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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 February, 2005, 16:05 GMT
Indian captures Jordan F1 drive
Narain Karthikeyan
Karthikeyan was a test driver for the Minardi team
India's Narain Karthikeyan has become his country's first F1 driver after securing a drive with Jordan in 2005.

The 28-year-old had been offered the place but he needed to firm up a sponsorship package before the deal could be completed.

He will be partnered by Portugal's Tiago Monteiro, who was second in the Nissan World Series in 2004.

Jordan were taken over last month by Russian businessman Alex Shnaider's Midland Group.

Jordan sporting director Terry Carlin has moved quickly to recruit the two drivers, who both raced for him in junior series.

"We have been very lucky to put together a driver line-up which gives us a really strong package in terms of youth, technical ability, speed and talent," he said.

I've got the hopes of a nation behind me so I've no choice but to succeed
Narain Karthikeyan

"I know Narain very well because he drove for me in 1998 in Formula 3 and I have run him in various formulas every year since then.

"We've won a lot of races together. He's very competitive, a super-quick driver, sometimes a little bit raw and wild in his style but he is a proven race winner and I am confident that in our environment he will thrive.

"He's ready for F1 now I think he'll do a good job for us."

Karthikeyan, who enjoyed sporadic success in British Formula Three and the Nissan World Series, know he has the hopes of a nation resting on his shoulders.

"My aim has always been to compete in Formula One, it is where no Indian driver has been before," he said.

"I've got the hopes of a nation behind me so I've no choice but to succeed now.

"I have tested with three different Formula One teams at various circuits and I'm going to give it everything I've got so I am confident that this is going to be a good year for me. "

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