Coimbatore: For the second day running, young Ashwin Datta (MRF F1600) and veteran Arjun Balu (Indian Touring Cars) hogged the limelight with a triple and a double, respectively, as the second round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Racing Championship concluded at the Kari Motor Speedway, here on Sunday.
Datta, a 19-year old from Chennai and making his debut in the MRF F1600 class, finished the weekend by winning all the three races while Balu, 43, marked his return to racing after a five-year break by dominating the premier Indian Touring Cars class where he won both the races in imperious style.
In the morning, Datta, who had won the first race of the triple-header on Saturday, was off to a great start as he made three places in the very first lap before an incident brought out the Safety Car. On re-start, Datta wasted little time to ease past the front-runners and gradually opened up a commanding lead to emerge a creditable winner with Bengaluru teenager Yash Aradhya and Chennai’s Nabil Hussain following him over the finish line.
Datta, in just his third full season of racing, having graduated from junior Formula competitions, sustained the momentum by winning the third MRF F1600 race in the afternoon, this time, from flag to lights despite two Safety Car interruptions.
“The wins are unbelievable. I had good pace through the weekend. My progression in the past couple of seasons has been mainly due to my initial training at Meco Motorsports and later at Momentum Motorsports who nurtured me. Frankly, my target for the weekend was to finish in the top five, but am happy that everything came together,” said the 6ft, 2in tall Ashwin who dropped his weight from 94 Kgs to 72 Kgs in two months to get fit for the races.
Earlier today, Datta, representing Momentum Motorsports, clinched his second podium in Formula LGB 1300 class races by finishing second behind Nabil Hussain (MSport) while Sohil Shah (MSport) came in third. Incidentally, the trio won a race apiece in this weekend’s triple-header.
For Balu (Race Concepts), it was a memorable comeback this weekend. Watched by his family, he started the race from fourth on the reverse grid, but quickly moved to second as the pack braked into Turn-1. By the second lap, Balu had taken the lead when an incident brought the Safety Car out. On re-start, the former champion stepped up the pace, unaware of the hectic battle raging behind him. Ashish Ramaswamy (ARKA Motorsports), winner of two races in the first round in February but a non-finisher in yesterday’s first race, moved up from 11th to finish second ahead of veteran B Vijayakumar (Prime Racing).
Later, Veeresh Prasad (Race Concepts) from Bengaluru came up with a brilliant performance while winning the Super Stock race after starting from 13th on the grid. He cut through the field with ease and then, after chasing front-runner Deepak Ravikumar (Infinite Piston) for a few laps, made his move to hit the front. Thereafter, it was a virtual one-horse race as Veeresh Prasad ran out winner by a fair distance ahead of Ravikumar and K Srinivas Teja (Performance Racing).
Mikhail Merchant (Team Game Over) from Mumbai and Mamallapuram’s Raghul Rangasamy (Performance Racing) took the honours in the Indian Junior Touring Cars and Esteem Cup categories, respectively, that were run concurrently with the Super Stock cars.
Kolhapur’s Dhruv Mohite dominated the Volkswagen Ameo Cup double-header by achieving a double. Starting eighth on the reverse grid, he showed impressive pace in winning today’s second race from Affan Sadat Safwan Islam (Bangladesh) and Saurav Bandyopadhyay from Thane. The race was reduced from the scheduled 15 to 12 laps following incidents that led to a red flag after five laps and a Safety Car period on re-start.
The results (Provisional, all 15 laps unless mentioned):
MRF Formula 1600 (Race 2): 1. Ashwin Datta (Chennai) (17mins, 20.586secs); 2. Yash Aradhya (Bengaluru) (17:23.803); 3. Nabil Hussain (Chennai) (17:24.995). Race 3: 1. Ashwin Datta (Chennai) (20:00.619); 2. Nayan Chatterjee (Mumbai) (20:03.107); 3. Raghul Rangasamy (Mamallapuram) (20:04.163).
Indian Touring Cars (Race 2): 1. Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) (21:00.044); 2. Ashish Ramaswamy (Arka Motorsports) (21:06.030); 3. B Vijaya Kumar (21:09.814).
Super Stock (Race 2): 1. Veeresh Prasad (Race Concepts) (19:00.180); 2. Deepak Ravikumar (Infinite Piston) (19:07.638); 3. K Srinivas Teja (Performance Racing) (19:18.869).
Indian Junior Touring Cars (Race 2): 1. Mikhail Merchant (Team Game Over) (20:08.939); 2. Kamlesh Parmar (Team N1) (20:14.901); 3. Prabhu AS (ARKA Motorsports) (19:15.470). Esteem Cup (Race 2): 1. Raghul Ramasamy (Performance Racing) (19:33.803); 2. Vinod S (Team N1) (19:39.926).
Formula LGB 1300 (Race 3): 1. Nabil Hussain (MSport) (17:25.704); 2. Ashwin Datta (Momentum Motorsports) (17:32.692); 3. Sohil Shah (MSport) (17:32.936).
Volkswagen Ameo Cup (Race 2, 12 laps): 1. Dhruv Mohite (Kolhapur) (16:05.547); 2. Affan Sadat Safwan Islam (Chittagong, Bangladesh) (16:10.334); 3. Saurav Bandyopadhyay (Thane) (16:10.930).