Another milestone for Narain Karthikeyan

first_imgEnough, leave them alone…” Narain Karthikeyan is stomping around the pit in front of a banner with his face on it. He is climbing over tools and across equipment, through a swarm of mechanics dressed in the electric green and black of Speed NK Racing.Team Boss: Narain KarthikeyanQualifying hasn’t gone,Enough, leave them alone…” Narain Karthikeyan is stomping around the pit in front of a banner with his face on it. He is climbing over tools and across equipment, through a swarm of mechanics dressed in the electric green and black of Speed NK Racing.Team Boss: Narain KarthikeyanQualifying hasn’t gone well, one gear box seems possessed by an evil spirit, a clutch is throwing a tantrum, the team drivers are being instructed and interrogated, but Karthikeyan has called a time out. “Let them be. Now they just need to go out and drive.” It is the second round of the 10th JK Tyre National Racing Championships. Speed NK Racing, Karthikeyan’s outfit, lead in the standings amongst 14 cars at the Kari Motor Speedway outside Coimbatore, in a place signposted by the local panchayat as the “classical, divine Tamil township of Chettipalayam.”NK Racing CarThis is NK Racing’s second year in the championships, where they field two cars in the Formula Rolon Chevrolet class, the highest of the three classes involved. The other two are the Formula LGB Swift and the Formula LGB Hyundai. NK Racing’s drivers are Chennai teenagers Aditya Patel, 18, and Saran Vikram, 17, one the son of a former racer and the other of a garage mechanic. Two other drivers, Saahil Shelar from Mumbai and Ajay Kini from Chennai are part of the Amaron NK Racing Academy, and have been placed with the Chennai based WSRF team for the Rolons.Kamlesh Patel, father of Aditya with three decades of racing behind him, says the two NK Racing drivers have a “two in a billion opportunity” to work with a driver of Karthikeyan’s experience.India’s first Formula 1 driver is putting in the mandatory night shifts with race engineer and cousin Sanjay Balu and his team of 10 mechanics. They dissect drives in English and Tamil and stand over the cars as an open heart surgery is performed. Karthikeyan is in the mix measuring the track temperature, timing practice laps, the team always trying to squeeze just a bit more out of the car. “All you need to win,” says NK Racing team manager Yohann Setna, “is to be one hundredth of a second faster than the next guy.”NK with SaranFor the first time in his life, as a test driver for Williams F1, Karthikeyan, 30, is being paid to drive. There is a possibility of more F1 races. So why bother with 18-hour working days that do not guarantee that extra one-hundredth of a second? Karthikeyan says, “I wanted to start something in a small way, we had all the infrastructure in our workshop.” Until 12 years ago, a section of Perur Engineering Works, part of his father’s business, worked on cars the teenage rookie raced. Today that garage is buzzing again.Karthikeyan has worked his network of contacts to get his team what it needs, like F1 lubricants from Castrol. With Balu, he teaches rookies how to log every detail of a drive into their memories to use as feedback.Karthikeyan and Setna have designed a new easy-to-read set-up sheet for the pit team. The sheet logs the suspension and chassis set-up-tyre pressure, ride height/ ground clearance, angle of the tyres-which changes every time the car goes out, depending on the track surface and weather.The team was trimmed from four cars in the inaugural year to two and NK Racing estimates expenditure per car to touch Rs 10 lakh per season. Karthikeyan says, “The pressure to get the most out of two cars to get the wins is a lot more but management-wise two are much easier to handle”.Of their drivers from the first year, Akhil Khushlani now races in the Formula BMW Asia series. Talks are on with the Tata Racing School to set up an academy, the country’s first proper racing institution, to run out of Chettipalayam three months at time.The decision of India’s most famous driver, and most famous racing “brand”, to enter a team in the national championships should, you would imagine, be welcomed. But NK Racing faced some early sniping from envious opponents in season one.It could be, says Setna, because the team was determined to look and act like professionals. The mechanics, who had worked on jeeps and trucks, were trained to work on race cars, split into specialist groups, like electricals and gearbox. Fitness regimes were drilled into the rookies and they were given books on driving and engineering. The pit signage had to be smart, the team used walkie talkies, and occasionally, pit-to-car communication.Most importantly, the drives were free. It was the team and not the driver who found the sponsor to pay racing charges. (Over a six-round season, drivers must cough up Rs 35,000 for a Swift, Rs 45,000 for the Hyundai and Rs 1 lakh for the Rolon per round.) For contenders from non-racing families, it was a break from heaven. Shelar’s father Sanjay, a director in an engineering firm, says, “We have no tension about money, we don’t have to run around for sponsorship.” The Formula One Karthikeyan’s ChoiceIn Chettipalayam , Narain Karthikeyan was asked just one question. Would he take up The Offer? India’s first Formula One driver, now a test driver for Williams, has been approached by F1 team Spyker to race for them in the season’s last seven races. One of the lower-ranked teams on the F1 ladder, Spyker is familiar territory for Karthikeyan who raced with them in the 2005 season. Spyker is in fact the current incarnation of team Jordan, who signed Karthikeyan up for his F1 debut and for a brief period were also named Midland. Spkyer have recently sacked their German driver Christijan Albers and indicated their interest in the Indian. Karthikeyan is yet to take a decision on whether to return to a struggling team or keep the security of working with Williams. However due to new FIA rules, the time test drivers get on cars has been severely cut back. Karthikeyan says, “My racing instincts say I want to drive. After my experience as a tester at Williams, I think I can extract more out of an F-1 car now than I could.”As the race draws close, the pit gets calmer. The drivers are left to themselves, the engineers finish their job and leave it to the gods of the gearbox, and Karthikeyan heads off to watch. “Racing drivers… you need to treat them gently,” he says and he knows because at heart he is still one. In a sport about technology, aerodynamics and big bucks, the most precious part of a race car is still the driver, for whom spares are not easily found.Along with dozens of sponsors’ stickers, NK Racing cars sport the words “Aditya B+ve” and “Saran B+ve”. They read like inspirational revup slogans, but are actually the drivers’ blood groups, mandatory on every race car. All race tracks must have an ambulance and a fire truck on standby. On the weekend, nothing flammable catches fire, but Patel lights up. He finishes third in one race and wins the second, biding his time as two leaders engage in a charged skirmish. Before they have time to say, “Chettipalayam”, Patel slips past them on the inside.Every race is a sensory overload, a blur of metal and rubber, the howl of engines, the smell of gas but this is almost a cerebral performance. It comes from a skinny kid who looks like he belongs in the quietest corner of a library. His team is going mental; engineers leap up and down, applauding mechanics pour over the pit wall.Patel roars past the finish line and Karthikeyan smiles. It is not the smile seen on hoardings or on TV but a sunbeam at full throttle. He says, “Inside me, I’m really, happy I did this.”advertisementadvertisementadvertisementlast_img read more

Commentary stint over Ranji Trophy duties? Robin Uthappa clears the air

first_imgWhile his Saurashtra teammates were sweating it out at the GS Patel Stadium in Gujarat’s Nadiad against the hosts in a Ranji Trophy 2018-19 encounter, Robin Uthappa was seen wearing a commentator’s hat and analysing Wednesday’s first T20I between India and Australia at the Gabba, Brisbane.Uthappa and senior Delhi batsman Gautam Gambhir were the only two active cricketers to be part of the 15-member commentary panel for Sony Pictures India, the official broadcasters of the India-Australia tour in the subcontinent.Uthappa’s preference for commentary over domestic duty irked several fans. Questions were asked over why the 33-year-old had made himself unavailable for Ranji Trophy at a time when former cricketers are consistently expressing concerns over the absence of star players from the country’s premier domestic four-day tournament.Also Read – Sakshi Dhoni thanks Robin Uthappa for bringing her and MS Dhoni togetherUthappa thoug was quick to clarify his stand on joining the commentary panel amidst the Ranji Trophy season, saying he skipped domestic duty as he is yet to fully recover from an ankle injury. The World T20 winner insisted he has no plans to retire and that he would continue playing till he enjoying doing so.Also Read – Virat Kohli wins hearts at Gabba, obliges kids with autographs”Just to clear the misconceptions out-there.I’m giving commentary a go coz I’m currently recovering from an ankle surgery. It’s by no means takes away from how much I love competing and will continue to do so till I don’t enjoy it anymore or can’t physically (sic) ,” Uthappa wrote on Twitter.advertisementAlso Read – India have a lot of problems that need to be solved: Harbhajan SinghJust to clear the misconceptions out-there.I’m giving commentary a go coz I’m currently recovering from an ankle surgery. It’s by no means takes away from how much I love competing and will continue to do so till I don’t enjoy it anymore or can’t physically. #sonysix #INDvsAUSRobin Aiyuda Uthappa (@robbieuthappa) November 21, 2018Uthappa got a nod of approval from his good friend and former India teammate Irfan Pathan as the left-arm pacer wished him luck for his commentary stint.The aggressive right-handed batsman last played competitive cricket in October when he turned up for Saurashtra in Vijay Hazare Trophy – the domestic 50-over tournament. From eight matches, Uthappa hit 197 runs, which includes a highest score of 97, at 24.62.India vs Australia, 1st T20I: MATCH REPORT | HIGHLIGHTS | SCORECARDNotably, Uthappa had ended his 15-year-old association with Karnataka in the lead-up to the 2017-18 domestic season and made the move to Saurashtra.Read – Shikhar Dhawan feels poor fielding cost India in narrow loss to AustraliaDespite being a consistent performer for his Indian Premier League franchise, Kolkata Knight Riders, Uthappa has found it difficult to return to the senior national side. His last international appearance came during India’s tour of Zimbabwe in 2015.last_img read more

Leeds United defender Jansson heaps praise on Hernandez

first_imgLeeds United defender Pontus Jansson has heaped praises on Pablo Hernandez following the team’s victory over Queens Park Rangers.Marcelo Bielsa’s men picked up a 2-1 win over QPR in the Sky Bet Championship yesterday courtesy of a brace from Kemar Roofe, earning three more points in the quest for promotion as the win takes Leeds up to second in the table.Jansson took to his official Twitter account to lavish praise on his Hernandez for his performance.My man, best player i ever played with and it’s a true honour to have you in my team! On to the next one now! See you Saturday! 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/idHsPxYFN0— Pontus Jansson (@PJansson5) December 8, 2018Solskjaer reveals he plans to build his team around Pogba Manuel R. Medina – July 17, 2019 The Manchester United manager wants to end the speculation that the Frenchman is leaving the Red Devils.The former Valencia winger was in impressive form and played an important role in Leeds’ win yesterday.Jansson mentioned in his tweet that Hernandez is the best player he has ever played with and it was a privilege for him to be on the same team as the Spaniard.His tweet read: “My man, best player I ever played with and it’s a true honour to have you in my team! On to the next one now! See you on Saturday!”Hernandez has enjoyed a good time with Leeds United ever since signing for the club and he will be delighted with the praises from his teammates.The winger will be important to Leed’s promotion bid this season and manager Marcelo Bielsa will be hoping that he can continue in this rich vein of form in the coming weeks as well.last_img read more

Making the Case For RecessionProof City and Regional Titles

first_imgOver the last few years, regionals have trended toward vertical launches—business journals, home/design magazines, luxury titles—that have a more narrow audience and cover smaller geographic regions. “Regionals are going through and will continue to go through their own normal consolidation, albeit for different reasons than national titles,” says Kim Mac Leod, president of Regional Media Advisors, an M&A advisory company for the regional market. While much of the publishing industry grits its teeth in anticipation of a recession and national publishers reign in their print launches, the city and regional market remains hot, thanks to a low barrier to entry and a continued demand for print. The first quarter of 2008 alone has seen a flurry of regional magazine launches.“Local, local, local—that’s the key,” says Dan Shannon, publisher of Chapel Hill magazine and Durham, a bi-monthly title with 20,000 circulation set to launch this spring. “Everyone identifies with their own city or town and embraces the media that recognize that fact.” “When the economy tightens, as it is doing now, ad dollars become even more focused,” says Randy Thompson, co-publisher of Virginia Wine Lover. The quarterly magazine, with an initial circulation of 80,000, was set to launch May 1 with 84 pages—about 30 of which are ad pages. “Regional and niche publications can capitalize on that.”Regionals: An Optimistic MarketWhile regional magazines may not be recession-proof, a number of new publishers are optimistic that regionals are in a better cycle than their national counterparts. “If you have a strong product that people want and need then you can get through the economic cycles,” says Jonathan Weber, publisher and CEO of New West Publishing. After developing NewWest.net in 2005, Weber in February launched New West, a quarterly business and consumer magazine focused on growth and development in the mountain regions of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Washington and Oregon.“We’re starting out fairly small, with the first issue at a circulation of 25,000, but we have a good circ strategy which we’re confident will get the magazine into the right hands,” Weber says. Of the 68 pages in the launch issue, Weber has 35 advertisers over about 20 ad pages.New publishers are finding also that there’s a lower barrier to entry in the regional market. “We feel like our situation is unique in that Alabama is overdue for a smart, articulate lifestyle magazine,” says Lee Hurley, co-publisher of Thicket, a bi-monthly lifestyle title with an initial 30,000 circulation, that launched in January.M&A Remains Strong, TooDespite the overall economic downturn, the market has seemingly valued regional magazines well. In May 2007, Modern Luxury sold to Clarity Partners for an estimated $250 million. In February 2008, Niche Media purchased DLG Media Holdings, publisher of lifestyle and fashion magazine Philadelphia Style.According to Chris Shannon, managing director at Berkery Noyes, national media companies will launch more regional products and more mid-size companies will to look to own “families” of regional titles. Mac Leod expects to see a number of regional titles, especially those that have been impacted by the declining housing market, put up for sale over the next year.“We anticipate that it will be a frothy market in the second half of the year,” Mac Leod says. “Also look to see even more buyers and sellers from the newspaper sector active in the regional magazine market.”last_img read more

8 charged over XulhazTonoy killing

first_imgXulhas-TonoyThe Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) on Sunday submitted a charge-sheet to the home ministry for its approval in a case filed over the killing of LGBT magazine editor Xulhaz Mannan and his friend Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy, reports UNB.The investigation agency brought charges against eight people over the double murder and placed the charge-sheet before the ministry as it needs prior approval before submitting it to the court, said DMP deputy commissioner (Media) Masudur Rahman.Four of the accused — Mozammel Hossain alias Saimon, 25, Media head and member of intelligence wing of banned Islamic outfit Ansar Al Islam, Md Arafat Rahman, 24, coordinator of military wing of Ansar Al Islam, Md Sheikh Abdullah, 27, and member of military wing of the militant group Asadullah, 25, are behind the bars.Four others have been on the run and they are Syed Md Ziaul Huq alias Major Zia (sacked army major), 42, Akram Hossain, 30, Sabbirul Haque Chowdhury, 26, and Md Zunaid Ahmad alias Maulana Zuned alias Zunaid, 26.During investigation, the CTTC found direct involvement of 13 people into the double murder. Of them, five were excluded from the charge-sheet as their full names and addresses were not found during investigation.The four arrested accused have already given statements before the court, confessing their involvement in the murder.Xulhaz Mannan, editor of LGBT magazine Roopbaan, and his friend MahbubTonoy, an activist of theatre group Loknatya Dal, were hacked to death by some unidentified miscreants at an apartment in the capital’s Kalabagan area on 25 April, 2016.A case was filed with Kalabagan police station on the same day in this connection.Primarily, Detective Branch (DB) investigated the double murder. Later, the CTTC unit took the onus of probe and arrested four suspects in connection with the killings.last_img read more

India Inc preferred debt to equity to raise funds this year

first_imgIndian firms raised a staggering amount of funds totalling Rs 4 lakh crore from the markets in 2014, with debt market emerging as the most preferred route to garner capital for their corporate needs despite a sustained rally in the stock market.The trends remained sluggish in the primary stock market — where the companies raise funds through the sale of shares via instruments like IPOs and FPOs — despite a bullish equity market. It has been private placement of corporate bonds and non-convertible debentures that were used the most to meet funding requirements of businesses in 2014. Also Read – I-T issues 17-point checklist to trace unaccounted DeMO cashHowever, IPO market is expected to see some activities in 2015, as a large number of companies have filed their draft papers with Sebi for their public offers since a new government took over in May. Besides, debt market may also witness sustained rally in the new year, market analysts said.”In 2015, we will see spurt in IPO activities as more than a dozen companies have filed their draft documents in 2014 ,” Geojit BNP Paribas Research Head Alex Mathew said. Also Read – Lanka launches ambitious tourism programme to woo Indian touristsEchoing a similar view, Prime Database Managing Director Pranav Haldea said :”A flurry of IPOs are expected in the Q4 (January-March period of 2015).”Market participants believe that probable interest rate cuts by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as trigger for fund raising through debt instruments.In 2014, companies together have raised fresh capital worth nearly Rs 4 lakh crore from equity and debt markets.These funds have been raised mainly for expansion of business plans and to support working capital requirements. A large chunk of this amount or more than Rs 3.3 lakh crore has been mopped-up from debt market. Fresh capital raked in from equity market stood at about Rs 67,000 crore, which mostly include those garnered by Qualified Institutional Placement (QIP) route and by way of preferential share allotments to promoters and other investors.Within the debt market, the companies raised Rs 2.95 lakh crore through debt placement route, while Rs 32,000 crore has been mopped up through non-convertible debentures.The year 2014 saw companies flocking towards debt route instead of equities because equity was not available for those firms.”Many firms opted for the debt route instead of equity as fund raising through equity segment was not available as very few companies came out with public offers,” CNI Research Head Kishor Ostwal said.In the equity segment, most of the funds were raised through QIP (Rs 30,000 crore) followed by preferential route (Rs 25,500 crore), rights issue (Rs 5,200 crore) sale of shares via OFS route (Rs 4,300 crore) and IPOs and FPOs (Rs 1,619 crore). “Retail investors have not fully participated in the IPOs during the year, because of that we have seen less number of public offers hitting the capital markets in 2014,” Mathew said.”On the other hand, we witnessed hectic activities in fund raising via QIP route during the year as institutional investors were bullish on this segment due to change in new government,” he added.Despite a rally of around 30 per cent in the equity market in 2014, there was only five main-board initial public offers (IPO) and one Follow-on Public Offers (FPOs) witnessed during the year.However, a large number (34) firms got listed on the stock exchanges from the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.A meagre Rs 1,619 crore were raked in through these public offers in 2014, even less than Rs 1,627 crore were garnered last year.The entire year saw just one follow-on offer, by state-run Engineers India Ltd (EIL), which also happens to be the biggest public offer with an issue size of Rs 505 crore.Those five firms that hit the capital markets were —Monte Carlo Fashions, Shemaroo Entertainment Sharda Cropchem, Snowman Logistics and Wonderla Holidays.last_img read more