Karthikeyan, Chandhok win; India qualify for Race of Champions' Nations' Cup
The Indian team comprising of F1 drivers Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok made the tricolour fly high as they came out triumphant in the inaugural Race of Champions Asia. The feat secures India a spot in the main event, the Race of Champions’ Nations’ Cup.
This was a debut for both the Indian drivers in any competition in the race of champions, which is beginning to gain popularity since its inception in 1999. Then, it included only five nations and an all-star team comprising of drivers from various nations.
Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium saw the Indian duo pair up to beat Kazuya Oshima and Takuto Iguchi of Toyota Team Gazoo Japan in the final of the RoC Asia.
They had come into the finals as favourites after topping the group stage, winning six of the eight races. The Indians prevailed after winning both the heats against their Japanese Super GT competitors who were both class winners in this year’s Nürburgring 24-Hour race.
Talking to the media, Karun Chandhok said:
“That was a really good night and it was obviously very nice to end up on top. It wasn’t as straightforward as we would have hoped as we both had our favourite cars and we ended up driving the opposite ones to what we wanted. But it worked out well in the end. It was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed our first experience of competing here. In the end I think we beat everyone fair and square. That’s what the Race Of Champions all about – same cars, same track, same conditions. It’s a bit of history for Team India to win the first ROC Asia. That’s obviously very special. Now we start from scratch again tomorrow in the ROC Nations Cup.”
The senior Narain Karthikeyan later added:
“This is the first time at the Race Of Champions for both myself and Karun and I’ve really enjoyed this event so far. It’s a unique format and it’s pretty tight and narrow out there. So it was a challenge to put a precise lap together in any of the cars. But it’s just about getting the best out of each car. You need to adapt very quickly without any mistakes as you need a clean lap. We’re happy to come out on top, now we can look forward to the rest of the event. We’re up for the challenge and we’ll take on the world tomorrow!”
The Nation’s cup will be televised on Sony Six on Saturday at 18:30 hrs IST. Be sure to tune in and cheer India on.