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Ralf Schumacher in the cockpit after the race.

Karthikeyan on his way to the glamorous and powerful world of Formula one.

Narain Karthikeyan, putting Chennai on wheels and India into gear as he went through the excursion offered by European Minardi Cosworth on Friday, the final day of the three-day test for the Formula One team at the demanding Vallelunga circuit near Rome , sportinf a European Minardi Cosworth PS03.

Though he complained of the circuit being quite bumpy and having a low-grip nature and that in the quickest corner, the forces generated were around four positive Lateral G-forces, his team was apparently impressed with his approach. He made no mistakes that could be listed, and neither were there spins or off track esxcursion to be moaning about.. off-track excursions. The 26 year old hit a speed of 300kmph on a straight circuit in this race.

 Due to the cold weather conditions and fuel dump load, Karthikeyan could not accomplish or achieve what would have been a track record on a dry-circuit, he was definitely clocked for the fastest lap. He successfully completed the engine evaluation programme for the technical partner, Coswroth Racing.

"I'd particularly like to thank Paul Stoddart (Team Principal) and the team for giving me this opportunity and I hope Friday's test will now encourage some of India 's major corporates to get behind me and support my efforts to secure a Formula I seat in 2004."   Said an optimistic Karthikeyan after the races on Friday.

Commenting on the test, Stoddart said from Australia : "Friday's exercise was all about having a look at Narain and seeing what he could do in a European Minardi. He did a solid job while he was in the car on Thursday morning and we have been pleased to have him join the team for this important test."  

Karthikeyan first test drove for Jaguar in 2000 at Silverstone and again in October 2001 at Spain .

Wishing the young racer all the best, and definitely giving him a signal which says, go….go…. go!

By Aditya Deshpande

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