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Deserved a chance: Narain
« on: January 17, 2008, 06:57:09 AM »

Deserved a chance: Narain
TNN / Vivek Mukherji


TAUPO, January 16: Being told you are not good enough is bound to prick the ego of any self-respecting person. But, if one happens to carry the tag of the 'fastest Indian in the world' and is still written off without being given a fair chance by a Formula 1 team, that is aiming to tap the might of India to power its wheels, has quite the opposite effect.

It has made Narain Karthikeyan even more resolute to up the pace here in New Zealand in the fifth race of the A1GP calendar.

"I am not even thinking about it (F1) now. My performance is the only barometer of my virtue," says Narain. "But yes, I at least deserved a chance for a test," he adds, almost as an afterthought.

For Narain, coming to Taupo Motorsport Park carries a bit of symbolic significance. Last year, around the same time, Narain tentatively parted the veil to steal a peek at the world of A1GP. At that time Narain was vacillating on the horns of dilemma.

A part of him was yearning to earn a Formula 1 race drive, while the other half wanted to go racing. Though the Williams testing duties kept him busy intermittently, the racer in him urged him to hit the tracks. Just to keep the genie down the Coimbatore driver tip-toed into the 'world cup of motorsports' midway into the season.

It's here on the 3.5 km long circuit that the bug finally bit him as he scored the first point for Team India after its tryst began with this form of racing in 2006. In that respect this track reminds him of the sunnier times of his career.

"Zhuhai and Taupo will always remain close to my heart. Zuhai, because I won a race there and Taupo, because I helped the team to earn its first point after struggling for more than a year and a half," says Narain.

Coming into this race on the back of a win puts some extra spring into Narain's stride. Having won a race, expectations of motorsports aficionados have gone up too, but the man who will be at the wheels this Sunday is not too concerned about the pressure. The only thing that's playing on his mind is how to get that extra bit out of the car that will keep him ahead.

"I hope the car performs to its potential. If we are able to get the set-up and pace right like we did in China, I see a good result on the cards," said Narain.

Besides, the experience of racing on this narrow track, where overtaking is very difficult, will definitely come handy for the Team India driver.

The track has undergone a bit of change since the last A1GP race on January 21, 2006. The final corner, which is called Turn 12, has been modified ostensibly to increase overtaking opportunities. From being a fourth gear flowing corner the angle has become more acute. In other words it means drivers have to go late on brake if they want to overtake.

"I saw the track this morning. Basically, it still remains a pretty narrow track where going past will be a tricky business," said Narain.

Given the nature of the track the immediate task confronting Arena Motorsport, which provides engineering support to Team India, will be to find qualifying pace and the right set-up. A good grid position for both the sprint and feature race will go a long way in determining the final outcome.

http://racing.indiatimes.com/Deserved_a_chance_Narain/articleshow/2706149.cms
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