India was left celebrating its best-ever finish in A1GP in last weekend's finale at Brands Hatch, as Narain Karthikeyan led the squad to fourth place in the feature race, a mere hair's breadth away from a spot on the podium.

The former grand prix ace and current Williams Formula 1 tester built up to the result with a fifth-place qualifying run that he converted into a battling seventh position in the shorter sprint outing. An early pit-stop helped leapfrog Karthikeyan up to fourth in the feature, but despite applying sustained pressure on Enrico Toccacelo ahead, the 30-year-old was unable to find a way past, and would remain in the Italian's wheeltracks all the way to the chequered flag.

"We had the pace for third," Karthikeyan reflected afterwards, "and it would have been great to get a podium in the last race of the season, but we have to be happy with fourth. It's very difficult to pass here; apart from Druids there really isn't enough room. When I closed up on Italy I started suffering from understeer which made it difficult to stay close, but it was a decent result and that's good for the future."

The Indian's fourth place more than doubled the nation's points score in one fell swoop, and hoisted them above Portugal, Brazil and Ireland into 16th spot in the end-of-season title chase. Team seat holder Yohann Setna felt the late surge was positive for the squad's future in the series.

"I'm pleased with the result," he enthused. "Fourth is India's best-ever finish, but I'm sad to have missed out on a podium. We believe Italy pitted after the safety car was called, but there isn't much we can do about that.

"We'll get a podium in five months time when the new season starts in Zandvoort. It motivates us to work hard over the summer and get things sorted, do the pre-season testing and come back even stronger next season."

 

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