Chandhok finishes 7th in feature race; adds to his points tally

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Magny-Cours, France, June 23 (UNI) On a high after his recent podium finish in Monaco, India's Karun Chandhok drove a solid and consistent race to finish seventh in the feature race and added to his points score in the fourth race weekend of the 2008 GP2 Series here.

The 24-year-old from Chennai, started from eighth place on the grid for the feature race and a seventh place meant a front row start to yesterday's sprint race, but on a damp track, his engine bogged down at the start, dropping him into the pack.

''I had a pretty strong race. I wasn't really able to hook the lap up in qualifying but in the race the car worked very well and I got into a good rhythm.

''I lost a place to d'Ambrosio in the pit-stops because Pastor Maldonado's car was uncomfortably close to my mechanics but otherwise I think it's been a good afternoon. It's good to keep my points score ticking over after Monaco, though,'' Chandhok said.

Following a pitstop to change to slick tyres, he was battling back towards the points when he clashed with Saturday's winner Giorgio Pantano.

Chandhok admitted that the clash was a big mess saying that it was a tough choice with the tyre strategy and it was one of those where all the guys at the back who could afford to gamble came out on top while those of us at the front lost out.

''After changing tyres, I was really catching the group of cars in front including Giorgio, but at one stage about five of us tried to squeeze into the chicane and he and I didn't come out unscathed! It damaged my front wing and the brake duct, so I had to retire,'' he added.

Chandhok also had the opportunity to meet batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar and had an interaction with his sporting hero.

Tendulkar was attending the race as a guest of the Force India Formula 1 Team.

''It was nice to meet Sachin for the first time. I was surprised at how humble he is for someone with such stature in India.

''He is more than just a casual viewer of the sport and was certainly very keen to learn about the technical and driving intricacies of the sport.

Chandhok's next race is at Silverstone in Great Britain on July 5-6.

''Until I get an Indian Grand Prix, Silverstone is the next best thing for me. I live five minutes from the circuit and have a great affection for the place. It's really frustrating to have 4 non-finishes out of 8 races and I'm looking forward to a good weekend at Silverstone where we can really score a good haul of points,'' he added.

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