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Karthikeyan fined after quick getaway
March 04, 2005 13:43 IST
After waiting years to get a start in Formula One, it was no surprise that India's rookie driver Narain Karthikeyan was in a hurry to get on the track for practice at the Australian Grand Prix on Friday.
When the lights signalled the start of the first session for the new season, Karthikeyan roared out of the pit lane in his gleaming yellow Jordan and set off around the twisting Albert Park circuit for the ride of a lifetime.
The only problem for the 28-year-old from Madras was that his hasty exit was a little too quick for the officials. He was clocked leaving the pit lane at 86.2 km/h -- exceeding the allowable speed limit of 80 km/h.
He was found guilty of speeding and race stewards fined him $6,750.
"I was pushing very hard," Karthikeyan said. "Now I just need to calm down a bit because I was under pressure to perform."
Karthikeyan managed just six laps in the first 60-minute session when an oil leak forced him back to the team garage.
The problem was fixed and he completed another 29 laps in the second session, setting the 19th fastest time overall.
"After resolving Narain's oil leak, everything went smoothly," Jordan sporting director Trevor Carlin said.
"We are very happy with the progress he's making."
Karthikeyan is poised to become the first Indian to start in a Formula One Grand Prix after a long and sometimes difficult road to the top.
He has spent most of the past eight years in British Formula Three and the Nissan World Series after two failed attempts to break into the big league.
He tested with Jaguar and Jordan in 2001 but did not make the grade and came close in 2003, when he was offered a drive by Minardi but was unable to generate the money needed by the cash-strapped team to secure his place.
Karthikeyan's big break came last year when his sponsors, India's second-largest conglomerate, the Tata Group, and state-run refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp, agreed to back him.
He signed a deal with Jordan then underwent extensive testing in Europe to get the super licence he needed to compete in Formula One.
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