Narain Karthikeyan takes maiden Auto GP victory
Post-race penalty for race-winner Giovesi saw Karthikeyan being elevated to the top of the podium at Silverstone
Narain Karthiekyan got back to winning ways when he claimed his maiden Auto GP victory at the Silverstone Circuit this weekend. Driving for team Super Nova, Narain had initially crossed the line second behind the race winner Kevin Giovesi. But a post-race penalty for Giovesi saw the Indian driver get promoted to the top step of the podium.
Narain, who started on pole in race 1, had Giovesi and teammate Vittorio Ghirelli shadowing him right from the start. But the Indian driver had managed to keep a safe distance while leading the pack, until he pitted for his obligatory tyre change. The team didn’t have the cleanest of pitstops which resulted in Narain conceding the race lead, which he had held for 11 laps, to Giovesi.
At the finish line, Giovesi took the chequered flag ahead of Narain. But due to an illegal final-lap pitstop, Giovesi incurred a one-minute penalty that nudged Karthikeyan ahead of the Ghinzai Motorsport driver.
"I'm glad I got my first victory in Auto GP. I immediately found a good feeling with the car on a track like Silverstone and I managed to get the most from the package we had at our disposal,” said an elated Narain Karthikeyan.
This was a well deserved victory for Karthikeyan as he had shown great pace all throughout the weekend. Narain was fastest in both the free practices on Friday and carried over his form in qualifying, where he managed to secure his maiden Auto GP pole. Karthikeyan will now start race 2 from P8 on the reverse grid format today.
Earlier this year, Narain didn't have the best of starts to the season racing with the Zele Racing Auto GP team. He encountered reliability issues and too many goof-ups during pitstops which had robbed him of the opportunities to finish strongly in the previous rounds. This forced Karthikeyan to quit the team and later join the reigning Auto GP champions, Super Nova for the Silverstone round. And it proved to be a sensible move as the Indian ace racing driver dominated the sessions on Friday and Saturday, proving his detractor wrong.
The victory means Karthikeyan is now fourth in the championship with 59 points from four rounds, with one race still to go at Silverstone.