BRANDS HATCH (Great Britain): Narain Karthikeyan secured India's first ever pole position in the Feature race of A1GP, World Cup of Motorsport, after pipping host nation's Robbie Kerr in the qualifying session of the season-ending race at the Brands Hatch circuit on Sunday.
Watch: Narain grabs pole at Brands Hatch
Karthikeyan, India's first Formula One driver, recorded 1 min 14:682 seconds in the second session to earn himself a brilliant chance to end the season on a winning note. Kerr finished 0.227 seconds behind the Indian to be placed second and thus missing the chance to earn second pole position of the event after taking pole position in Sprint. Karthikeyan slipped to overall fifth in the Sprint race after Jonathan Summerton of the USA and Adam Carroll of Ireland raced brilliantly in the second session to pip the Indian. Kerr recorded a timing of 1:14:424 in his second session while Karthikeyan raced the best lap with 1:15:040 in the first session.
Earlier, Karthikeyan had recorded the third fastest lap in the morning practice session, giving ample hints of what was in store for the Indian team. In the penultimate race in Shanghai, Karthikeyan was placed fourth in the Sprint and fifth in the Feature race. Elated after finishing the qualifying session, Karthikeyan said he was happy with his performance and blamed the tyres for dropping to fifth in the Sprint.
"I always knew we had a car to be in the top three. I am happy with the performance. This is the last race of the season and last performance with this car. It is quite exciting," he said after the qualifying the session. "There was some problem in the tyre in the Sprint and that's why we dropped to fifth. It was a bit off or may be I did not warm it up enough. "I was also blocked by Mexico in the second session. It (5th position) is not bad but when compared to Pole, it looks.
We changed the tyre for the Feature and hope it would be okay," Karthikeyan added. India have so far one podium finish to their credit in the season as Kartikeyan had drove India to its first win at Zuhai in December. Now he has earned himself a chance to finish the season with a victory before getting behind the wheels of Ferrari cars from the next season. The Indian was also happy that his best performance came on his favourite circuit. "I have always done well at the Brands Hatch. It is my favourite circuit. I am always up there. And the consistency n the long run paid. The team also did well."
Karthikeyan had enough experience of driving at the circuit as he had raced here in two British F-3 races and in second season of the A1GP last year when he finished fourth. India's lead driver is now aiming to bring home the maximum points from Sunday's season ending race. "I am happy with our performance in this week but we need to capitalise on it and get maximum points. A1GP is growing and with Ferrari coming up it's going good," he said.