• Fluent win for Ashish Ramaswamy in saloon car race
  • Felipe Drugovich seals MRF Challenge title

Chennai: Bengaluru lad Ashish Ramaswamy (Arka Motorsports) destroyed the field in the saloon car race to launch his campaign in the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Racing Championship 2018 in style at the MMRT circuit, here on Friday.

The day’s focus, however, was on the fourth and final round of MRF Challenge. Championship leader Felipe Drugovich, the 17-year old from Brazil was not the fastest man on the track as he finished third and sixth in the double-header which was enough for him to seal the 2017 title with still two more races to be run on Sunday.

While Drugovich sealed the championship, Rinus van Kalmthout from the Netherland and Indonesian Presley Martono won the day’s first and second race, respectively. The results took Drugovich’s tally to 283, well ahead of Martono (219) and Kalmthout (212).

Starting third on the grid behind pole-sitter Martono and Drugovich in the first race, Kalmthout was off to a brilliant start as he slipped past the front runners to take the lead in the very first lap. Thereafter, it was a virtual procession as the Dutchman scored his third win of the season ahead of Martono and Drugovich who was subsequently docked 10 grid positions for the next race due to “fuel infringement”.

The second race was red-flagged after just one lap following three different incidents, including that involving reverse grid pole-sitter Alex Karkosik (Poland) who spun off the track. On re-start, Singapore’s Danial Frost led much of the race, reduced to 15 laps before he went off and dropped to third while Martono won from Kalmthout.

The saloon car race was a one-horse affair as pole-sitter Ashish Ramaswamy never looked back after a flying start and finished some 30 seconds ahead of veteran B Vijaya Kumar (Prime Racing) and V Nikanth Ram (Arka Motorsports) who kept exchanging track positions in the latter part of the 12-lap race.

Even as Ashish pulled away into the distance, Nikanth Ram opened a good lead over Vijaya Kumar. However, in the second half of the race, Nikanth Ram spun, conceding his advantage to Vijaya Kumar who caught up and moved into second spot. Ram then barely held on to his podium position with another veteran Vidya Prakash sitting on his tail on the last lap.

Prabhu AS (Arka Motorsports), RP Rajarajan and Raghul Rangasamy, both Performance Racing, took the honours in the Indian Junior Touring Cars, Super Stock and Esteem categories, respectively, of the saloon car race.

The results (Provisional):

MRF Challenge – Race 1 (20 laps): 1. Rinus van Kalmthout (Netherlands) (30mins, 22.676secs); 2. Presley Martono (Indonesia) (30:29.174); 3. Felipe Drugovich (Brazil) (30:31.552). Race 2 (15 laps): 1. Presley Martono (Indonesia) (22:50.733); 2. Rinus Van Kalmthout (Netherlands) (22:52.713); 3. Danial Frost (Singapore) (22:54.318).

National Championship (Saloon cars, 12 laps): Indian Touring Cars – 1. Ashish Ramaswamy (Arka Motorsports) (23:18.381); 2. B Vijaya Kumar (Prime Racing) (23:48.765); 3. V Nikanth Ram (Arka Motorsports) (23:56.477).

Indian Junior Touring Cars: 1. Prabhu AS (Arka Motorsports) (23:48.082); 2. Kamlesh Parmar (Team N1) (24:08.005); 3. Nikunj D Vagh (Team N1) (24:48.633).

Super Stock: 1. RP Rajarajan (Performance Racing) (25:04.844); 2. Srinivas Teja K (Performance Racing) (23:23.023 +1 lap); 3. Swajit Acharaker (Team N1) (23:42.600 +1 lap).

Esteem Cup: 1. Raghul Rangasamy (Performance Racing) (24:46.448); 2. Vinod S (Team N1) (24:58.109).

Vidiem Superbikes (Support Race, 8 laps) – 600cc: 1. Siddhanth Koundiya (Bengaluru) (15:32.243); 2. Vishwadev Muraleedharan (Coimbatore) (15:46.550); 3. Arthur Fernando (Tuticorin) (15:46.887).  1000cc: 1. Rish Agarwal (Bengaluru) (15:06.577); 2. Himanish Amla (Bengaluru) (15:32.545); 3. Yokeshwaran K (Coimbatore) (16:03.838).

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