Arjun Balu, Fahad Kutty seal championship title

Fahad Kutty (No.27), who sealed the championship in the MRF Saloon Cars category (Feb 12)
  • Suriya Varathan trumps MRF F1600 field
  • Arjun Balu, Fahad Kutty seal championship title
  • Impressive win for Viswas Vijayaraj in Formula LGB1300

Chennai, February 12: Two Coimbatore racers, teenager Suriya Varathan and veteran Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) lit up the fourth and final round of the MRF MMSC fmscil Indian National Car Racing Championship 2021 with remarkable wins in their respective categories at the MMRT, here on Saturday.

Arjun Balu (No.39) en route to winning the Indian Touring Cars race (Feb 12)

Balu, the 47-year old defending champion, who qualified for pole in the morning by setting a lap record of one minute, 49.023 seconds in a Honda City, chalked up his fifth win of the season and with that the championship in the Indian Touring Cars category with one more race left, Varathan, only 18, scored a fluent win from pole in the premier MRF Formula 1600 class.

Nellore’s Viswas Vijayaraj, winner of the Formula LGB 1300 Race-1 (Feb 12)

Equally impressive was Nellore’s Viswas Vijayaraj (DTS Racing) who won the Formula LGB 1300 race in style, ahead of two Momentum Motorsport rivals, championship leader Tijil Rao from Bengaluru and local ace Deepak Ravikumar. Teenager Tijil consolidated his position on the leaderboard and requires only 12 points from the last race to be run on Sunday, to clinch the title in this category.

Meanwhile, Mumbai’s 38-year old Fahad Kutty (Redline Racing) recorded his fourth win of the season in the MRF Saloon Cars (Toyota Etios) category to seal the championship in this class. His team-mate Anand Prasad from Chennai, returning to active racing after a 14-year break, took the honours in the second race of the day.

Ghaziabad’s Anmol Singh Sahil roared to his second consecutive win in the Volkswagen Polo category, but Sandeep Kumar (Chennai), with a third place finish behind Pune’s Oshan Kothadiya, continues to lead the championship, enjoying a healthy 61-point advantage with two more races to be run on Sunday.

Coimbatore’s Suriya Varathan (No.14), winner of the MRF F1600 Race-1 (Feb 12)

Varathan drove brilliantly in the eight-lap MRF F1600 race starting from pole despite being constantly harried by Agra youngster Shahan Ali Mohsin and Bengaluru’s Chirag Ghorpade. He not only survived the close attention but also a Safety Car period following an on-track incident, which left the drivers with a three-lap sprint to the finish. “I had won the first race of the season, but suffered a crash thereafter which shook my confidence. However, I had some good practice and test sessions in the car and managed to put it all together today,” said Varathan who is currently placed third in the championship behind Shahan Ali and Chirag Ghorpade.

Arjun Balu, who won the championship in the Indian Touring Cars category (Feb 12)

Balu, on the other hand, left nothing to chance as he was quick off the line from pole and built up a massive lead for a comfortable win. “It is certainly great to win the championship. It has been a very challenging season as the team had to deal with a lot of issues. However, I am happy at the way the car performed for which I thank the entire Race Concepts team for working on it for long hours. And yes, the record lap in the qualies was as satisfying,” said Balu who moved to 79 points for an insurmountable lead over his nearest rival, Hyderabad’s Jeet Jhabakh, with a maximum of 12.5 points on offer in the final race of the season.

Provisional results (all 8 laps unless mentioned):

MRF Formula 1600 (Race-1): 1. Suriya Varathan (Coimbatore) (17mins, 29.252secs); 2. Shahan Ali Mohsin (Agra) (17:29.511); 3. Chirag Ghorpade (Bengaluru) (17:30.188).

Indian Touring Cars (Race-1): 1. Arjun Balu (Race Concepts, Coimbatore) (15:16.979); 2. Jeet Jhabakh (Rayo Racing, Hyderabad) (15:25.150); 3. Ishaan Dodhiwala (Rayo Racing, Hyderabad) (15:26.345).

Indian Junior Touring Cars (Race-1): 1. Varun Anekar (Race Concepts, Bengaluru) (15:50.484); 2. Hatim Shabbir Jamnagarwala (Performance Racing, Chennai) (16:18.581); 3. K Srinivas Teja (Performance Racing, Chennai) (16:25.152).

Super Stock (Race-1): 1. RP Raja Rajan (Performance Racing, Chennai) (16:13.456); 2. Deepak Ravikumar (Performance Racing, Chennai) (16:13.947); 3. Rithvik Thomas (Race Concepts, Bengaluru) (16:15.609).

Formula LGB 1300 (Race-1): 1. Viswas Vijayaraj (DTS Racing, Nellore) (15:22.116); 2. Tijil Rao (Momentum Motorsports, Bengaluru) (15:22.553); 3. Deepak Ravikumar (Momentum Motorsports, Chennai) (15:23.275).

Volkswagen Polo (Race-1): 1. Anmol Singh Sahil (Ghaziabad) (15:58.466); 2. Oshan Kothadiya (Pune) (15:58.852); 3. Sandeep Kumar (Chennai) (15:59.430).

MRF Saloon Cars (Toyota Etios) Race-1: 1. Fahad Kutty (Redline Racing, Mumbai) (16:39.303); 2. Anand Prasad (Redline Racing, Chennai) (16:39.677); 3. Justin Singh (Redline Racing, Delhi) (16:46.523). Race-2 (10 laps): 1. Anand Prasad (Redline Racing, Chennai) (20:59.670); 2. Angad Matharoo (Redline Racing, Chandigarh) (21:05.286); 3. Zahan Commissariat (Redline Racing, Mumbai) (21:08.907).

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