SPORT

Narain makes a quiet visit to home

COIMBATORE, MARCH 24. After his impressive runs in Melbourne and Sepang, Narain Karthikeyan made a quiet entry into his hometown on Thursday afternoon. His sister and brother-in-law received him at the airport and there was none of the rush and pomp that is normally there.

R. Mahendran of the Coimbatore Auto Sports Club (CASC) was surprised to hear that Narain had already arrived. "We were not sure about his Coimbatore visit. We have been planning for some time to hold a small reception for him and it's time we do it," he said. There are many others, like the CASC, with similar plans. Narain appreciated the warmth and welcome, but said, "I am exhausted. I really need a break to stay focussed for the races to come."

Earlier, Narain, who made a brief pit stop in Bahrain a couple of days ago, managed to have a close look at the circuit prior to the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix scheduled early next month.

After a quick lunch with some of the key Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) officials, the BIC PR Director, Sheik Salman Bin Essa Al Khalifa, drove the fastest Indian in the world around the $150 million circuit.

"The track is fantastic. I have been to so many circuits, but the BIC blew me away," said Narain. "I am sure the race will be competitive as the track was built for such rush."

Despite his hectic schedule, the 28-year-old Coimbatore driver squeezed in a tour of the newly built off-road course that will be launched during the Gulf Air Bahrain GP.

After rushing through a press conference, Narain followed it up with an autograph session at Bahrain's largest shopping mall where more than 300 people queued up to get a closer look at the Indian star.

As he left for the airport, Narain told the gathering, "I can't wait to come back. I really enjoyed my stay and I am very much looking forward to the race." — Our Sports Reporter

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