07 March 2005

go narain go

In a nation starved of sporting icons narain comes across as a breath of fresh air.Totally unassuming and totally simple.My best wishes to you fellow brother and fellow countryman.
This is an intresting article !

Read it here too :

Narain Karthikeyan has arrived
Monday March 7 2005 00:00 IST

Harish Samtani

Narain has successfully crossed the first hurdle. ‘To finish first, first you must finish’ is an old adage in motor-racing. Narain belied his status as a rookie from India with his consistent performance on Sunday afternoon at Albert Park.

Don’t be fooled by the location as it certainly was no walk in the park for him.

He put aside his initial hiccups after his a start and then put it past his teammate Tiago Monteiro convincingly. The immediate measure of a driver is understood when he is compared with his teammate. This is because two cars from a stable are alike and comparisons are easy.

It would be ridiculous to compare his performance against another team and driver. More so when there were limitations from the the start; be it the last minute signing up with Team Jordan Grand Prix, the team putting the package together with Toyota or coming to grips with the new specs and regulations vis a vis tyre and engine at short notice. This could be misread as excuses but in reality are facts.

The talk in the pit-lane is that he has potential. Not in a condescending manner but as a genuine evaluation. So, it’s just not my seemingly biased view-point or the praises from his team. He has cleared all doubts that I had about his ability to handle the rumble and tumble of the ‘big one’. Of course, the pressure will increase as the expectations to perform start going north. Looks like he is capable of soaking it in.

The Jordan-Toyota which he drove today was last year’s version. Other than Ferrari, all other teams had the 2005 versions. Taking this important factor into account, his fastest lap time was adrift of just over 2 secs of the competition. Of course, 2 secs in F1 is equal to a country mile but given the circumstances it should not be used as a unit for measuring the levels of his skills.

He achieved precisely what he set out to from the word go. His second qualifying this morning was immaculate. As predicted yesterday he finished in the sixth row (12th spot). The position was not as important as the focus with which he slotted into a position, which he knew was rightfully his.

Then, the next item on the agenda was to finish the race. This too he did without a fuss even though his car was over-steering a bit due to excess wear in the rear tyres. The main concern on his physical fitness was eliminated when he emerged from the car after the gruelling 57-lap (90 min) race, looking fresh, His suspect neck muscles held out rather well.

The new regulations may help his cause in F1 after all. A smooth driving style is required and he seems to have that quality.

Although the chaotic qualifying rounds tossed the cat among the pigeons, Narain’s result couldn’t have changed much. It was just that the favourites had a bad day. Michael and Heidfeld chose to change their engines instead of attempting to qualify. The penalty for such a change - that of starting 10 places behind your qualified grid positions didn’t matter much. So now we have Michael with an engine that is not as worn.

Sepang should see him back where he belongs. When the going gets tough the tough go thinking. As I had mentioned a few days ago, Team Renault are a strong contender for the championship. Today’s 1-3 result confirms their readiness to take the battle to the Ferrari camp. McLaren should be up there in the thick of it considering that they have two talents in the form of Kimi and Montoya.. And how about Narain you may ask. He is capable of walking up those steps, maybe with a few more miracles.

The hundreds of fans who gathered to see Narain after the race were in a frenzy. Screaming for his autograph and almost bringing down the fencing. It was a heart-warming sight. What Narain is achieving is probably more than Sachin ever did. He has lifted the spirit of Indians living in non cricket playing nations such as Germany and Italy. Sachin, could you step aside a bit. Maybe we have a new national icon.

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 12:03 PM


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