• Championship poised for thrilling finale
  • Title contenders locked in fierce contests for points

Chennai: The MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Racing Championship 2018, is set for a grand and thrilling finale as the fifth and final round commences at the MMRT here on Friday with titles up for grabs in all categories.

The busy weekend will also see races in Formula 4 South-East Asia Championship and the Caterham 7 Asian Zonal Championship with drivers from Europe and Asia on the grid.

Chairman of the Meet Vicky Chandhok said: “It has been a long season, starting in February this year. We are pleased that the number of entries has shown a significant upward trend, especially in MRF Formula 1600, Super Stock and the Formula LGB 1300. We are indebted to MRF Tyres who have added muscle in more ways than one to our efforts to attract more youngsters to racing.

“This is the biggest positive for us at the MMSC apart from the appreciation we have received from competitors and spectators alike for the upgrades we carried out at the MMRT over the past one year. We plan to build on this to provide better and safer racing environment as we go along.”

Of special interest would be the triple-header in the MRF Formula 1600 class where four drivers – Raghul Rangasamy (134 points), Goutham Parekh (123), Sandeep Kumar (115) and Ashwin Datta (110) – are in contention for for the championship with a maximum of 75 points on offer.

The Championship winner will earn the right to contest in the Mazda Road To Indy shootout as part of MMSC’s initiative to provide Indians an international platform to further their racing careers. The shootout, whose winner is eligible for a scholarship of USD 200,000, will be held in the United States later this year.

The race for titles is as tight in the premier Indian Touring Cars class where a maximum of 50 points are up for grabs over two races. Bengaluru’s Ashish Ramaswamy of Arka Motorsports (131 points) and veteran Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) from Coimbatore (111) are the front-runners.

Not far behind them are two others from Coimbatore and Arka Motorsports team-mates Nikanth Ram (98) and defending champion Arjun Narendran (93) who missed the first two rounds, but covered a lot of ground by winning three races from four starts, besides a second-place finish.

The three other saloon car categories which have two races apiece with 50 points at stake, are also poised for a close finish. Chennai’s Srinivas Teja (Performance Racing) heads the Super Stock class with 97 points, ahead of Varun Anekar (75) of Race Concepts, Bengaluru, with Chennai’s Deepak Ravikumar (64) of Infinite Pistons and RP Rajarajan (63.5) of Performance Racing in tow.

Raghul Rangasamy (93, Performance Racing) of Mammallapuram and Erode’s Vinod Subramaniam (82.5, Team N1) top the Esteem Cup while it is a straight fight between Namakkal’s Prabhu AS (82, Arka Motorsports) and Goa’s Chrys D’Souza (75.5, Unimek Racing) in the Indian Junior Touring Cars class.

Only nine points separate the top three of Sohil Shah (126, MSport) from Bengaluru, and Chennai lads Ashwin Datta (123, Momentum Motorsports) and Nabil Hussain (117, MSport) in the popular Formula LGB 1300 category that has attracted most number of entries this season.

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