Tough start for Indian karters
Teenaged Indian karters Arjun Maini, Jehan Daruvala and Tarun Reddy had their baptism by rain as they finished outside of the top 10 in the first round of the British Super One championship at the PF International circuit in Lincolnshire.
The trio nevertheless gained valuable experience over the weekend in the highly competitive series which incorporates the KF3 Class MSA class for juniors.
The boys will look to deliver a more competitive showing in the remaining six rounds of the series, starting at Whilton Mill Circuit May 12.
The three youngsters, products of the JK Tyre Rotax Max National Championship, finished in top three of 'One From A Billion' hunt initiated by Sahara Force India Academy as part of the process to identify and nurture Indian talent to prepare for careers as future Formula One drivers.
Having impressed the judges with their driving ability, fitness levels and media skills, the three teenagers now have the chance to race in one of the most competitive karting championships in Europe.
KF3 is an international CIK class using a medium power 125cc water-cooled engine with an electric self-starter and centrifugal clutch. With a standard chassis, single rear brake and bodywork, the karts are capable of producing speeds of up to 115 kmph.
The trio's 2012 KF3 Academy programme will be managed on behalf of Sahara Force India by Ricky Flynn with karts painted in the familiar colours of the Indian flag.
They will have legendary kart champion, Terry Fullerton, as their mentor and driver coach, while Louis di Resta, father of Force India driver Paul, will help coordinate the project.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director of Sahara Force India, said: "Last year we started the search across India and identified three extremely quick and hungry youngsters who now have a great opportunity ahead of them.
"With a comprehensive development programme mapped out, the Sahara Force India F1 Team Academy will continue to nurture their talent as they take the first steps on a journey that will hopefully lead to Formula One. I will watch their progress with great anticipation."
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India race driver, said: "I was one of the judges during the team's talent hunt last year and saw the kids through every stage of the competition. All three have impressed me with their speed and commitment, so I think they have the potential to go a long way.
"I started out in karting when I was seven years old and I believe it is the best preparation for a career in single-seaters. The UK is well known for having some of the best karting championships around so it's an ideal proving ground for the boys."
Arjun Maini, the 14-year-old from Bangalore, was the winner of the Hunt programme last year. He has six years of karting experience under his belt, having raced not only in the Indian championship but also abroad.
Chennai's Tarun Reddy is also 14 years old and like Arjun, has raced in the Rotax Kart Championship and was selected as the first runner-up of the Hunt programme.
Jehan Daruvala from Mumbai is the youngest of the three at just 13 years of age. He has karted extensively over the last three years and raced in the CIK FIA World Championship last year. An impressive performance in the finals of the talent hunt saw the judges award him the position of second runner-up.