Karthikeyan sets the track on fire as A1 Team India finish 12th

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Mexico, Mar 17 (UNI) Ace driver Narrain Karthikeyan pulled out all the stops as A1 Team India showed more progression than any other team, jumping 11 places to finish 12th in the A1GP Feature Race here.

''It was a difficult yet exciting race for me. We managed to pick up quite a few positions and the team pulled off some very good pit stops. Despite not qualifying well yesterday and having to start the race at the back of the grid, we did work well as a team to bring home 2 more points to A1 Team India this race,'' Karthikeyan said.

Karthikeyan started at P20 in the Feature race, which had a surprisingly clean start with all 22 cars managing to stay clear of each other.

The Indian bravely pushed his way past A1 Team Indonesia and A1 Team Lebanon within the first lap and by the third lap he landed the car in P16.

The first pit window opened between laps 8 and 16 and as several of the race leaders went into the pit lane, Karthikeyan closed in on his time.

On lap 12, A1 Team India called for its first pit stop and Karthikeyan pulled into the pit lane from a stronger P9. With what turned out to be one of the best pit stops in the entire race weekend with a stand-still time of 10.4 seconds, the A1 Team India mechanics helped Karthikeyan bag an additional two places ahead of A1 Team's Pakistan and Championship challenger, France.

A1 Team India now rejoined the race at P14. With A1 Team New Zealand and A1 Team Germany being involved in accidents, Karthikeyan cautiously drove past them to secure a P12 - as picking up points for his nation was now within reach.

The second pit stop window opened between laps 34 and 42. A1 Team India took a strategic call to pit early and after Karthikeyan closed in the gap he pulled into the pit lane in lap 37 at P7.

In what was once again said to be one of the top 3 pit stops of the race weekend, A1 Team India managed a 10.5 seconds stand-still pit stop. A1 Team India picked up 2 more places and rejoined ahead of A1 Team China and A1 Team Malaysia at P10. In the 44th lap of the 47 lap race, A1 Team Switzerland's Championship leader, Neel Jani was given a drive through penalty and Karthikeyan managed to secure himself just ahead of Jani's exit from the pit lane and secured P9.

With A1 Team China, A1 Team Switzerland and A1 Team Pakistan putting pressure on Karthikeyan to yield, his years of experience and skill came into play and he held strong to his well deserved position, finishing the race at P9 and bringing home 2 points for A1 Team India.

In the Sprint race, A1 Team India once again had a difficult start at P18 in the twenty-minute race format that allows very little chance of overtaking. Karthikeyan drove steady, staying out of the mid-field traffic and chaos that took several other teams off the track. A1 Team India completed the race just out of the points at P13.

A1 Team India currently stands at 12th position in the Championship with 30 points.

UNI XC AB RK2125

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