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Narain 20th in first practice

July 01, 2005 21:50 IST

Despite driving on a familiar track, India's Narain Karthikeyan could not improve his position and finished 20th, behind Jordan test driver Robert Doornbas as Maclaren-Mercedes' Pedro de la Rosa was the fastest in Saturday's first practice ahead of the French Grand Prix in Magny-Cours.

Karthikeyan clocked 1 minute 20.067 seconds, behind Doornbas, but ahead of his team mate Tiago Monteiro, who finished 23rd.

The 28-year-old had some good memories of finishing on the podium in last year's Nissan World Series at the same venue.

However, the Indian rookie, who struggled with back-to-back failures after an impressive start in his debut F1 season is confident of putting up a better show this weekend as the circuit suits his driving style.

Karthikeyan made history at the US Grand Prix, finishing fourth and collecting five points in a depleted field.

De la Rosa covered the 73-lap practice in 1:14.778 seconds while Renault drivers Fernando Alonso (1:15.183) and Giancarlo Fisichella (1:15.255) finished second and third respectively.

Alonso is leading the points table after winning four races this season, while Fisichella won the first race in Melbourne.

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