Karthikeyan takes pole in Korea

Narain Karthikeyan stormed to pole position after qualifying for the International Formula 3 Korea Super Prix

Karthikeyan takes pole in Korea

Driving his Carlin Motorsport Dallara Mugen-Honda, Karthikeyan secured his second pole in as many weeks after starting first at Macau last Sunday.

He set a best lap of 1m 10.491s in a tense and exciting day of qualifying which was punctuated by a number of incidents. In the final reckoning, the top 17 racers were covered by just one second, but Karthikeyan drove faultlessly and was always at the sharp end of the grid.

The Indian driver said: "I was very happy with the car today. We made a few minor improvements after the first qualifying session, which allowed me to go quicker in the afternoon. It is very important to be on pole here because there are not many places which are good for overtaking."

In the afternoon session, Portuguese driver Tiago Monteiro powered onto the front row with a lap time of 1m 10.497s, just 0.006s behind Karthikeyan.

Sebastien Philippe and Jonathan Cochet made row two an all-French affair. Cochet moved up to fourth with a determined effort in the dying stages of qualifying, while Japanese F3 Champion Philippe was happy to be on the pace in third in Korea after a tough time in Macau.

He said: "Macau was a very difficult race for me, but I was much more confident when I came here. I worked together with Tiago to analyse the data and improve the set-up of the car and it worked well."

Row three consists of Italian ace Gianmaria Bruni and Japan's Takuma Sato. Macau winner Andre Couto could only manage 18th on the grid.

The participation of Robert Lechner and Derek Hayes in tomorrow's racing is doubtful after both suffered heavy crashes at the chicane. Lechner was taken to hospital for a check-up after hitting the barriers in his TOM'S Dallara Toyota. He was later released with heavy bruising.

A short while afterwards, Hayes destroyed his car at the same point on the circuit. The British driver was uninjured in the 100mph accident, but the team was unable to repair the damage.

The field will line up for the first race tomorrow at 11.40am. This will determine the grid positions for the main race, which is scheduled to start at 15.00 local time.


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