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Track suited my style: Narain

April 02, 2005 20:15 IST

Narain Karthikeyan produced a fastest lap of 1 minute, 33.190 seconds to finish 17th in the first qualifying session for tomorrow's Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix in Manama on Saturday.

The Indian driver, who was only fractionally slower than seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher with a top speed of 328.30 kmph, again beat his Jordan-Toyota teammate Tiego Monteiro of Portugal (1:33.424) who was ranked 18th.

Karthikeyan said the track suited his style of driving and he felt positive about his performance.

"I really like the circuit here in Bahrain, it suits my style of driving," he said after the first qualifying session.

"I have been pretty quick well on the track which is rather dusty and today we were feeling the wind too. The air and track temperatures were very high. So I am happy with my performance today that brings me ahead of my teammate," the 28-year-old said.

Karthikeyan said minor changes tried in his Jordan car proved to be significant enough during the session and he was eagerly awaiting for the race on Sunday.

"Yesterday, we tried some different new parts in the car, they were small changes but they have already made a significant difference.

"Main objective again throughout tomorrow's race will be to finish the race and maintain the reliability of our car. I feel very positive. It will be interesting to see what happens during the race."

Malaysian Grand Prix winner Fernando Alonso of Renault continued his great form to claim the top spot clocking 1 minute, 29.848 secs.

Jarno Trulli of Panasonic Toyota (1.29.993) came second and Michael Schumacher, who drove Ferrari's 2005 car, was third in 1.30.237 seconds.

"The momentum continues for Team Panasonic Toyota. I have been the quickest this session though it is very close with Jarno Trulli. I had a good week-end and it is fantastic result," Alonso, who won the Malaysian Grand Prix last month said.

The Spaniard said his machine was working perfect but he needed to concentrate more on what he described as a slower track.

"We checked everything on the car since yesterday and it is very reliable. The tyres seem to work perfectly and I hope it continues. The strategy will be very important as the track seemed slower today. I had to concentrate more," said Alonso, who is now leading the standings with 16 points.

Trulli said he expected tomorrow's race to be interesting and would look to consolidate Toyota's position.

"The team has done a good job and I am satisfied to be in second place. We have to carry on working. The race will be interesting. So will be the season, I hope. It will be nice to consolidate this good orientation. It is a good start for my relationship with Toyota," he said.

"This morning we worked a lot on the set-up. My engineers did a good job. The session seemed quick but I hope that tomorrow will remain as good. I am confident and the results depend certainly of a good balance between set-up and temperature and track conditions."

Seven time world-champion Schumacher said it was an encouraging start to the weekend with his new car. "We are making a great effort to have a good result and to be in good position.

"It was really nice to be driving the new car for the first time at a race meeting. It felt very good and the package is excellent. We ran through our entire planned programme yesterday and everything went very smoothly.

"Throughout the week-end we have had a good idea in which direction to work, in terms of tyre choice and car set-up including the first part of the morning session.

"Today was an overall trouble-free day with our new car and so a pleasing debut for the new car and an encouraging start to the race tomorrow. I am quite happy with my position."

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