Narain Karthikeyan wins Brands Hatch GP

Updated: 16 May 2008 16:39 IST

Narain Karthikeyan won the A1 Grand Prix title in England to help India finish 10th with 61 points on Sunday. This is his second win of the season.

New Delhi:

Narain Karthikeyan scorched the Brands Hatch circuit to win the Feature race and close the A1GP season on a high note as Team India secured its first ever top-10 finish on Sunday.

It was Karthikeyan versus Robbie Kerr throughout and the Indian won the battle through a brilliant second pit stop.

The Indian, starting at pole at the grid, finished the 48-lap race in 1 hour 7 min 24 seconds to bring home a total of 21 points -- 15 from Feature and 6 from Sprint, where Karthikeyan finished fifth in the morning.

This powered India to its first A1GP top-10 finish as they edged past USA, Portugal and China to be perched on 10th place on the championship table.

The second pit-stop in lap 32 proved instrumental in Karthikeyan's win as he beat the host nations' Robbie Kerr at the break to go ahead and eventually grab the lead with 10 laps to go.

It was smooth sailing after that as he maintained the lead and secured India's second win of the season.

It also crushed Robbie Kerr's hopes of a double win after the Briton had won the Sprint race in the morning. Kerr finished second behind Karthikeyan with a marginal gap of 1.078.

Swiss Neel Jani finished third with a timing of 1:07:33.416. However, he had already sealed the Championship for his nation when he finished fourth in Sprint race in the morning.

An elated Karthikeyan dedicated the win to Team India.

"I am really happy. The win is sweeter than the Zuhai win (in December 2007) as it was a complete job. It's always special to win at Brands Hatch. This is capital of Motorsport and I am really happy," he said after the race.

"I dedicated it to A1 Team India as they really put on great job and all the people who have worked hard and to my fans too."

Karthikeyan, India's first Formula One driver, said the second "mega" pit stop sealed the victory.

"That was a mega pit stop. All the guys did well there. After that it was easy. I made a mistake at sheene but I had time to cover up. Basically, it was a good start and I defended well when Ireland put pressure from behind," he said.

Karthikeyan said it was a tough battle out there with Kerr as well as with Ireland.

"It was really heavy. It was a great race and there were some close moments. Robbie drove well but we managed to edge him past. Also Ireland struck me from behind and fortunately it did not damage my car," he said.

Swiss Neel Jani said he was confident of winning the championship after the qualifying race itself.

"The pressure was off after the qualifying. I knew New Zealand cannot win from that position. I wanted to end the season at podium and I am happy that I could do it," Jani, son of an Indian, said.

There was drama and excitement right from the start as Pakistani and Australian cars spun and were off the circuit after they had a contact on the back straight. It was a serious accident but fortunately both Adam Khan John Martin were safe.

Topics : Formula 1 Narain Karthikeyan
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