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  • Narain Karthikeyan Flies To Front Row At Suzuka In Super Formula Debut

    Published on April 13, 2014

    Suzuka Circuit : Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan kicked off his 2014 Super Formula campaign on a strong note by qualifying second on the first race weekend of the season.

    The completely revamped Super Formula series (erstwhile known as Formula Nippon) has switched to a new Dallara SF14 chassis this year; powered by two-litre, From left - Narain Karthikeyan, Andre Lotterer, Kazuki Nakajima_S550 bhp turbocharged engines – similar to the new 2014 F1 regulations.

    Driving for Team Impul Hoshino Racing, Narain, backed by the Tata Sons and Tata Motors,qualified merely a tenth behind 24-hour Le Mans winner and World Endurance champion André Lotterer of Team Tom’s Toyota.

    “It is incredible to qualify on the front row on  the first weekend of the season, considering the competition. We managed to improve bit by bit over the weekend and hopefully will be in a good place for the race”, said Karthikeyan.

    Former Force India reserve driver James Rossiter was fourth while 2010 series champion and Narain’s Team Impul teammate João Paulo de Oliveira qualified fifth.

    Like Formula 1, Super Formula features a knockout-based qualifying format with Q1, Q2 & Q3 sessions determining the final grid for the 43-lap, 250km long race on Sunday.

    Karthikeyan was consistently in the top five during the practice sessions and managed to make a considerable step forward in qualifying to get closer to the front-running Tom’s Toyota factory team.

    “The Tom’s drivers (Lotterer and Nakajima) have been in a class of their own throughout the weekend so splitting them is incredibly satisfying. Just four-tenths cover the top five so it very close at the front”, the Indian remarked.

    The first race of the season is set to be a step into the unknown, considering the drivers will have contend with a new launch system, with clutch on the steering (like Formula 1)– fuel loads and tyre degradation being other critical factors.

    “The car is amazing, great to drive and it will be a long race with pitstops for fuel and tyres, so quite a bit of strategy is involved. We hope that everything goes to plan and come away with a strong result on the first weekend of the season”, said Narain.

    2014 Super Formula, Round 1, Suzuka Circuit

    Qualifying results:

    Position              Driver                         Laptime                    

    1                            André Lotterer                        1’37.022
    2                            Narain Karthikeyan   1’37.148
    3                            Kazuki Nakajima         1’37.159
    4                            James Rossiter                        1’37.284
    5                            J P De Oliveira            1’37.399
    6                            Hiroaki Ishiura            1’37.404
    7                            Loic Duval                   1’37.543
    8                            Tomoki Nojiri              1’39.380
    9                            Naoki Yamamoto        1’38.086
    10                          Hideki Mutoh              1’38.108
    11                          Ryo Hirakawa              1’38.127
    12                          Yuji Kunimoto              1’38.223
    13                          Yuichi Nakayama        1’38.260
    14                          Koudai Tsukakoshi       1’38.509
    15                          Vitantonio Liuzzi          1’38.908
    16                          Takashi Kogure           1’39.063
    17                          Yuhki Nakayama         1’39.109
    18                          Daisuke Nakajima       1’39.113
    19                          Koki Saga                     1’39.615

    2014 Super Formula Calendar

    April 13                       Suzuka Circuit
    May 18                        Fuji Speedway
    TBA                             Korea
    July 13                         Fuji Speedway
    Aug 24                        Twin Ring Motegi
    Sept 14                       Autopolis
    Sept 28                       Sportsland Sugo
    Nov 9                          Suzuka Circuit

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    Super Formula 2014 specs

    Chassis:                       Dallara SF14
    Engine:                        2.0-litre turbo with Hybrid system

    Power:                        550bhp
    Weight:                       650kg (inclusive of driver)
    Gearbox:                     Ricardo six-speed paddle shift
    Brakes:                        Brembo

    Tyres                         Bridgestone

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