China: With Narain Karthikeyan sizzling on the Zhuhai International Circuit, Team India zipped to its first A1 GP victory by winning the Feature Race here today.
Having lost his status as Williams’ test driver after the Formula One team jettisoned him earlier this week, Karthikeyan took the circuit by storm and raced to the chequered flag, quelling late charge from New Zealand and South Africa.
The Indian clocked 1:08’30.759 to finish 0.502 seconds ahead of Kiwi Jonny Reid.
India thus became the 14th nation to record a win in A1GP.
Starting third in the grid, Karthikeyan stepped on the gas on lap 16 when Portugal slipped back, allowing India to trail Switzerland. And by lap 22, the gap between the Swiss and Indian car had been whittled down to 4.6 seconds.
In lap 26, Neel Jani of Team Switzerland developed a problem with the right rear tyre and had to bring the car into the pits, which allowed Karthikeyan to grab the lead.
There was hardly any moment to relax, however, with Pakistan toppling India from the lead before Karthikeyan showing again who was the boss.
Kiwi Jonny Reid then closed down on the Indian with less than half a second separating them but Karthikeyan used all his experience of racing in the top flight and survived the late assault to drive his team to glory.