Former Formula 1 pilots Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok have won India a place in the 2012 Race of Champions by taking out the inaugural ROC Asia contest in Bangkok, Thailand.
Two-man teams from India, China, Japan and Thailand competed in the ROC Asia event, with the locals already guaranteed a spot in Saturday night’s Nations Cup.
Karthikeyan and Chandhok took four of their six preliminary heat wins between them before beating Japanese pair Kazuya Ohshima and Takuto Iguchi by winning the first two legs of the best of three final.
Thai duo Nattavude Charoensukawattana and Tin Sritrai combined to win three heats in the group stage while the Chinese combination of Ho-Pin Tung and Han Han managed just two.
The local drivers had in turn earned their place in the ROC Asia by placing in the top two of the four-man ROC Thailand event held before it.
The Thai drivers received vocal support from the modest crowd in attendance on a hot and humid night at Rajamangala Stadium.
Only the VW Sciroccos, ROC buggies and Toyota GT86s were used for tonight’s competition, with the event’s other four cars – the Audi R8 LMSs, Lamborghini Gallardo Super Tropheos, NASCAR-style Euroracecars and KTM X-Bows – not set to make a competitive appearance until Saturday night’s Nations Cup contest.
The circuit itself received a minor facelift prior to the ROC Thailand competition with a chicane installed on the incline of the cross-over bridge.
The change followed a wild afternoon practice session that saw repeated heavy landings for the faster machinery.
CLICK HERE for more on the Friday practice session
CLICK HERE for a gallery of images from Friday at the Race of Champions
See below for the full Nations Cup field
Team France (Sébastien OGIER & Romain GROSJEAN)
Team Great Britain (David COULTHARD & Andy PRIAULX)
Team Americas (Ryan HUNTER-REAY & Benito GUERRA)
Team All Stars (Tom KRISTENSEN & Jorge LORENZO)
Team Germany (Michael SCHUMACHER & Sebastian VETTEL)
Team Thailand (Nattavude CHAROENSUKAWATTANA and Tin SRITRAIL)
Team Australia (Mick DOOHAN & Jamie WHINCUP)
Team India (Narain KARTHIKEYAN & Karun CHANDHOK)