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Narain eyes the finishing line

July 29, 2005 16:27 IST

Narain Karthikeyan has said his prime target was to carry on with his decent show at Germany last week and finish the race at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday.

After arriving at the Hungaroring, the Jordan driver said his team aimed to keep up with their rivals who have shown improvement in their performance in recent weeks.

"My goal is to fight and finish the race. Many of our competitors have worked a lot on their cars, including Minardi, which is a worry for us until we take a step forward with the new car," he said.

The 28-year-old Chennai-born driver claimed his eighth finish of the season in Hockenheim.

The Hungaroring, however, is quite a complex track and the second slowest on the calendar after Monaco. Cars need good traction on the exit of the slow corners.

"I see it is a very twisty circuit that looks difficult for overtaking. Actually, it's a circuit that I'm going to like a lot - it's quite slow, but looks like there will be a good flow. It's clear that you need a good level of physical preparation to cope with the race in very hot conditions," Karthikeyan said.

The Indian, who has suffered because of quite a few technical failures of his car, said the track would be a real test to the Jordan's powerplant supplied by Toyota.

"It may be surprising, but the engine is very important here as well -- it needs to be driveable from low revs and to be able to operate in the very high temperatures. In addition you need a stable front end on the car -- you need to be completely in control of the car through the long slow corners, and any understeer will cost a lot of time," he said.

Karthikeyan, who pipped his teammate Tiago Monteiro last week in Hockenheim, also felt the circuit would be one of the most physically demanding.

"The race will be hard, probably one of the most physically demanding of the year. It's also a new track for me to learn.

"It may be a slow track, but it is demanding in a lot of areas, including for the Bridgestone tyres, as we need a lot of good traction accelerating out of the slow corners. We will also have to manage tyre wear carefully in this heat."

Hungary is a former Eastern block country that has played host to Formula One for two decades.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the first Grand Prix in eastern Europe and the fourth Grand Prix of a busy Formula One month of July.

"From what I've seen of Budapest, it's a real mix of the eastern and the western world. It's vibrant and very busy. It's half like Moscow and half like Milan.

"The Hungaroring is only a short drive from the city. I walked around the track when I arrived," Karthikeyan said.

After the Hungarian GP, Karthikeyan will return to India for the first time in five months.

His main sponsors including Tata will make sure he's kept busy though with a promotional tour of India starting on August 3 in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai.

"I'm so pleased to be finally heading back home to meet my fans again before the remainder of the season," Narain smiled.


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