New Delhi, September 30: Teenager Rajiv Sethu and debutant Mathana Kumar brought some cheer in the Indian camp with top-10 placing in the two Asia Dream Cup free practice sessions as the fifth round of the Asia Road Racing Championship got off to a flier at the Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, on Friday.
While 19-year old Sethu put in consistent laps to finish seventh in both sessions, Mathana, 23, came in 10th and eighth despite a crash in the second session.
The third Indian in the Asia Dream Cup, Hari Krishnan Rajagopal, who is coming off two back-to-back podium finishes in the previous rounds, disappointed as he slipped to 16th and 14th.
Another home hope, Shankar Sarath Kumar (T. Pro Yuzy Honda NTS with WOW team) crashed heavily on out-lap as he set out for the third and final free practice session in the SuperSport 600cc class, suffering a broken collar bone in the process and requiring a trip to the hospital.
The crash culminated a day of frustration for Sarath Kumar who is recovering from a pre-season left knee injury. In both his previous two practice sessions today the toe slider of the left boot ripped off even as he improved on his timings.
Sethu, who suffered a hip injury after a crash in the National Championship earlier this year, seemed quite pleased with his performance, though he had some issues with his bike. “I think, I can do much better if we get the set-up right. We are working on this and hopefully, I will be able to go quicker tomorrow,” said Sethu.
Mathana Kumar was understandably excited about his international debut. “It means a lot for me and opens up opportunities to go forward. Today, I had decent timings but for the crash. I have to also get used to the bike (Honda CBR 250) which is different from the one ride in the MMSC One Make championship,” he said.
Hari Krishnan, who won a race in the second round and was placed second in the next outing, said: “Yes, I am a bit disappointed. I could have done much better. I had a few issues with the bike and then the crash. So, not very happy, but I hope I can put it all together over the next two days.”
Meanwhile, the SuperSport 600cc riders dished out some thrilling fare with Thai star and former two-times champion Decha Kraisart (Yamaha) topping the timesheets in two of the three practice sessions before Australia’s Anthony Keith West, also on a Yamaha, came up with a sizzling 01min, 55.912 secs lap in the final practice, the only rider today to clock a sub one minute, 56 seconds lap.
In the Underbone 130cc class, championship leader Wahyu Aji Trilaksana of Indonesia astride a Yamaha, qualified for pole position ahead of his closest rival Malaysian Md Amirul Musa (Honda) who was third behind Amhad Fazli Sham (Yamaha). The other championship contender Md Izzat Zaidi (Yamaha) was placed ninth.
Ayumu Tanaka from Japan on a Kawasaki, Thailand’s Somkiat Chantra (Honda) and compatriot Apiwat Wongthananon (Yamaha) shared the honours in the three Asia Prdouction 250cc practice sessions.
About Madras Motor Sports Club
The Madras Motor Sports Club has been the pioneer in developing and promoting motorsport in India since 1953, and we look to further improve in the years to come. It is the club’s endeavor to provide more opportunities for competitors and to this end, it has chalked out a progressive program for 2016. From the days of Sholavaram , MMSC built its own racetrack which was inaugurated in 1979 and secured its FIA Grade-2 international certification in 2015, making it the only club which owns such a facility. The club has organised the Porsche Super Cup, Formula Campos, Formula Asia, Asian touring car championships, Formula 3, Tata Prima Truck racing championship, the Asian 2-wheeler racing championships besides a host of other motorsport events over the years. The club also has active participation for its events from vehicle manufacturers who also use the Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) extensively for testing their products.