Karthikeyan qualifies for eighth place in Le Mans Series
India's Narain Karthikeyan returns to the Le Mans Series (LMS) in Algarve this weekend after recovering from a dislocated shoulder that caused him to miss the previous round.Updated: Aug 01, 2009, 20:12 IST
India's Narain Karthikeyan returns to the Le Mans Series (LMS) in Algarve this weekend after recovering from a dislocated shoulder that caused him to miss the previous round.
Karthikeyan will share the No 14 Kolles Audi R10TDI with Charles Zwolsman and Andrew Meyrick after qualifying eighth for the race that is scheduled for a night start Saturday.
The first practice session on Thursday afternoon saw Karthikeyan's car suffering from some gearbox gremlins, preventing him from doing any laps at all. But the second practice session later in the evening, he and his team-mates post the fifth fastest time of the session.
The third practice session on Friday morning continued the trend of top ten performances with their Audi posting the ninth quickest time during the session. Qualifying was held late Friday evening. Narain will start the race from eighth on the grid.
After qualifying, Karthikeyan commented, "I went out early in the 20 minute qualifying session and only got the chance to do four timed laps. One of the other cars dropped some oil on the track ahead of me, and that made it quite difficult to push very hard."
"I am very upbeat about the race. It's a long race, about six hours in total, and I am scheduled to drive the second stint of two hours starting at approximately 11:30 pm local time.
"My shoulder is absolutely healed after my injury at the Le Mans 24 Hour race in mid-June. The physiotherapy over the past five weeks, both back home in Coimbatore and especially the last one week in Switzerland has helped me back to 100 per cent fitness. I'm very confident that it will not be a factor in this race."
After one round in Barcelona and another in Spa (Belgium), the Le Mans Series resumes at the brand new Algarve racetrack will host the third round of the 2009 LMS season.
The line-up includes former Formula 1 drivers like Olivier Panis, Tomas Enge, Christian Albers and Tiago Monteiro, the Portuguese racing driver and team-mate to Karthikeyan during his 2005 season at Jordan in Formula 1, who will share the drive of the Oreca LMP1 car with Bruno Senna.
All teams and drivers, discovering a new layout, will contest on equal terms for this Le Mans Series round - one of the first international competitions held on this brand new circuit.
Karthikeyan, however, has competed at this track before, earlier this year in A1GP. He was running third in that race when his car suffered from wheel bearing failure with two laps to go.