Racing Team India showed improved form in Round 2 of the Asian Le Mans series, bettering their Round 1 result by one place. Narain Karthikeyan, Arjun Maini and Naveen Rao finished 4th this time around, with Maini even leading the race at one point. Read on to find out how Round 2 panned out for the all-Indian squad.
Arjun Maini pulled off some strong overtakes for Racing Team India
Round 3 and 4 to be held on February 19-20
Racing Team India 4th in Asian Le Mans Round 2
With their Asian Le Mans Series outing, Racing Team India has become the first all-Indian squad to foray into the world of international endurance racing. The main goal, of course, is to bag a spot on the grid of the fabled 24 Hours of Le Mans in France.
After running into a few issues, they finished their debut outing in 5th place. With Round 2 once again taking place at the Dubai Autodrome just a day later, they had the advantage of putting all their learnings from Round 1 to good use in near-identical conditions.
The team opted to have IMSA Prototype Challenge champion Rao start the first race. But they went for a new strategy in Round 2, letting their most experienced LMP2 racer, Maini, run the opening stint. And it’s a strategy that seemed to work; Maini made good headway in the first few laps and soon found himself in 2nd place. He then set about catching race leader Rene Binder in the No. 26 G-Drive Racing car. Both teams are fielding the Oreca-07 LMP2 prototype, with technical support from Algarve Pro Racing.
After trading fastest sector times for a bit, Maini was finally able to pull off a move to briefly take the lead before heading into the pits to swap places with Rao. Unfortunately, traffic once again proved to be a big problem and Rao dropped a few places after making contact with a GT car. The collision forced the team to pit for a new nose.
By the time Karthikeyan jumped into the car for the final stint, Racing Team India were running in 4th place. He opted to hold position and stay out of trouble to ensure the car successfully crossed the chequered flag. Out at front, the No. 26 G-Drive Racing car took a second straight win in Dubai.
2021 Asian Le Mans Series calendar
There are just two more rounds to go in the 2021 Asian Le Mans Series. Fans won’t have to wait too long for racing action to resume since the last two rounds will take place this week – on February 19 and 20 – at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit.
The winner of the 2020 Asian Le Mans Series will get an automatic entry into France’s iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans, and that’s a goal that Racing Team India is very much chasing. If it secures an invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which takes place in June 2021, it will become the first squad flying the Indian tricolour to take part in the event.
You can read our exclusive interview with Karthikeyan, Maini and Rao for more details on the team’s Le Mans ambitions and future plans.
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