It was difficult weekend for Indian ace Narain Karthikeyan in the penultimate round of the Super Formula Japan series at Sportsland Sugo.
The Docomo Dandelion driver started the Sugo weekend with a 15th place in the Saturday practice with Drago Corse's Takashi Kogure leading.
Qualifying didn't go well for the Indian as he only managed 16th due to traffic on his best lap. Petronas Tom were 1-2 with Andre Lotterer on pole ahead of Kazuki Nakajima while championship leader Hiroaki Ishiura (P.MU/Cerumo) was third.
"The balance of the machine was not a problem, it got a good feeling. But traffic management was an issue as I picked up Koudai Tsukakoshion on my best lap," said Karthikeyan.
"And then the shift light was activated with an error on the steering dash panel which disrupted my concentration which is why I was not able to elicit a good lap."
Ahead of the race on Sunday, Karthikeyan finished sixth in the warm-ups as Kogure led the session.
Starting from the back half of the grid was always going to be a challenge in a narrow Sugo circuit but Karthikeyan got a good traction and made up four places to 12th at the start.
From then on, it was a fighting battle all through the race against drivers matching Karthikeyan's pace which made it difficult to overtake.
Eventually, he finished 13th as Lotterer took the win from Team Mugen's Naoki Yamamoto and Karthikeyan's teammate Tomoki Nojiri completed the podium.
"The final pace was very good. Overtaking was difficult in the narrow course of Sugo which meant it was a good fight with the rivals for positions," said Karthikeyan after the race.
"Qualifying set me back and so I am not happy with the result. I want to break down the situation and re-examine the performance with the team.
"After proper analysis, in the final round at Suzuka, want to finish the season on a high," he added.
Heading into the season finale, Ishiura leads the championship with 45 points while Karthikeyan is 10th with six points.