After a commendable 15th place finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Narain Karthikeyan is banking on his past experience and the heavens to open up for another good race as the F1 World Championship 2005 draws to a close.
The Japanese Grand Prix, the penultimate leg of the championship, gives the Indian another opportunity to make a mark in his debut year on the circuit.
"I hope I will have another good race in Japan," said Narain who arrived in Suzuka Wednesday evening after spending some time in his home town Coimbatore.
"All drivers love the track here. I have competed in the Japanese Championship and like the place. My experience is that any handling problem will cost you a lot of time on this track, in particular the speed in the esses at the start of the lap are crucially important," the Jordan driver said.
"Just like in Brazil, I am calling for rain here. I hope this time, I'll be heard in time. In Brazil, the rain came two minutes after the chequered flag dropped. That was too late for our Bridgestone tyres. But yesterday, I got so wet. We had a good sample of Japanese rain. The weather forecast is 60 per cent rain for tomorrow and also not good for the week-end!"
Eager to refresh his memory and do his first walk around the track, Narain headed straight to Suzuka on Wednesday with his Team Jordan Grand Prix track engineers.
"In general, Suzuka is an amazing track. It is one of the most beautiful that we have on the Grand Prix calendar. I love it here," said Narain.
"Everywhere the driver needs a car that changes direction quickly and precisely. It is difficult to get a rhythm but when you do a good lap at Suzuka it feels really, really good. I like racing in Japan, and since it's one of the last races of the year, this always adds to the excitement," Narain said.
The Jordan driver said the Suzuka circuit was hard on the tyres on account of the number of corners it had. "Due to high number of corners, Suzuka is very hard on the tyres. Despite a smooth track, it is slightly bumpy in certain areas.
"Indeed, the tyre degradation could be decisive in the race pace. That's another reason why you need good handling balance, to preserve the tyres as much as you possibly can."
The Suzuka is a real driver's circuit. It is an old, narrow track with a lot of medium and high-speed corners and very little run-off area where a small driving error could mean the end of the race.
Narain admitted the track would be demanding but said he was up for it.
"For the drivers it is demanding on the physical side as the corner density is one of the highest of the season, but I am fit as usual."
The teams need a lot of technical preparation from an engineering point of view, given the nature of the track with its unique figure of eight configuration.
Unlike Monza, all the grand-stand seats have been sold out on this track and a record crowd of 100,000 is expected to come on Sunday and cheer for either their favourite teams -- Toyota and Honda, or Japanese Bridgestone tyre-maker or local driver Takuma Sato.
Team Jordan's third driver Sakon Yamamoto, would also be driving in front of his home crowd.