Narain in fine start

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 1.03.05

Melbourne, March 4 (Agencies): After waiting years to get a start in Formula One, it was no surprise that Narain Karthikeyan was in a hurry to get on the track for practice at the Australian Grand Prix today.

When the lights signalled the start of the first session for the new season, Karthikeyan roared out of the pit lane in his gleaming yellow Jordan and set off around the twisting Albert Park circuit for the ride of a lifetime.

The only problem for the 28-year-old was that his hasty exit was a little too quick for the officials. He was clocked leaving the pit lane at 86.2 km/h ? exceeding the allowable speed limit of 80 km/h. Found guilty of speeding, race stewards fined him $6,750.

?I was pushing very hard,? Karthikeyan said. ?Now I just need to calm down a bit because I was under pressure to perform.?

The Formula One debutant managed just six laps in the first 60-minute session when an oil leak forced him back to the team garage.

The problem was fixed and he completed another 29 laps in the second session, setting the 19th fastest time overall.

?After resolving Narain?s oil leak, everything went smoothly,? Jordan sporting director Trevor Carlin said. ?We are very happy with the progress he?s making.?

Karthikeyan said it was ?possibly a technical problem. ?The team is investigating currently why I was reported by the speed-trap cameras as speeding in the pit lane.?

?After that, in the afternoon during the second practice session, I continued pushing very hard on the advice of my engineers. I completed 29 laps with a time of 1:28.168. I am still in my learning curve and I try to do my best and to avoid errors and mistakes,? he added.

Karthikeyan has been faster than both his teammates ? Robert Doornbos who came 20th with 1:28.620 (30 laps) and Tiago Monteiro who came 22nd with 1:29.671 and completed 23 laps.