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2011-10-31 09:00

INDIAN GP DEBUT: Narain Karthikeyan made an appearance the inaugural Indian F1 GP.


NOIDA, India - Narain Karthikeyan made his point in his home Indian F1 GPx on Sunday, October 30, 2011, even if he never came close to scoring one.

The 34-year-old Chennai-born driver replaced HRT regular Vitantonio Liuzzi for his country's inaugural GP and finished 17th and ahead of team mate Daniel Ricciardo at the Buddh International Circuit.

"I think I have shown everybody that I can run as competitively as my team mate, who is highly rated," Karthikeyan said of the Australian, who was 18th for the struggling team.

India's first F1 driver has scored points in the past, in 2005 when there were only six cars in that year's US GP, and was optimistic of being able to fight again in the future.

"I have beaten him (Ricciardo) in the race, so we will try and stay in F1 for a couple of years," he told reporters. "For me, finishing the race meant a lot. I'm very happy to have done what I have done.

"The goal was to finish, I could not do more. We got a little bit better than what we hoped for," he said.


No less pleased was Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya after Adrian Sutil's ninth earned the team a couple of points from their first home race.

"We targeted points and that's what we delivered with Adrian's excellent ninth," Mallya said. "The two points are important for our championship battle and I'm delighted that Force India will go down in the record books for scoring points in the inaugural Indian GP."

Paul di Resta, the other Force India driver, was 13th.

"He performed well but we went very aggressive with the strategy to cover the chance of a safety car. In the end it didn't work out but we needed to cover our bases," Mallya added.

His team is sixth in the Constructors' championship.


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