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Karun 2nd after Round 3

Calcutta: Finally, the new kid on Indiaís racing block seems to be coming of age. He is still far away from the Formula One category, he has not even had any tests on any of those snazzy racers yet, but Karun Chandhok has at least gone out and made himself seen and heard on the British Formula III (Scholarship class) circuit.

At the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk Sunday, Karun followed up his win and runner-up spots in Rounds 1 and 2 of the championship Donington Park with a strong second position in Round 3 of the British Formula 3 championship, according to information reaching here. Having led after the first race, which he won, Karun is now in second position in the championship.

Through an Easter crowd in the 1.9-mile circuit, where average speeds over a lap exceed 175 kmph, Chandhok and the T-Sport team moved in as the championship leaders. It is the Scholarship class alright, and there is way to go before the real tests come, but the cars arenít too different, except for the electronic systems. If anything, these cars offer an extra bouquet of risk to the driver.

The opening two days of the weekend proved just how hard Formula III can be. In Karunís words: ďI have always gone well at Snetterton, and last year it was one of my strongest circuits. I think I relaxed a little bit before the weekend and during testing and qualifying I got a pretty good idea of how difficult racing at the top level is if you back off just that little bit.Ē He ended the qualifying sessions with a fourth and sixth position on the grid.

The former Asian Formula 2000 and Indian National Racing champion lost nothing in verve and determination. He knew he just had to dig in there to hold onto his position in the championship.

ďAt the start, in Race 1, my teammate Steven Kane stalled which meant that all of us behind him bunched up and I couldnít see the lights so I completely missed the start. There was total carnage all through the race, with cars going off all over the place. Iíve learnt from last year that points is the name of the game and my priority was to finish purely from that point of view.Ē

Karun pushed steadily ahead and finished the 20 lap race in second place to score his third consecutive podium of the season.

The second race was always going to be harder work from a lower starting position, but the Chennai-born driver fought hard with Justin Sherwood all through the race and finally got through around the outside to finish fourth.

The JK Tyre-sponsored Karunís team principal Russell Eacott said: ďKarun redeemed himself a bit for qualifying. He knows more than anyone else now that to win championships where you canít afford to have an off day.Ē Eacott is Karunís optimistic guide.

The next two rounds of the championship are at Croft in Yorkshire on May 4.

RESULTS

First Race: 1. Ernesto Viso 30:38.121s; 2. Karun Chandhok +3.9s; 3.Justin Sherwood + 14.4s. Second Race: 1. Steven Kane 36:39.545s; 2. Ernesto Viso + 3.2s; 3. Ivor McCullough + 3.4s.

Championship position

1. Steven Kane 65 points; 2. Karun Chandhok 60 points; 3. Justin Sherwood 38; 4. Ernesto Viso 35.

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