GREATER NOIDA, India, Oct 27, 2011 (AFP) - Narain Karthikeyan insisted he would be delighted just to finish the Indian Grand Prix Thursday as he played down chances of greater success in his home country's first Formula One race.
Karthikeyan, granted a rare drive by his HRT team for India's debut on the glitzy F1 circuit, said the giant country's fervent fans should pleased if he just manages to complete the 60-lap race near New Delhi.
"The realistic thing with our car is possibly finish the race with the team-mate," Karthikeyan said, when asked about his prospects. "If you do that I think at the moment, you can't expect much more."
HRT shares bottom place in the constructors' standings with zero points in 16 races this season, dampening expectations for Sunday's race.
But Karthikeyan, who will partner Daniel Ricciardo, said excitement was at fever pitch for the race and that he had received "thousands" of requests for tickets.
"It's a very historic and symbolic moment that an Indian driver is on the grid," he said. "Of course there's a lot of people following Formula One for a long time and there'll be a lot of fans here.
"It'll be hard to explain but it is what it is. I want to enjoy the weekend and have a lot of fun and try to do the best I can do."