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Narain Karthikeyan Source Name: Narain Karthikeyan

Spin Costs Karthikeyan in Qualifying at Twin Ring Motegi

Aug 23, 2014   18:49 IST 
Twin Ring Motegi Circuit, Tochigi, Japan

After looking good for a top six start at the Twin Ring Motegi early on, an off-track moment at the final corner during Q2 put paid to the prospects of a strong show in qualifying here today.

After finishing the first segment of qualifying in fourth position and looking set to progress into Q3 comfortably, Karthikeyan, who is supported by Tata Sons and Tata Motors, eventually ended up 14th after going off at the final corner on a hot lap that was good enough for a top six position.

Visiting the Tochigi venue after a gap of 13 years since he first competed in the erstwhile Formula Nippon series back in 2001, it was expected to be a tough weekend from the start given the extremely technical nature of the circuit in addition to the recent experience his competitors enjoy at the 4.8-kilometre venue.

“The track is virtually new for me and quite technical and you are up against competition which knows their way around very well”, remarked Narain post-qualifying.

“It is a difficult situation because the series doesn’t allow much testing but I think we made a lot of progress in the limited time on offer. At the end ofFriday practice we were 1.3 seconds off and at the end of morning practice the gap was only six-tenths”, he added.

The Indian made a further step forward in qualifying, as the gap whittled down to merely two-tenths to his pole-setter teammate J P De Oliveria. He finished Q1 in a strong fourth place and half-way into Q2, looked set for a top-eight slot (progression into Q3) and a place in the pole-position shootout.

On his fast lap, the Indian was just about two-tenths off his teammate after the first two sectors but ended up attacking the final corner with a bit too much gusto which forced him off the circuit and ended his qualifying prematurely.

“When you are trying to find a lot of lap time in a short duration you need to push very hard and sometimes it can just end up being a bit too much”, he added.

“The last corner is a bit off-camber and as soon as the car got on the dirty side, it was on the deck (floor) which meant I had no steering. I could see the finish line as it wasn’t even 100 metres away so it was really unfortunate”, remarked Narain.

“My teammate is super-fast here, and compared to him we were not more than three-tenths off at any point, so we could have definitely qualified in the top six or even better”, he added.

“When you try to find a lot of lap time in a short duration you need to push very hard and sometimes it can just end up being a bit too much.”

For the 52-lap race tomorrow, overtaking is expected to be difficult given the twisty, technical nature of the track.

“It is going be difficult to overtake, and of course it is not what we wanted especially with a good car under you. But that’s how it is and we just need to focus on the race and maximise the pace we have”, Karthikeyan concluded.

Narain Karthikeyan
Narain Karthikeyan
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