Tag Archives: Karun Chandhok

ROC

Race Of Champions Indian winners

TEAM INDIA TRIUMPH IN ROC ASIA

  • Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok took Team India to glory in the first ever ROC Asia competition in Bangkok tonight
  • The Indian driver pairing defeated Toyota Team Gazoo Japan’s Kazuya Ohshima and Takuto Iguchi in the final
  • Nattavude Charoensukawattana earlier defeated Tin Sritrai in the final of ROC Thailand, a four-way shootout to find the host nation’s fastest driver

Team India’s Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok are celebrating tonight after they took glory in the inaugural ROC Asia competition, the first night of action of the 2012 Race Of Champions weekend.

On a hot evening at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium, Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok joined forces for Team India as both made their ROC debuts. The Indian duo topped the group stage with four wins out of six to go into the final as favourites.

There they faced Toyota Team Gazoo Japan, who were represented by Kazuya Ohshima and Takuto Iguchi, who were both class winners in this year’s Nürburgring 24-Hour race. In the end the Indian duo prevailed, both winning their heats to take the title.

Chandhok said: “That was a really good night and it was obviously very nice to end up on top. It wasn’t as straightforward as we would have hoped as we both had our favourite cars and we ended up driving the opposite ones to what we wanted. But it worked out well in the end. It was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed our first experience of competing here. In the end I think we beat everyone fair and square. That’s what the Race Of Champions all about – same cars, same track, same conditions. It’s a bit of history for Team India to win the first ROC Asia. That’s obviously very special. Now we start from scratch again tomorrow.”

Karthikeyan added: “This is the first time at the Race Of Champions for both myself and Karun and I’ve really enjoyed this event so far. It’s a unique format and it’s pretty tight and narrow out there. So it was a challenge to put a precise lap together in any of the cars. But it’s just about getting the best out of each car. You need to adapt very quickly without any mistakes as you need a clean lap. We’re happy to come out on top, now we can look forward to the rest of the event. We’re up for the challenge and we’ll take on the world tomorrow!”

The performance earns Team India a place in tomorrow’s ROC Nations Cup along with Team Thailand, who qualify as host nation. The home team were unlucky not to make it through to the final after they took three wins in the group stage, the same as finalists Toyota Team Gazoo Japan. 2010 Supercar Thailand Champ Nattavude Charoensukawattana and touring car ace Tin Sritrai both thrilled their home crowd with victories but they missed out on the countback of the fastest times.

Team China paired F1 test driver Ho-Pin Tung with rally ace Han Han, better known as the world’s most widely-read blogger. The Chinese pair already had Race Of Champions experience as they competed in the 2009 event at Beijing’s ‘Bird’s Nest’ Olympic Stadium, getting as far as the semi-finals of the ROC Nations Cup. But there was no repeat this time as they were knocked out despite taking one win apiece.

Friday’s action began with ROC Thailand, a four-way battle between drivers from the host country. The competition started with a group stage involving Charoensukawattana, Sritrai, Nattapon Horthongkum and drift guru Sak ‘Kiki’ Nana.

Charoensukawattana and Sritrai progressed to the final, with 49-year-old Bangkok resident Charoensukawattana coming out on top. Those results earned both finalists the honour of representing Team Thailand in ROC Asia along with Saturday’s ROC Nations Cup and Sunday’s individual Race Of Champions.

Charoensukawattana said: “It was a great race today and I would like to thank all my fans because their support was powerful. My experience helped but what was most important was that I didn’t make any mistakes. This is the first time we’ve had this event in Thailand and I hope it will come back next year too. If I have another opportunity next year I will definitely come here again.”

ROC 2012 continues in Bangkok for the rest of the weekend with a dazzling line-up of motor sport stars including Formula 1 world champions Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel plus MotoGP world champions Mick Doohan and Jorge Lorenzo.

 

WEC

JRM RACING TAKES POLE IN PRIVATEER CLASS FOR SIX HOURS OF SHANGHAI

27 October 2012 – JRM Racing will start the Six Hours of Shanghai, the eighth and final round of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship, from pole position in class and fourth overall on the grid. This is the team’s first-ever pole in the championship and best qualifying result of the season. Karun Chandhok, the only of the three JRM Racing drivers with previous experience of the Shanghai International Circuit, was out in the #22 and set a fastest time of 1:51.003.
The result came after a slow start to the day for Karun. The rain and a red flag early in the session meant he had to wait before going out on track for the first time this morning. As a result he only completed 10 laps to check out the cold and slippery Shanghai track and prepare for the decisive qualifying session. In the end it made little difference as the Indian secured pole by 0.016 over the #12 Rebellion.
Tomorrow’s race will be the first time Shanghai hosts an FIA World Endurance Championship round and it will also mark the end of the 2012 championship.
Karun Chandhok:
I’m absolutely thrilled with today’s result. It’s the first time we’ve finished as the fastest privateer car and it’s a great feeling as we have promised it for so long. We know tomorrow won’t be easy, as we are all very close here, but we can be very happy with what we achieved today. I think we have improved massively during the season and it’s good to be starting ahead of our main rivals. Tomorrow’s race will be tough as the Strakka and Rebellion guys are very strong. The team is working hard and doing an excellent job, and results like today’s gives a confidence boost for tomorrow.
Nigel Stepney, team manager and chief engineer:
A fantastic day for the team. Karun did an excellent job in qualifying and this result shows how the team has come forward since the beginning of the year. This is our best result of the season and even though qualifying is not major for an endurance race, it gives the team a boost and is important for the morale. For sure it will help us tomorrow as we only have the Audis and the Toyota in front of us and it makes it easier to have a clean start, staying out of trouble. Now we look forward to tomorrow and hope that this is just the start of an excellent weekend in Shanghai.
James Rumsey, team principal:
I’m very happy for the team, to be on pole position is a great result. Tomorrow we will start the race at the clear end of the track and we won’t have traffic on the first few laps… I’m already looking forward to it. It’s been a hard season getting up to speed, so it’s nice to be finishing the season on the sharp end. We knew we had the potential to achieve these positive results, it was just a matter of time. After being on the podium for the first time in Japan two weeks ago, I hope tomorrow we can do it again and end the season on a high.

WEC

JRM RACING CONTINUES ITS CHAMPIONSHIP CHALLENGE AT FUJI SPEEDWAY

JRM Racing continues its debut FIA World Endurance Championship campaign this weekend in Fuji, Japan. Just two weeks after the inaugural WEC race in Bahrain, the British-based team travels to the classic Japanese track at the foot of Mount Fuji for the penultimate event of the series. The Six Hours of Fuji will take place on Sunday 14 October and JRM will be looking to finally deliver on the promise it has shown throughout the championship. The team, which is currently third in the privateers’ title race, is hoping that its history of competing in Japan, driver Peter Dumbreck’s extensive experience at Fuji and the support of the local crowd will help it realize its potential.
 
Throughout the six races held so far this year, JRM’s Honda HPD ARX-03a LMP1 car has demonstrated good pace, but luck has evaded the team since its unprecedented sixth overall in its first-ever 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. Now revitalized after a detailed analysis of the issues, JRM is optimistic of finally securing the result to consolidate the team’s ongoing efforts.
 
Team principal, James Rumsey, commented, ‘We’ve shown some serious potential this year, with fastest times in practice, good strategy calls and a formidable driver line-up that is gelling well. Unfortunately, however, we’ve had a few technical issues that meant we couldn’t realize that potential. That’s the pitfall of being a new team; no one gives you a manual of what to do – we are learning on the job. We’ll go to Fuji now with the additional information from Bahrain and Brazil and try to finish the year on a high. Getting a good result in Japan would be fantastic as JRM has strong links with the country through our ties with Nissan Motorsport and the GT championship, plus Peter has an established fan base after his years of racing there. We hope the local support will cheer us to the finish line.’
 
Team manager and chief engineer, Nigel Stepney, added, ‘After Bahrain and Brazil we worked closely with HPD to understand what went wrong in the races. We’ve traced the issues and we have the test day at Fuji on the Wednesday before the race, which will be a good opportunity to evaluate the countermeasures we have put in place. Fuji is a difficult track, with undulation changes and that long pit straight, so we will also use the opportunity to fine-tune the set-up and get a handle on tyre wear so we can hit the ground running on Friday practice and then in qualifying. It’s a great chance as well for David and Karun to learn the track, although Peter knows Fuji well, which will be a massive help for the team in advancing our programme. ’
 
Peter Dumbreck has spent several seasons racing in Japan, first in 1998 and 1999 in Japanese Formula 3 and Formula Nippon and then from 2005 to 2009 in Super GT. During this time he commuted between the UK and his base in Gotemba, located just a few miles from Fuji Speedway. The Scot added, ‘I’ve spent six seasons racing in various categories in Japan. I’m looking forward to make my first trip back in four years after seasons in European GT and now the WEC. Fuji is actually one of my favourite circuits so I hope to step up and help achieve a good result for JRM and my team-mates. There is some tremendous support for motorsport in Japan so it will be good to see the same faces that I’ve seen over the years of racing.’
 
David Brabham has raced in Japan before and eagerly anticipates his return to the land of the rising sun, ‘It has been a long time since I was in Japan, but I have fond memories racing there and really look forward to racing at Fuji. I won the All Japan GT500 series in 1996 and I hope to see some old friends. It will be another close battle for the privateers, but we have to step up and produce a better performance to date, which we will work hard to do.’
 

Karun Chandhok meanwhile makes his first trip to Fuji, the first time he will have raced on Japanese soil, although he is no stranger to Japan. ‘This will be the first time I’m going to race in Japan, which should be interesting. I did the Friday free practice session last year for Team Lotus at Suzuka, but Fuji will be a new experience altogether. My visit last year was the first time I’ve been to Japan and I absolutely loved the country, the culture and the passion for motorsport there. The JRM team and my team-mate Peter Dumbreck have a strong history with Japanese motorsport so I hope we can get a good result for everyone there. In the last couple races we’ve been in pretty good shape in the races only for some reliability issues to make a mess of the result. I know Nigel and the team have been working very hard to get on top of that and the extra day of testing in Fuji will hopefully help us a bit more.

WEC

JRM Racing qualifies P3 in privateers’ class in Bahrain…
 
JRM Racing will start the inaugural Six Hours of Bahrain, the sixth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, from third in class and sixth on the grid. The HPD ARX 03a was driven by Karun Chandhok for the 20 minute session, with the Indian recording a best time of 1:48.784 on his third lap on track. Yet again the privateer class was fiercely fought, with Karun pipped by just 0.3secs on the last lap by Strakka Racing for second in class.
 
The team will now complete its final preparations for the inaugural World Endurance Championship race in the Middle East tomorrow. Six hours of racing round the 5.4km Bahrain International Circuit will kick off at 16.00 local time, with the race starting in sunshine and finishing well into the hours of darkness. JRM Racing will seek to regain ground in the privateers’ championship, in which it is currently third, only six points adrift of second-placed Strakka.  
 
Karun Chandhok:
After practice this morning we thought we were around 0.4secs from Strakka over one lap and in the end we were a little under that. We have chipped away at them all weekend, so we can be quite happy. The gap to the Rebellion is larger than we would have hoped for – it looks like they changed their car for more top speed in qualifying – but if we look at the pace and fuel consumption from Sao Paulo I am optimistic we can match them again in the race.
 
Nigel Stepney, team manager and chief engineer:
That was a reasonable session. We aimed to have a day without incident and that’s exactly what we had, which allows us to fully focus on the race tomorrow. All three drivers took part in the final hour of practice this morning, with Karun setting up the car very well for qualifying. We’ll now look at the information we’ve gathered and combine with the data we have on tyre wear and see what we can do in the race. The challenge will be to manage the tyres; the surface is very abrasive here to compensate for the sand on track so getting the tyre wear correct – and matched with fuel consumption – will be key to a good result.
 
James Rumsey, team principal:
We can be quite happy with P6 on the grid and third in class today. We are close to the other privateers, which bodes very well for a close fight tomorrow. Getting everything right and putting performance, reliability and strategy together in the race is our aim so we can deliver the result we have been aiming for – and promising – since Silverstone.

WEC

Q&A with Nigel Stepney…
 
JRM Racing conducted two days of testing at Aragon, Spain, on Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 August as it prepares for its home race at Silverstone next week. After finishing sixth at Le Mans on its 24 hour racing debut, this test was crucial in keeping the momentum going as the team bids to take the lead of the FIA World Endurance Championship standings.
 
We caught up with team manager Nigel Stepney to get some details of the test and a look forward to the coming races.
 
You’ve just had two days of testing at Aragon, what was the aim of this test?
It’s been almost two months since the Le Mans 24 Hours and, although we’ve not exactly been idle, it’s a long time not to have been out racing and working together as a crew. The first morning was really about getting everyone – drivers and the mechanics – back up to speed. David and Peter had been to Aragon before, but it was new for Karun so he had a particularly steep learning curve.
 
How did the test go?
Really good actually. It was our first two day test with the car as we only got the car together in time for the Sebring race and then had one day of testing post Spa. It was very positive on the whole; we didn’t have any issues and were able to do a lot of running and get all the drivers in the car on both days. All three drivers went out in the car in the first part of the day on Tuesday to get back into the feel of it and then we built up from there. We did over 800km, with each driver getting some good time in the car. We looked at understanding the tyre behaviour at very high temperatures. Michelin brought along the medium development tyre, which will be introduced in Bahrain later this year. With a track temperature of over 50 deg C it’s a good warm up for this hot race – we won’t see conditions like this in Silverstone or Brazil!
 
It’s been a long time since Le Mans; what did the team do between two races?
The car was returned to our workshop in Rye the following week and almost immediately taken to a couple of media commitments, including the Sky F1 Show. It was then stripped back down and checked over before the parts were analysed thoroughly, cleaned and repaired where necessary. The build up to Le Mans was quite tough as we didn’t have a long time from the Spa race and then it was into the pre-Le Mans test and then the race week itself. Being such a new team – and new to the track – we had a long job list so after the race people also took the opportunity to take some time off. After we returned it was straight into the car build for the test here in Aragon, then the test itself. From here we return to our HQ and rebuild the car for Silverstone next week.
 
The team had a fantastic result at Le Mans – how difficult was it to achieve and what did it feel like to cross the line first time out?
Le Mans is one of the hardest races in the world so to finish is a massive achievement. Whether you’ve got ten years of experience or it’s your first time, getting to the end after 24 hours is a phenomenal feeling. However we’d had a really tough lead up to the event so the result was even more special. I felt really proud of the team and the drivers – it was a complete team effort.
 
Silverstone is just round the corner, what are your feelings on this?
It’s our home race and we’d all love to get a good result on home ground. All the same it’s a race we need to do well in. We are second in the standings now to Rebellion, only 24 points behind so we really need to close the gap. That’s the focus now.

24 Heures du Mans

JRM Racing finishes first Le Mans 24 Hours in sixth overall and second non-works car

JRM Racing achieved its ambitious objective today when it finished the Le Mans 24 Hours at its first attempt. The British team, led by team principal James Rumsey and team manager Nigel Stepney, passed the flag after 24 hours of hard-fought racing, 357 laps and over 4,800km in an impressive sixth place and second of the privateers’ class.

Drivers David Brabham, Peter Dumbreck and Karun Chandhok delivered faultless performances to finish the race at the team’s first attempt

David, the 2009 Le Mans winner, took the start in the team’s Honda HPD ARX-03a LM1 car and immediately gained one place from the starting slot of 11th. The Australian set a consistent pace to hold 10th position overall before handing over to Karun Chandhok just after 17:00.

Karun, who made history as the first-ever Indian to compete in the race, had a baptism of fire with an immediate quadruple stint in car #22 and had moved from P10 to P8 by the end of his time in the car. He then handed over to Peter, who started to exchange positions with the #13 Rebellion – gaining a position when the latter pitted and losing it when he himself refuelled. Peter later graduated to sixth when the #7 Toyota spent a significant amount of time in the pits.

However on lap 114 Peter had a puncture coming through the Dunlop Curves and went off into the gravel. The Scot subsequently had to negotiate almost the entire lap with a puncture, and was pulled into the garage to check for suspension damage. No major damage was found but the delay dropped the #22 back to 17th overall. During the stop David took over from Peter for his second session in the car and the fight to gain positions began.

The Australian made a charge through the LM2 cars and was back to 9th overall by the time he handed over to Karun Chandhok on lap 158. Karun soon went up to 8th and set about chasing the #44 Starworks car for 7th overall. Then, on a stop on lap 169, Karun reported a problem with the clutch and was pushed into the garage. He rejoined in 12th overall but brought the car back to the pits in 9th when he handed over to Peter just before dawn.

Peter then put in a long stint as the sun came up, completing 42 laps. When he came off shift a little after 07:30hrs the Scot had put the team back into 7th overall, clear of the LM2 cars and three laps from 6th. David took over from Peter and consolidated the sixth position before handing back to Karun for another quadruple stint.

Peter concluded the race for the #22 JRM Racing, crossing the line in an incredible sixth overall in its first Le Mans and only its third-ever endurance race.