Good start for Karthikeyan, finishes third in Suzuka
Narain Karthikeyan got off to a flying start in the 2015 Super Formula campaign, finishing in third place at the historic Suzuka Circuit in Japan on Sunday.other Updated: Apr 20, 2015 16:22 IST
Narain Karthikeyan got off to a flying start in the 2015 Super Formula campaign, finishing in third place at the historic Suzuka Circuit in Japan on Sunday.
The Indian, driving for Team Dandelion Racing, had qualified second on Saturday.
An ecstatic Karthikeyan said, “It feels great to be back on the podium.”
The start wasn’t great as Karthikeyan lost three places on Lap 1 as eventual winner Andre Lotterer assumed the lead.
“There was a bit of inertia at the start, I’m not sure whether it was an error on my part or some clutch setting because normally we have good starts,” said Karthikeyan after the race.
“From then on, the race became slightly harder because we lost track position.”
The Indian was stuck behind Hiroaki Ishiura for the better part of the race; the Japanese mounting a strong defence, which allowed the lead pair of Lotterer and Kazuki Nakajima to increase the lead.
After the pit stop sequence on Lap 33, Ishiura emerged right ahead of Karthikeyan but this time the Indian was prepared. Karthikeyan passed his rival decisively around the outside at Spoon Curve.
However, the lead pair was more than 20 seconds ahead by now and it looked like a lonely race to the end. But another twist on the final lap saw third placed Naoki Yamamoto stop due to mechanical issues. Karthikeyan, who was right behind, took the place and posted the second fastest lap of the race.
“The podium was obviously a bit unexpected but we had the pace to run in the top three on merit, it was a shame with the start,” said the Indian.
On Saturday, Karthikeyan looked poised for pole position in qualifying, but a small error in his Q3 run denied him the chance. He was the quickest driver in Q2 (by over 0.3 seconds) but could not improve on that in Q3.