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Narain hopes for top 10 finish at Imola
Agnes Carlier | April 21, 2005 18:17 IST
India's rookie Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan has used the long gap following his previous unfinished race at Bahrain to train hard for Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix, where he is eager to finish in the top ten.
"I'm very focused for this Grand Prix and well-prepared. I'm not preoccupied with the thought that it could be dusty for the tyres, nor that it goes anticlockwise because I did a lot of training in Paul Ricard," Karthikeyan said in an exclusive interview.
The 28-year-old Jordan driver said he was eager to get back into action and wanted his team to finish within the top ten, a prospect which has become far more realistic after his teammate Tiago Montiero of Portugal finished 10th in Bahrain practise session.
"The gap since the Bahrain race seems a very long time; I can't wait to drive again tomorrow and hope for the team to finish the race on Sunday. It would be nice to be in the top ten!" he said.
The Chennai-born driver said he had some idea on what to expect at the Imola track and was ready for the challenge with a strategy.
"I've already raced in Monza so I kind of know what to expect from the Italian tifosi. But I've never raced at Imola before. I am looking forward to it and its electric atmosphere.
"It looks like I'll need to set-up the car to use the kerbs a lot to get a good lap time, which will probably be a bit tricky. But having said that, Malaysia was also difficult although I did well there so I am ready for the challenge and I will give it my best", Karthikeyan said.
"The kerbs are relatively high and the only way to a fast lap is to go straight over them - especially in the chicane at the top of the hill," Karthikeyan said.
The Indian ace also said he is aware of the difficulties and is prepared for them.
"Imola is a maximum downforce circuit that is very tough on brakes. On top of that, I was told that the track is relatively bumpy. But I suppose I will have to live with it. I discovered the track in more detail this morning when I was walking around with my engineers."
Karthikyan, who arrived in Bologna from the UK, said the weather might be quite favourable.
"I guess that the wet weather could be an asset for us and a good sign for the result of this Grand Prix."
Karthikeyan also appeared fitter than ever ahead of his fourth F1 Grand Prix.
"I did six hours of training everyday. Yesterday, for instance, the emphasis was on a lot of running and cardio-vascular training."
Regarding his car, he said, "In preparation for the San Marino and Spanish Grand Prix, Jordan Grand Prix tested Bridgestone's tyres thoroughly during our test session last week at the Paul Ricard circuit in France.
"We've worked hard to develop a car which works in harmony with Bridgestone's Potenza Formula One tyres. Between us we completed more than 1000 km of test mileage. We concentrated mainly on race simulation work for reliability testing. The team hopes for improvements in performance at San Marino and the forthcoming races," he said.
"I had never driven at the Paul Ricard circuit before and I found the facility pretty impressive. I'm sure that at Bridgestone they will be attacking the European season with renewed vigour.
"New tyre specifications have been sent to the San Marino Grand Prix and I will meet Bridgestone World's president Shigeo Watnabe and president Europe Mr Fujimura on Sunday," Narain added, as he headed from the airport to his hotel.
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