Narain Karthikeyan in P2 after 2014 Super Formula, Round 1 at Suzuka Circuit

Narain Karthikeyan’s 2014 Super Formula championship has gotten underway on a strong note on a strong note by qualifying 2nd for this season’s opening race. This year’s Super Formula series (formerly known as Formula Nippon) has switched to a new Dallara SF14 chassis powered by a 2 litre, 550 bhp turbocharged engine similar to new 2014 F1 regulations. rcaers find themselves in a new terrain dealing with a new launch system, with clutch on the steering (like Formula 1) – fuel loads and tyre degradation being other critical factors.

Narain Karthikeyan 2014 Super FormulaTeam Impul Hoshino Racing’s Narain is backed by Tata Sons and Tata Motors. Hos qualification placed him a tenth behind 24-hour Le Mans winner and World Endurance champion, André Lotterer of Team Tom’s Toyota.

“It is incredible to qualify on the front row on the first weekend of the season, considering the competition. We managed to improve bit by bit over the weekend and hopefully will be in a good place for the race”, said Karthikeyan.

Former Force India reserve driver James Rossiter was 4th while 2010 series champion and Narain’s Team Impul teammate João Paulo de Oliveira qualified 5th.

Super Formula runs on a knockout-based qualifying format with Q1, Q2 & Q3 sessions to determine race day final grid positions for the 43-lap, 250km long race on Sunday.

“The Tom’s drivers (Lotterer and Nakajima) have been in a class of their own throughout the weekend so splitting them is incredibly satisfying. Just four-tenths cover the top five so it very close at the front”, said Narain.

“The car is amazing, great to drive and it will be a long race with pitstops for fuel and tyres, so quite a bit of strategy is involved. We hope that everything goes to plan and come away with a strong result on the first weekend of the season”, he added.

2014 Super Formula, Round 1, Suzuka Circuit

Qualifying results:

Position                Driver                         Laptime                     

1                            André Lotterer             1’37.022
2                            Narain Karthikeyan   1’37.148
3                            Kazuki Nakajima         1’37.159
4                            James Rossiter             1’37.284
5                            J P De Oliveira              1’37.399
6                            Hiroaki Ishiura             1’37.404
7                            Loic Duval                       1’37.543
8                            Tomoki Nojiri               1’39.380
9                            Naoki Yamamoto        1’38.086
10                          Hideki Mutoh               1’38.108
11                          Ryo Hirakawa               1’38.127
12                          Yuji Kunimoto              1’38.223
13                          Yuichi Nakayama        1’38.260
14                          Koudai Tsukakoshi    1’38.509
15                          Vitantonio Liuzzi          1’38.908
16                          Takashi Kogure           1’39.063
17                          Yuhki Nakayama        1’39.109
18                          Daisuke Nakajima      1’39.113
19                          Koki Saga                   1’39.615

2014 Super Formula Calendar

April 13                       Suzuka Circuit
May 18                                Fuji Speedway
TBA                             Korea
July 13                        Fuji Speedway
Aug 24                                Twin Ring Motegi
Sept 14                       Autopolis
Sept 28                       Sportsland Sugo
Nov 9                          Suzuka Circuit

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Super Formula 2014 specs

Chassis:                 Dallara SF14
Engine:                       2.0-litre turbo with Hybrid system

Power:                   550bhp
Weight:                       650kg (inclusive of driver)
Gearbox:                    Ricardo six-speed paddle shift
Brakes:                  Brembo

Tyres:                         Bridgestone