The Racing Team India finished fifth in the Asian Le Mans Series in the Abu Dhabi leg. This was the first time that an all Indian team participated in this tournament. The team consists of former Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan, 2020 IMSA Prototype Challenge Champion Naveen Rao and former F2 and European Le Mans Series racer Arjun Maini. The first race took place on 13th and 14th February in Dubai whereas the second race happened on 19th and 20th February in Abu Dhabi.
The Race in Dubai
There is a lot to talk about the two races which involved time penalties, accidents and more. In the Saturday event, the team made a precautionary stop which cost them a few positions and then a five-second time penalty for exceeding the speed limit further pushed the car behind the grid. On Sunday, the start of the race was quite positive with Maini setting up some very fast laps. In fact, Maini was so good that he was leading the pack at one instance. The fans in India were almost certain that the #64 car will finish on the podium but all the dreams were crushed as the car crashed with a GT which forced the team to take up a pit stop to change the damaged nose and thus lost a few positions which ultimately led to missing the podium finish. The team finished fourth and fifth in the two four hour race.
The Race in Abu Dhabi
The team was in a better position for the Abu Dhabi race with all the learning and experience from the Dubai race. But, it all went south for the Racing Team India when their ORECA 07 LMP2 car driven by Narain Karthikeyan crashed during a test session with a significant body and nose damage. The reigning Asian Le Mans champions Algarve Pro Racing was the technical support team for Racing Team India made the car ready for the race but this led to the team losing the crucial final hours of the session. In both races, the team finished in the 5th position with a lot of positives to take away.