Narain Karthikeyan wins the podium in the Autobacs Super GT series
MURATA (Japan): India Narain Karthikeyan on Sunday he dominated the difficult weather conditions in a circuit of Sportsland Sugo soaked in the rain to secure his inaugural podium in the Autobacs Super GT series .
Narain, who is currently competing in the Japanese Super GT championship, drove Module # 64 Nakajima Racing Honda NSX-GT and make an impressive display of speed and precision in the very narrow and fast circuit to ensure second place on the podium.
Karthikeyan first showed the potential of a podium when he set the third fastest time in Saturday's practice, less than four tenths of first place.
Later on Saturday, Karthikeyan set a blistering lap time of 1m10.799s to secure Nakajima Racing 's best qualifying result of the season in sixth.
When the race started in the middle of a light rain, Karthikeyan quickly left the line, making several positions to run early fourth.
Contact with LeMans Lexus de Kazuya Oshima He threw Karthikeyan back and followed the order, but the former Formula 1 Ace and Super Formula quickly recovered and faced lap 28 of 81.
During the pit stop, the Nakajima team chose to screw a different compound of Dunlop wet tires as weather conditions worsened.
The choice of tires turned out to be a master stroke and they were able to quickly raise order, replicating Karthikeyan's early race load.
They beat several cars in the process, even surpassing Honda, winner of last year's championship. Jenson button , while the Dunlop tires on his Nakajima Honda glowed in the wet.
Makino and Karthikeyan finally ended up being the best Honda racers in second place, just behind the Nissan of Frederic Makowiecki and Kohei Hirate.
It was an exciting race, said an elated Karthikeyan after picking up the second place trophy.
We started P6 and after a few laps we were fighting with the championship leader (Oshima) for P4. He tried to overtake me and hit my forehead in battle, which spun me around and pushed me towards P7.
"Then after the first pitstop we shifted to full wet tyres and the tyres started working really well. We worked our way upto P2 overtaking the car shred by Jenson button , Heikki Kovalainen [SARD Lexus] and the championship leader.
The Dunlop tires were working extremely well with our Nakajima Honda NSX and everything joined in the end for a great result. We will go to the next race at the same pace and hope to have a good end of the season.
Moreover, Karthikeyan's impressive performance helped Nakajima Racing secure its first podium finish since the team won the last-ever running of the prestigious Suzuka 1000km in 2017.
After his Sugo podium, Karthikeyan will return to action in the decisive of the season at Motegi in November.