CHENNAI: The MMSC FMSCI Indian National Racing Championships 2016 for four-wheelers resumes this weekend after a four-week break at the MMRT track in Sriperumbudur, near here, with MRF Formula 1600 along with three categories of saloon cars besides the rookie Formula LGB making for a card of 12 races in the second round commencing on Friday, March 4.

The MRF F1600, with 15 cars on the grid, will no doubt highlight the weekend’s programme with four races, two each on Saturday and Sunday. Last year’s champion Karthik Tharanisingh has enjoyed a head-start, having won both the races in the first round held at the same venue in January.

Tharanisingh will be looking to consolidate the early gains by sustaining the fine form he is in. However, despite his dominating start which has put him 20 points clear of the field, he will have to again deal with some serious competition from the likes of Goutham Parekh, Anindith Reddy and Raghul Rangasamy, all of whom are tied on 30 points, ahead of the talented Sandeep Kumar (22).

It is early days yet in the championship and with plenty more to play for, and the MRF F1600 series promises rich action in the coming rounds.

The winner of the MRF Formula Ford 1600 will qualify for the Mazda Road to Indy shootout in the United States in December.

Adding spice to the proceedings will be the popular saloon car races which have three grids – the top-end Indian Touring Cars, Indian Junior Touring Cars and the Super Stock – with a total of 38 entries that should throw up some exciting wheel-to-wheel competition.

The ITC, like the Formula LGB 1300, join the championship after missing the first round, and it has always showcased the engineering talent given the modifications that are permitted besides race craft.

The IJTC witnessed some keen competition in the first round that threw up two different winners in the double-header with Keith Desouza (UNIMEK Racing) topping the first outing and Anant Pithawalla (Team N1) taking the honours in the next from a reverse grid.

In the Super Stock, Adith KC of Race Concepts (Bengaluru) heads the leaderboard with a win and a second place finish while Alisha Abdullah (RAD Racing), a two-wheeler racer who has moved to saloon cars, performed creditably for two podium finishes to be placed second in the championship.

Reflecting on the championship so far, MMSC President Ajit Thomas said: “The 2016 season in many ways, is a high watermark for us at the MMSC. We are happy that new season started on an exciting note in January, but more importantly, the four-wheeler championship opens up a new avenue for our young racers through MMSC’s tie-up with Mazda Road to Indy. So, I expect some exciting competition, especially in the MRF F1600 which is the feeder series for Mazda Road to Indy.

“As for the second round this weekend, we have received good number of entries, especially in the saloon car categories which is likely to dish out some close and thrilling races.”

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