January 2007




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Gyan Marwah

Chandok....Revving up for the winnerís lap at Silverstone circuit in England.

After his unprecedented success in international career, Indiaís new racer-boy Karun Chandhok, is all set to make a mark on Formula tracks.


Though in recent years India has never straddled the big league of any sport apart from cricket, there now seems an all-out effort to change that. Champions like Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza, Rajavardhan Singh Rathod and Narain Karthikeyan are proving that there is sporting life beyond cricket.

Now a new name can be added to the list. Karun Chandhok is looking to follow in the footsteps of Narain Karthikeyan.

The 24-year-old racer recently set the track ablaze at the Formula V6 Asia at the Sepang F1 circuit in Malaysia in 2006. And though he could not annex the title due to engine trouble, he nonetheless announced his arrival in the sport. This championship is seen as a step towards Formula-One racing.

For the uninitiated, Karun is no stranger to the racing tracks. In 2000 he made his debut at the Daytona Raceway in England that he won in his first attempt. He then moved into the Formula Asia and won the championship with ease. And then onto British Formula-3 that he won in 2003 at Silverstone.

Born on January 19, 1982 in Chennai, racing has been in Karunís genes. His grandfather was a racer in the 1950s and founded the Federation of Motorsports Clubs of India and the Madras Motor Sports Club. His father Vicky has been racing since 1972. It was a natural progression for him to get involved in the sport. Karun recalls that his first birthday cake was shaped like a car and his bed was like a Ferrari.

Last year Karun was chosen to be one of the lead drivers for Team India for the all-new A1 Grand Prix Series 2005-06, but luck ran out on him when his race was ruined by a series of gearbox problems that resulted in a non-finish at the prestigious Monaco circuit. But this year he has left all his disappointments behind him as he sets his eyes on some key championships around the world.

Winning Post

Karun says he has just one image in mind and that is the chequered flag waved at the winning post. "When I go to a racing event overseas I donít enjoy sightseeing or shopping. I donít have the time to buy unnecessary things."

Victory and defeat donít overawe the champion. " I donít get carried away by emotions where racing is concerned." When his mom called after the race to ask how he was celebrating after a victory, he replied, " I am tired. I am going straight to bed."

Karun knows that fitness is important for such a stressful sport and he runs five kilometres a day, does work-outs on the rowing machine and when the weather permits goes mountain biking. He also does light weight training, floor exercises and swims.

Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Damon Hill are Karunís heroes. However he would like to follow the tracks of the late Brazilian daredevil, Ayrton Senna whom he idolises.

Inspite of a pocket full of titles, the champion has his feet firmly on the ground. " It's a great feeling to be an Indian winner in this high performance racing, " says he.

And his ultimate goal? "Of course, I want to be a Formula-1 driver and a World champion. Only time will tell whatís in store for me," he says.

Well, with the going good so far, thereís reason to believe Chandok has many more triumphs awaiting him in this high profile sport. So, watch out for this space for more on him.




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