Chandok finishes 8th, Ebrahim 22

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Dubai Jan 25 (UNI) India's Karun Chandhok opened his GP 2 Asia series campaign on a disappointing note, finishing eighth in Race One of the Dubai Grand Prix here today.

France's Romain Grosjean won the race from pole, while Chandok's Sport International Brazilian team-mate Bruno Senna (Brazil) was second 12.358 seconds behind. Andy Soucek (Spain) crossed in third, 17.347 behind Grosjean's winning time of 59:25.309.

The other Indian in the fray, the young Armaan Ebrahim had a day to forget, finishing over two laps behind in 22nd position.

The 24-year-old Indian, who started from the fourth position, dropped a place in the opening lap, and was fifth going into his first pit stop on the 12th lap.

But tragedy struck as he came out of the pit lanes, spinning out of control and dropping to 10th. He recovered to seventh, but just didn't have the speed to match the leading pack. He eventually finished the race in 1:00:01.877.

Chandok, who is being sponsored by JK tyre, has been amongst the top five throughout the test sessions, and even topped the times on Tuesday afternoon.

Driving for the British I-Sport International squad, the Chennai born driver was among the leaders but luck deserted him at the crucial moment.

''I was driving well and was confident of finishing among first five but the spin after I came out of the pit spoiled my chances.'' Chandok however, showed his nerves and despite losing valuable time he drove bravely but the field was too strong to let him get in again.

''I was happy the way i drove in the qualification round, Though I was not fully fit,I was reasonably satisfied to have finished fourth with a time of 1:21.963. and that gave me hope that I will do well in the first race.'' ''I was not in the best of health in the morning due to throat infection and to drive in 42 lap race in such condition is not very easy. It is very demanding but overall i have no regrets.'' ''There are some very quick guys here including Grosjean, Luca Filippi, Adrian Valles, Soucek and of course my team-mate Senna.

''It was a tight race and I knew it was not going to be easy.

But a top five place would have been a good start for the season.'' Ebrahim kept his chin up, terming the race a 'good experience.' The 18-year-old said, ''This is my first 42-lap race. It was a good experience and I hope to keep improving.'' Race two of the GP2 Asia will be held tomorrow, and the series will then move on to Indonesia, Malaysia, Bahrain and then back to Dubai for the final round.

The majority of the drivers for the GP2 Asia series are also competing in the European series which means that the level of competition, as ever, is incredibly high.

UNI XC AB HT2006

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