India will be represented in the Race Of Champions for the second time after Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan signed up for ROC 2013, to be held at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium on the weekend of December 14-15. 2012 marked the first year that Team India made an appearance at the ROC and this was backed by a solid performance by both drivers which saw India being crowned ROC Asia Champions.
The two drivers joined forces for Team India at last year’s inaugural ROC Asia. They duly topped the group stages with four wins out of six against their competitors from China, Japan and host nation Thailand before defeating the Japanese duo in the final to take the title. That performance has now earned Chandhok and Karthikeyan an invitation to return to the scene of their triumph in Bangkok for ROC 2013.
Karun Chandhok was excited to return to the ROC and his happy to be back with more experience in hand. He said: “I’m very excited to be going back to Bangkok for the Race Of Champions. Narain and I had a great time together last year and it was fantastic to be the first ROC Asia winners. ROC is a unique event from a competitive and social perspective and it’s something that every driver looks forward to. It was really nice to drive such a variety of cars and we both have more experience this year and know a bit more about how it all works. The chance to spend time with such a great mix of drivers from a huge variety of championships around the world is a lot of fun and I hope we once again get a good crowd at the stadium.”
Narain Karthikeyan was excited at the prospect of going head-to-head with elite list of world champions that compete in the ROC. He added: “It will be a great privilege to represent India again at the Race Of Champions. We had a great time at our first attempt when we won ROC Asia but it is always a challenge to jump into different cars and adapt quickly. However, with the experience of the 2012 event behind us, we feel more confident and better prepared this time. As always, going head to head with world champions like Michael Schumacher and Sébastian Ogier is something we’re looking forward to.”
Chandhok and Karthikeyan are the only Indian drivers ever to have competed in F1 and both have extensive racing pedigrees elsewhere too. Chandhok is a race-winner in GP2 and has since turned his hand to endurance racing with strong finishes in the last two Le Mans 24-Hour races. Karthikeyan has taken victories in everything from British F3 to A1GP and Superleague Formula before enjoying considerable success this year in AutoGP including a haul of five wins.
Held every year since 1988, the Race Of Champions brings together the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s main disciplines – including Formula 1, world rally, Le Mans, MotoGP, Nascar, IndyCar, touring cars and the X-Games – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery.
ROC 2013 will take place on a specially constructed tarmac track with two parallel lanes winding their way round Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium. Drivers pair up for the ROC Nations Cup, this year scheduled for Saturday 14 December, ahead of the individual Race Of Champions on Sunday 15 December.
ROC features stars from all over the world: seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher, nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and newly-crowned World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier have already signed up and the rest of the 2013 field will be announced in the run-up to December’s event.
Race organiser Fredrik Johnsson said: “We’re really happy to have Karun and Narain back at the Race Of Champions again. They raced very well last year on their way to victory in ROC Asia and their performance generated plenty of headlines among the burgeoning ranks of motor sport fans in India. So we hope to see many of their fellow countrymen making the short trip to Bangkok this time to cheer them on.”