14 October 2013
Chandhok, Karthikeyan re-unite for RoC
Former F1 pilots Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan will again carry the Indian flag at the 2013 Race of Champions.
Former F1 pilots Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan will renew their partnership as India enters the Race of Champions for the second time at Bangkok's Rajamangala Stadium on the weekend of 14-15 December.
Chandhok and Karthikeyan are the only Indian drivers ever to have competed in F1 and both have extensive racing pedigrees elsewhere, with Chandhok a race-winner in GP2 before his grand prix career and emerging in endurance racing - with strong finishes in the last two Le Mans 24-Hour races - since. Karthikeyan, meanwhile, has taken victories in everything from British F3 to A1GP and Superleague Formula, before enjoying considerable success this year in AutoGP including a haul of five wins.
The two drivers joined forces for Team India at last year's inaugural RoC Asia, and duly topped the group stages with four wins out of six against their competitors from China, Japan and host nation Thailand before defeating the Japanese duo in the final to take the title. That performance has now earned Chandhok and Karthikeyan an invitation to return to the scene of their triumph in Bangkok for RoC 2013.
“I'm very excited to be going back to Bangkok for the Race of Champions,” Chandhok commented, “Narain and I had a great time together last year and it was fantastic to be the first ROC Asia winners. ROC is a unique event from a competitive and social perspective and it's something that every driver looks forward to. It was really nice to drive such a variety of cars and we both have more experience this year and know a bit more about how it all works. The chance to spend time with such a great mix of drivers from a huge variety of championships around the world is a lot of fun and I hope we once again get a good crowd at the stadium.”
Held every year since 1988, the Race of Champions brings together some of the world's best drivers from motorsport's main disciplines – including F1, WRC, Le Mans, MotoGP, NASCAR, IndyCar, Touring Cars and the X-Games – before pitting them head-to-head in identical machinery.
“It will be a great privilege to represent India again at the Race of Champions,” Karthikeyan admitted, “We had a great time at our first attempt when we won RoC Asia, but it is always a challenge to jump into different cars and adapt quickly.
“However, with the experience of the 2012 event behind us, we feel more confident and better prepared this time. As always, going head-to-head with world champions like Michael Schumacher and Sébastian Ogier is something we're looking forward to.”
Seven-time F1 world champion Schumacher, new WRC king Ogier and nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen have already signed up, with the rest of the 2013 field to be announced in the run-up to December's event.
“We're really happy to have Karun and Narain back at the Race of Champions again,” race organiser Fredrik Johnsson said, “They raced very well last year on their way to victory in RoC Asia and their performance generated plenty of headlines among the burgeoning ranks of motorsport fans in India. We hope to see many of their fellow countrymen making the short trip to Bangkok this time to cheer them on.”
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