Chennai: Amidst mounting excitement and expectations the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Racing Championship enters a crucial phase with the fourth round starting at the MMRT here on Friday.The chase for titles in various categories gets more frenetic than ever while the front-runners keep an eye on the leaderboard. Every point won will be worth its weight in gold.
The weekend card has races in the MRF F1600, saloon cars (Indian Touring Cars, Super Stock, Indian Junior Touring Cars and Esteem Cup), and the Formula LGB 1300 besides the Volkswagen Ameo Cup, a one-make championship. Also being run is the MMSC fmsci Indian National Drag Racing Championship, post-lunch on Saturday and Sunday, for both two-wheelers and cars.
The season, so far, has been so topsy-turvy that Chennai teenager Ashwin Datta (96 points), despite three wins on the trot in the MRF F1600 class, is only 12 ahead of Mamallapuram’s Raghul Rangasamy.
The previous round witnessed three different winners – Rangasamy, Gowtham Parekh (68) and Sandeep Kumar (67) – in the triple-header. With the championship winner in this category eligible for a ticket to the Mazda Road To Indy shootout in the United States, an MMSC initiative, the title contenders have everything to play for. The winner of the shootout is eligible for a scholarship of USD 200,000.
The situation in other categories is no different. Bengaluru’s Ashish Ramaswamy (101) leads his Arka Motorsports team-mate from Coimbatore Nikanth Ram (84) in the premier Indian Touring Cars class that has seen some high quality driving. If Ramaswamy started the season with a double in the first round, veteran Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) marked his return to racing by winning both the races in the next round while defending champion Arjun Narendran (Arka Motorsports) emulated the feat in the third round. Balu (68) and Narendran (50) are placed fourth and fifth, respectively, behind another veteran from Coimbatore B Vijayakumar of Prime Racing (78).
A mere half-a-point separate leader Srinivasa Teja (Perf ormance Racing) and Varun Anekar (Race Concepts) in the Super Stock category while Vinod Subramaniam (73.5) of Team N1 leads Rangasamy (68) of Performance Racing in the Esteem Cup and Prabhu AS (62) of Arka Motorsports is ahead of Chrys D’Souza (59) of Unimek Racing in the Indian Junior Touring Cars.
Equally competitive has been the Formula LGB 1300 class which is developing into a three-cornered battle involving Nabil Hussain (MSport) who heads the leaderboard with 95 points followed by Ashwin Datta (Momentum Motorsports) and Sohil Shah (MSport) who are tied second with 83 apiece.
Kolhapur’s Dhruv Mohite, with three wins in five starts, leads the Volkswagen Ameo Cup with 220 points, but needs all the points he can to stay ahead of Saurav Bandyopadhyay (214) from Mumbai and Hyderabad’s Jeet Jhabakh (204) who have won one race apiece.