India’s Narain Karthikeyan secured his third victory at round six of the Auto GP World Series at the Nurburgring Circuit here Saturday. Having secured his third consecutive pole Friday, Narain managed to capitalize on his advantage at the start, but faced stiff opposition from Italian GP2 driver Kevin Giovesi and his Super Nova teammate Vittorio Ghirelli.
But the Indian always seemed to have enough in hand to keep the Italian duo at bay and managed to cross the line in the top spot 23 laps later. “It feels great to win at Nurburgring – it is a historic venue and it was amazing to hear the Indian national anthem playing in front of packed grandstands,” said an elated Narain.
“We knew we had the pace to maintain the lead and once I managed to get off the line well, it was all about controlling the pace, even though Giovesi came quite close at times.” After leading from the start and opening up a nearly two second gap, Narain pitted on lap 18 for the mandatory tyre change, and the Super Nova crew executed a near-perfect pit-stop to ensure that he maintained his advantage.
“I was praying for decent stop as I haven’t had the best luck in the pits this year, but the guys really nailed it this time.” The victory, along with one point for Friday’s pole position has taken Narain’s points tally to 122 points in the championship, which means he is 17 points behind third placed Ghirelli.
“We are closing the gap to the leaders but we need some solid points tomorrow as well to make further progress. Starting eighth (as per reversed grid) it won’t be easy but I will try to keep my nose clean and finish as far up ahead as possible,” Narain said of race two Sunday.