Narain, Karun set for Champions Asia race

Bangkok, Dec 13: Drivers from all over Asia have assembled here for the Race Of Champions Asia and Thailand to be held here Friday, ahead of the ROC Nations Cup Saturday and the individual ROC Sunday.

The two most populous nations on Earth are represented by India’s Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok and China’s Ho-Pin Tung and Han Han.

The racing begins with a four-way shootout between the host nation’s finest drivers to decide who will represent Team Thailand.

Many of Asia’s top drivers have gathered at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium for ROC Asia and ROC Thailand, the opening events of this weekend’s Race Of Champions 2012.

The Race Of Champions, which is being staged for the 25th consecutive year, brings together the World’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s main disciplines – including Formula 1, World Rally, touring cars, Le Mans, MotoGP, IndyCar and the X-Games – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery.

A dazzling line-up of international superstars will compete in Saturday’s ROC Nations Cup and Sunday’s individual Race Of Champions. They include multiple F1 World champions Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel apart from multiple MotoGP World champions Mick Doohan and Jorge Lorenzo.

Team India and Team China join Toyota Team Gazoo Japan and hosts Team Thailand in the line-up for ROC Asia. The four-way competition will seek to find Asia’s fastest nation with the winners going on to race against the best drivers in the Nations Cup Saturday.

Karthikeyan and Chandhok will join forces for Team India as they make their ROC debuts. Team China will partner F1 test driver Ho-Pin Tung with rally ace Han Han, better known as the World’s most widely-read blogger.

The Chinese duo already have ROC experience as they both competed in the 2009 event at Beijing’s ‘Bird’s Nest’ Olympic Stadium, getting as far as the semi-finals of the Nations Cup.

Karthikeyan said: “It’s really nice to be in Thailand for the Race Of Champions. This is the first time that Karun and I have competed at a ROC event and it looks very interesting.”

“To represent your country is always very good and Thailand is not too far away for us. I’m glad we got the invitation and we’ll try to do the best we can,” he said.

“Seeing the videos, it’s going to be the people who make the least mistakes who succeed, so you have to drive very precisely. There’s no margin for error,” Karthikeyan added.

Chandhok said: “It is amazing to have this much excitement about a motor sport event so close to home. So I am very happy to be here and thank you to Fredrik Johnsson and his team for the invitation.

“It’s quite different from driving at a Grand Prix circuit. It’s fantastic that motor sport is moving towards Asia and being here this weekend is another illustration of that.”

IANS