Narain Karthikeyan claims maiden Auto GP victory

Silverstone, June 2 (IANS) India’s top driver Narain Karthikeyan recorded his maiden Auto GP victory after leader Kevin Giovesi was given a one-minute post race penalty at the Silverstone Circuit here Saturday.

Ghinzai Motosport’s Giovesi was penalised for pitting on lap 14, the last lap of race one in round four of the series.

The Auto GP regulations allow the drivers to take their mandatory pitstops only between lap three and penultimate lap.

Therefore, Karthikeyan was elevated to the top of the podium.

It was an ideal start for the former Formula 1 driver with his new team, Super Nova, who were champions in the 2012 Auto GP season.

“Finally a win has come my way. The car felt great during qualifying and practice and we carried the pace into the race. I was leading the pack for most of the race until Giovesi got ahead towards the end. But he made an error by pitting on the final lap,” Karthikeyan told IANS.

The Indian will start race two Sunday in eighth place on the reverse grid. The win has pushed Karthikeyan to fourth in the standings with 59 points.

Friday, Karthikeyan claimed pole position clocking 1:46.286 ahead of newcomer Giovesi and Super Nova teammate Vittorio Ghirelli in the qualifying.

Karthikeyan drove for Zele Racing in the first three rounds of 2013 before securing a last minute deal at Super Nova.

The 36-year-old scored 34 points in the opening six races while driving for Zele with luck getting the better of him on occasions where he could have pushed for a podium.

Asked why he left Zele, Karthikeyan told IANS: “I was not happy with the reliability of the car. There were times I was in the reckoning for top three but something or the other went wrong.”

A botched pit stop cost the Indian a podium in the last round at Hungaroring.

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