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Midland defends dumping Karthikeyan

February 28, 2006 19:37 IST

Defending the decision to dump Narain Karthikeyan after the rookie's maiden season last year, Midland's MF1 team said Tiago Monteiro was a better bet than the Indian and that's why the Portuguese driver was retained.

Sporting director Adrian Burgess made a comparative study of both the drivers and said, ''(Narain) would have occasional lapses in concentration whereas Tiago wouldn't.''

Burgess, who first worked with Monteiro at Carlin Motorsport in the Formula Nissan World Series in 2004, also explained why Karthikeyan was always faster than the Portuguese driver in the qualifying.

''He (Monteiro) likes to get some miles under his belt before he goes all out, while Narain got in the car and went quick straight away, because that was his style.

"But you also knew that as soon as it came to the first race, over a full hour and a half, (Narain) couldn't drive every single lap like a qualifying lap!

''Gradually, during the year, the pair crossed over in terms of performance. Tiago uses the data, understands the data very well, and he learned from Narain at a fairly good rate. At the end of the year, he was obviously a match for him,'' Burgess opined.

Clearly impressed by Monteiro, he said, ''Last year, he did exactly what I thought he would do, having seen him earn Rookie of the Year honours in the World Series. He works very well with the team and the engineers.''He's a real professional, one of the hardest working drivers that I've worked with. I've seen people like Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard when I was at McLaren, and in terms of effort, he's right up there,'' Burgess added.