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Narain counting on 'flashes of brilliance'

July 22, 2005 21:16 IST

Half way through his maiden Formula One season, Narain Karthikeyan is practical as well as philosophical in his assessment about his success at the elite level of motor sport.

Finishing the races with the last year's car, as he did with roaring success in the opening Grand Prix at Melbourne and Malaysia, has itself been an achievement for the debutant Formula One Indian driver.

But there have been more lows than highs with the problematic car stalling more frequently, and although it does not entirely reflect on his racing skills, questions have begun to be asked in the media about his performance.

The 28-year-old from Chennai, however, employs the peer-praise as a simple yardstick to assess success in his rookie season.

"I think for me success in the first season in Formula One would be for other teams, and this (Jordan) team, to recognise that I am a quick and competitive driver," says the 'Fastest Indian on Wheels'.

Narain is practical about not getting to make his Formula One debut with one of the high profile teams like Ferrari, and that his exploits in an inferior car would not go unnoticed.

"Everybody has to start somewhere, and a lot of new drivers have gone through Jordan and Minardi," he says, in an interview to BBC World's 'Extra Time', to be telecast on July 24 at 1700 IST.

"You can't expect to go and drive for a big team ... only in a dream scenario do you get to drive for front-running teams."

"But as I told you, everybody has to start somewhere and people will notice -- my race in San Marino, I clocked a very good lap time in the race; it was quicker than a lot of good drivers in teams that are higher up than us," Narain said.

"And that caught a lot of attention. So it is flashes of brilliance that's what you need to show."

His non-finish at the British Grand Prix -- fourth of the season -- at the Silverstone circuit, very much his team's home base, left him disappointed.

That fuelled media speculation of his rift with the team management and a possible severing of ties at the end of the season.

Narain, in the interview before the race day, said his quotes about his relationship with team boss Colin Kolles were misrepresented.

"People wanted to make sensational stories out of it, and they took words out," he said.

'He [Kolles] is just management so I don't have to have a conversation with him' was what he had said after Kolles had pulled him up following a race earlier in the season.

"I said this in a manner that I speak more to the engineers, my engineers who work on the car, more than Colin," he clarifies.

Narain said he shares his experiences with his cricketer friend Sachin Tendulkar, who also advises him on handling the media.

"He is a very good friend ... I especially find out about the media and so on. He gives me a lot of help on that and tries to calm me down ... It helps a lot when such a superstar tries to help you."

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