Chandhok signs up with Portugese team for GP2 series

February 3rd, 2009 - 10:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Feb 3 (IANS) India’s Karun Chandhok has signed up with Portugese team Ocean Racing Technology for the GP2 Main Series. It will be Chandhok’s third season in GP2 having earlier driven for Durango (2007) and iSport International (2008). He finished 10th in the drivers’ championship last year with 31 points while team-mate Bruno Senna finished second on 64 points.

The ORT team is being directed by former F1 driver Tiago Monteiro, who, incidentally was Narain Karthikeyan’s team-mate at Jordan during the Indian’s only season in Formula One in 2005.

In a statement Tuesday, Monteiro said: “It is very important for Ocean Racing Technology to guarantee the presence of a talented driver such as Karun Chandhok. He is fast, a hard worker and already has some great results on different kinds of tracks.

“From what we hear, he always had an excellent working relationship with engineers and team principals that he has previously worked with and has won two races in the GP2 Main Series.

“It is extremely positive that he signed this contract well before the championship starts because this way we can immediately begin work for the Main Series.

“For us, it is important that an experienced and fast driver like Karun puts his confidence in Ocean Racing Technology, which is a very young team. He is the driver we need to achieve our goals, which are to be competitive right away and consistently into the points.”

In 2007, Chandhok triumphed in Spa, one of the most demanding circuits of the season, in just his first year in the championship with the Italian Durango team. In 2008, he raced with iSport International where he enjoyed some success, the highlight being victory at Hockenheim.

Previous to that, Chandhok became the 2006 Asian Renault V6 Champion and had a stint in the British F3 championship (scholarship class).

ORT is the first Portuguese race team to compete in GP2 and is based at the all new Algarve Circuit in Portugal.

Explaining his decision to drive for a start-up team, Chandhok said: “Going to a new team is always a bit of a gamble for a driver. Any new team will take some time to get fully up to speed and it’s slightly unrealistic to think we’re going to be Championship contenders, but certainly the objective is to win races this year.

“iSport was a very good team but we could not conclude a suitable financial agreement and have parted ways on good terms. My experience with them will certainly be of benefit as I work to develop ORT into a front running team.”

Speaking about his preparations, Chandhok said: “Not doing GP2 Asia this year has actually been quite good for me. Last year was quite exhausting and it has been nice to take some time off over the winter. I have had time to train and prepare better than ever before.

“I have already spent some time in Portugal with the engineers and we will have six days of testing at Paul Ricard circuit and Barcelona before the season starts.”

The 2009 GP2 (main series) calendar:

May 9-10: Barcelona, Spain. May 23-24: Monaco. June 6-7: Istanbul, Turkey. June 20-21: Silverstone, England. July 11-12: Nurburgring, Germany. July 25-26: Budapest, Hungary. August 22-23: Valencia, Spain. August 29-30: Spa, Belgium. September 12-13: Monza, Italy. September 19-20: Algarve, Portugal.

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