can make. It would be great to get into the points and give India a head start." Karthikeyan had praise for his new team saying, "I think the team is doing a good job, there's no doubt about that, the car was not that far off really."
Despite finishing in the top three consistently throughout the day, the A1 Team India driver is cautious about his chances over the weekend, "I think a podium is asking too much really. Most people here have done a season or a season and a half, and it's quite a lot to ask to come into your first race and finish on the podium. The important thing is not to get carried away. We still have a lot to do. If I can help send the team in the right direction, it will be a good start."
After setting a quick time which put him at the top of the time sheets early in the final session, Karthikeyan had a couple of off-track excursions. "When you have such a limited amount of time to get used to the track and the car, you have to learn as much as possible, very quickly, which means pushing the car to the limit and possibly going over it. I went off a couple of times, but it was only minor and there was no damage to the car."
Speaking about the importance of A1GP in his home country, Karthikeyan said, "There has been quite a lot of interest my joining A1 Team India. Motorsport is still developing there at the moment, so A1GP will hopefully raise its profile. I'm really pleased to be here this weekend, I think the nation versus nation concept is great." Team Seatholder, Yohann Setna added, "The team is really happy with how it went today. Being at the top of the time sheets is a great experience. But we still have a lot to do, and Narain thinks there is still a lot of time left in the car. I think qualifying will be important tomorrow, as the track is narrow and there aren't a lot of places to overtake. The reaction in India has already been amazing and I think if we get a good result here this weekend, it will draw attention to A1 Team India."
Karthikeyan will next take to the track for one final practice session before a four segment qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.
-credit: team india