Coimbatore: Teenager Ashwin Datta and Arjun Balu delivered standout victories in the MRF F1600 and Indian Touring Cars categories, respectively, to set alight the second round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Racing Championship at the Kari Motor Speedway, here on Saturday.
Also notching wins were Bengaluru’s Varun Anekar (Race Concepts) in the Super Stock class, Chris D’Souza (Unimek Racing) from Goa (Indian Junior Touring Cars) and Erode’s Vinod S (Team N1) in the Esteem Cup. The trio emerged unscathed from an incident-filled race of combined 16-car grid that witnessed two Safety Car periods.
The two Formula LGB 1300 races witnessed close competition with Sohil Shah (MSport) from Bengaluru winning the first outing after a hectic scrap with team-mate Nabil Hussain from Chennai while Ashwin Datta took the second race that witnessed a couple of crashes, but drivers escaping unhurt. Datta, only 19, drove brilliantly after dropping from second to fourth and overtook three cars to jump to the front and eventually win the race.
In sharp contrast, Ashwin Datta earlier enjoyed an untroubled ride to victory in the first of the three MRF F1600 races scheduled for the weekend. Having started from pole position, Datta drove a near-flawless race to win by the proverbial country mile. Behind him, Raghul Rangasamy, hailing from the temple town of Mamallapuram, fought his way to second spot ahead of Chennai’s Nirmal Umashanker. The remaining two races will be run on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Kolhapur’s Dhruv Mohite put in a command performance to win the Volkswagen Ameo Cup race, initially losing track position after starting from pole. Finishing second behind him were Jeet Jhabakh (Hyderabad), who led briefly, and Thane lad Saurav Bandyopadhyay.
For 43-year old Balu from Coimbatore, it was a comfortable lights-to-flag victory. Starting from pole position, he gradually built up a sizeable lead with Ashish Ramaswamy (ARKA Motorsports) and veteran Vidyaprakash (Prime Racing) in tow. However, Ashish, winner of two races in the first round in February, retired after his engine expired and it allowed Vidyaprakash and team-mate B Vijayakumar, also from Coimbatore, to second and third positions which they maintained till the finish.
“Everything went well in the race and my focus was to put in consistent laps without sacrificing my pace. I could see that after three laps, I had pulled a decent gap. More importantly, this victory is dedicated to my team Race Concepts who worked so hard in the past few days to prepare the car. We were a bit nervous after the last minute changes to the car to comply with the regulations. I always respected my competitors and so did not take anything for granted despite qualifying on pole position,” said Balu who began his motorsport career in 1992 as a racer before getting into rallying in 1995, followed by an odd appearance in racing competition.
The results (Provisional, all 15 laps unless mentioned):
MRF F1600 (Race 1): 1. Ashwin Datta (Chennai) (15mins, 52.195secs); 2. Raghul Rangasamy (Mamallapuram) (15:59.749); 3. Nirmal Umashanker (Chennai) (16:03.412).
Indian Touring Cars (Race 1): 1. Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) (16:38.541); 2. D Vidya Prakash (Prime Racing) (16:46.128); 3. B Vijay Kumar (Prime Racing) (16:47.238).
Super Stock (Race 1): 1. Varun Anekar (Race Concepts) (22:43.752); Deepak Ravikumar (Infinite Piston) (22:45.806); 3. K Srinivas Teja (Performance Racing) (22:48.777).
Indian Junior Touring Cars (Race 1): 1. Chrys D’Souza (Unimek Racing) (22:54.799); 2. Prabhu AS (ARKA Motorsports) (22:57.507); 3. Nikunj Vagh (Team N1) (23:01.287). Esteem Cup (Race 1): 1. Vinod S (Team N1) (22:50.081). Only one finisher.
Formula LGB 1300 (Race 1): 1. Sohil Shah (MSport) (19:20.665); 2. Nabil Hussain (MSport) (19:21.179); 3. A Balaprasath (DTS Racing) (19:22.636). Race 2:. Ashwin Datta (Momentum Motorsports) (17:32.137); 2. Rupesh Sivakumar (MSport) (17:51.678); 3. Nabil Hussain (MSport) (17:55.093).
Volkswagen Ameo Cup (Race 1): 1. Dhruv Mohite (Kohlapur) (17:44.976); 2. Jeet Jhabakh (Hyderabad) (17:49.205); 3. Saurav Bandyopadhyay (Thane) (17:54.758).