Did not expect nine podiums: Gautam Singhania
Business tycoon surprises himself with dream debut season in Coppa Shell category of Ferrari Challenge Europe Championship
Currently on a high after back-to-back podiums at Valencia in the Coppa Shell category of the Ferrari Challenge Europe Championship 2015, Gautam Singhania admitted that even he has been a little surprised by the run of results.
Gautam Singhania drives his Ferrari in Race 2 at Valencia. INSET: Celebrating his ninth podium finish of the season in Coppa Shell category of the Ferrari Challenge Europe Championship 2015 last Sunday
"I'm very happy because I don't think in the history of the Ferrari Challenge anybody's got nine podium finishes in their first year. Having said that, I did not expect nine podiums, for sure," Singhania told mid-day yesterday.
It has been a dream season for the 50-year-old, who is currently second in the drivers' standings with 144 points (40 points behind leader Jacques Duyver) — thanks to six second-place finishes, three third spots and one fourth-place finish from 12 races (with two more to go).
However, the Chairman and Managing Director of Raymond Limited said that the season has not been a cakewalk as the results imply.
"It's not been easy, that's for sure. It's been a lot of hard work. In fact, I could have been much higher up in the points table. I had two issues on one weekend (Mugello) — once there was a gearbox failure, and then, a collision, where somebody else took me out," Singhania added.
The business tycoon's only DNFs (Did Not Finish) came in Mugello, Italy, which will also host the last two races of the season and the final race, the Ferrari Finali Mondiali, to be held next month.
The Finali Mondiali has a bigger grid of cars with roughly 50-60 drivers from three continental events — Europe, Asia and North America competing for supremacy. With his history at Mugello at the back of his mind, Singhania is leaving no stone unturned to return with a win at the finale.
"The finale is a one-race event. With 60 cars, anything can happen as everybody is excited. Somebody can bump into you and take you out.
"I'm going to give it my best shot. I've hired a proper trainer last week and you've seen the results in Valencia last weekend (two second-place finishes). My trainer is working on my physical as well as mental aspects.
"He's meeting me next week, when I go for two-day testing in Italy. And then two weeks before the finals, he will be coming to India to work with me, just to get me into shape for the finale," Singhania signed off.