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Rediff.com  » Sports » Narain to focus on Monza finish

Narain to focus on Monza finish

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September 01, 2005 21:43 IST

Narain Karthikeyan, who will not be driving the new Jordan in the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, Italy this Sunday, said he would concentrate on finishing the race to see the difference between the old and new cars.

He also said he would not take Friday's free practice easy and instead would use it to prepare his vehicle for race day.

"I would like to finish the Monza race and it will be interesting to see the difference between our two cars," Karthikeyan said.

"After driving last week, I am ready for at least 60 laps for the qualifying practice to prepare for the qualifying session and the race here. I hope I'll have a less miserable weekend than in Turkey, where I had only 20 laps or less on the track to prepare the car for race day," he said.

The 28-year-old Indian arrived on Thursday at the historic Monza circuit, near Milan, for the 15th race of this Formula One season after a three-day test of almost 1400 kilometres with the new EJ15B, on one of the fastest tracks for the team at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.

The four drivers of the team -- Karthikeyan, Tiago Monteiro, Nicolas Kiesa and Nicky Pastorelli – all contributed to the programme.

"I am brave and crazy for sure; the Italian Grand Prix is known for the highest average and top speeds of the season. In Monza a fast lap time requires very high straight-line speeds and therefore low drag and hence a low downforce configuration," Karthikeyan said.

Karthikeyan said it would be a challenge to drive on the circuit what with increased competition within the team from Tiago Monteiro, who will be driving the new, modified EJ15B car, but added it was quite encouraging to see that his team had been able to close the time gap with other teams.

"I really like the fast and quick corners on this track as opposed to slower tracks. At the first of the chicanes, in the first corner, we have to brake from speeds as high as 360 km/h to 80 in just over three seconds.

"To be fast in the chicanes, excellent kerb riding and traction are required. I will drive the new car later in the season, as soon as it's finished building. I have seen during the tests that we have closed the gap with the bigger teams and this is very encouraging," he said.

"Of course, as there is only one new car and I cannot drive the new car at Monza, I'll do my best with the old car.

"Even if I am not driving the new EJ15B I will try to do my best with what I have. I like Monza a lot and I hope to do well," he added.

Karthikeyan also said the track would be a real test for the efficiency of engines and brakes of the cars.

"One thing is sure, this circuit is very hard on engines, so that will be an interesting race for all drivers and teams. It follows that the brakes take a lot of punishment here, too, as all that speed has to be shed at the chicanes.

So brake efficiency and handling stability are extremely important. To be fast in the chicanes, excellent kerb riding and traction are required," he said.

Karthikeyan has a special guest for the Monza week-end: "I thought it would be nice for my friend Aditiya Mittal (Mittal Steel) to be my guest in Monza as he celebrates his birthday on Saturday."

Agnes Carlier
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