New Delhi: Indian riders Hari Krishnan Rajagopal and Rajiv Sethu put in impressive performances to finish among top 10 in the Asia Dream Cup category of the Asia Road Racing Championship, organized by the Madras Motor Sports Club, at the Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, on Saturday.
While the home riders fought hard to make an impression, Australia’s Anthony Keith West, a 35-year old veteran, made the best of the pole position and rode his Yamaha to the limit in the premium SuperSport 600cc class for his first win of the season that otherwise has been disappointing.
The SuperSport 600cc race which was red-flagged following an on-track incident and reduced to 13 laps from scheduled 16, saw West capitalizing on a good start to win from re-start to finish while another veteran and former champion Decha Kraisart finished second after a great battle with Indonesian Ahmad Yudhistira who completed the podium.
The 22-year old Hari Krishnan who earlier this year became the first Indian to bag back-to-back podium spots, including a win, finished a creditable sixth after being in the hunt for a possible podium position while Sethu, only 19, fought his way through a bunch to come in ninth.
The third Indian in the fray, debutant Mathana Kumar blew opportunities for a top-10 finish and ended up 12th and vowed to do better in the second race of the double-header on Sunday.
Hari Krishnan, starting 10th on the grid, swiftly made places and moved to fourth by the end of second of the seven-lap race after pole-sitter Broc Pearson crashed. He then tucked into a chasing bunch of six riders behind leader and eventual winner Hiroki Nakamura of Japan, but a mistake in the last lap which caused him to run wide at Turn-3, Hari Krishnan settled for sixth.
“I thought I had a podium in my grasp as I kept fighting for third-to-fifth positions. I had a good chance in the last lap, but I ran wide at Turn-3 and it cost me a couple of places. I will now have to strategise better for the second race tomorrow,” said Hari Krishnan.
Likewise, Sethu got stuck in the midfield bunch having qualified 12th. He struggled long and hard before gaining ground in the last lap for a ninth place finish.
“I had mechanical issues with my bike during the qualifying session this morning and then, in the race, I had a bad start. I made a mistake at Turn-1 itself and ride wide which cost me track position. Later, I got stuck in a tight bunch, but on the last lap, I managed to climb to ninth. I hope to do better tomorrow,” said Sethu.
Meanwhile, Mathana Kumar, having received a wild card entry, had an equally tough time after starting 14th and spent most of the seven laps at the back of the field before making positions to finish 12th.
“I changed the gearing in the morning and was not too happy. Then I made a few more changes and got confused. I was not happy, but tomorrow is another day and I want to make up,” said Mathana Kumar.
Ahmad Fazli Sham from Malaysia took the honours in the Underbone 130cc class after a thrilling battle while Thailand’s Apiwat Wongthanon continued his domination in the Asia Production 250cc race with his seventh win in nine starts.
Earlier, championship leader in the Volkswagen Vento Cup Ishan Dodhiwala consolidated his lead with a comfortable victory ahead of Karminder Pal Singh and Aditya Vijay Pawar.
Jeet Jhabakh who started tenth on the grid, finished a position below to seal the Junior Drivers Vento Cup title securing a sponsored place in the next season of Volkswagen Motorsport India’s one-make series.
The results (Provisional):
Asia Road Racing Championship – SuperSport 600cc (Race-1, 13 laps): 1. Anthony Keith West (Australia, Yamaha) (25mins, 21.592secs); 2. Decha Kraisart (Thailand, Yamaha) (25:26.378); Ahmad Yudhistira (Indonesia, Kawasaki) (25:27.378).
Underbone 130cc (Race-1, 7 laps): 1. Ahmad Fazli Sham (Malaysia, Yamaha) (17:19.913); 2. Md Amirul Ariff Musa (Malaysia, Honda) (17:20.514); 3. Md Izzat Zaidi (Malaysia, Yamaha) (17:21.451).
Asia Production 250cc (Race-1, 9 laps): 1. Apiwat Wongthananon (Thailand, Yamaha) (20:35.928); 2. Anupab Sarmoon (Thailand, Yamaha) (20:36.163); 3. Takehiro Yamamoto (Japan, Kawasaki) (20:37.437).
Asia Dream Cup (Race-1, 7 laps): 1. Hiroki Nakamura (Japan) (17:01.674); 2. Yassin Gabriel Somm (Indonesia) (17:05.258); 3. Muhd Febriansyah (Indonesia) (17:06.104).
MMSC One Make Championship – Honda CBR 250 (Open, Race-1, 5 laps): 1. Rajiv Sethu (12:48.696); 2. Mathana Kumar (12:49.304); 3. Mithun Kumar PK (12:52.629).
TVS Apache RTR 200 (Open, Race-1, 5 laps): 1. Prashanth Kumar (14:03.350); 2. Arvind Ganesh (14:04.598); 3. Shyam Shankar (14:04.784).
Suzuki Gixxer Cup (Open, Race-1, 5 laps): 1. Aaron Gunawardena (Sri Lanka) (14:10.851); 2. Meka Vidhuraj (14:12.635); 3. Vivian Gladwin (14:13.015).
Volkswagen Vento Cup (Race-1, 6 laps): 1. Ishaan Dodhiwala (19:51.066); 2. Karminder Pal Singh (20:02.198); 3. Aditya Vijay Pawar (20:08.234).