| SUZUKA, Japan
SUZUKA, Japan Oct 10 Sauber driver Kamui
Kobayashi lived up to his home billing with a spectacular
wheel-banging charge to seventh place in the Japanese Grand Prix
It was the best performance by a Japanese driver at Suzuka
since Takuma Sato finished fourth for BAR Honda in 2004 and one
that gave the crowd plenty to cheer after the recent exit of
Some 3,000 fans in "Kamui Kobayashi Corner", a sold-out
grandstand section between turns two and three, were treated to
a stunning late surge but the driver himself played down his
"Basically, we scored points," he told a throng of Japanese
media in the paddock, also noting the eighth-place finish of
team mate Nick Heidfeld.
"It was very difficult due to our starting position, but
such a result at the Japan Grand Prix is good."
"I`m very pleased for the Japanese fans who watched an
exciting race," said Kobayashi, Toyota's reserve driver last
year, after showing all his fighting spirit to climb from 14th
on the grid.
"It was really something to come back here and race for the
first time in seven years in front of my home crowd."
The rookie's six points caught the attention of the media and
drew praise from his team.
"Kamui was simply incredible in his home race. The way he
overtook several competitors was absolutely spectacular,"
declared team CEO Monisha Kaltenborn.
The son of a sushi deliveryman, Kobayashi's success this
season has earned him a contract extension with Sauber for 2011.
With Toyota and Honda no longer in the sport, and
Bridgestone soon to depart, Japan had been in a desperate need
of a driver to maintain national interest.
Kobayashi said he did not feel any extra pressure at Suzuka,
but was aware of how important his success was to keep the sport
on the Japanese radar.
He thanked the fans in his corner but admitted he had been
too focused on his driving to see them during the race.
(Editing by Ed Osmond; To query or comment on this story