Cir­cuit Chal­lenge

Car India - - SPORT - Re­port: Joshua Vargh­ese Pho­tog­ra­phy: JK Tyre Mo­tor­sport

The 21st edi­tion of the JK Tyre FMSCI Na­tional Rac­ing Cham­pi­onship took off to a bril­liant start. We were at the Kari Mo­tor Speed­way, Coim­bat­ore, to wit­ness the ac­tion at close quar­ters

In cus­tom­ary fas hion, this sea­son will also have four rounds of which three will take place at the Kari Mo­tor Speed­way in Coim­bat­ore and the fi­nale will be held at the Buddh In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit. On the cards are two classes: the supremely fast Euro JK 18 and the fiercely com­pet­i­tive LGB For­mula 4. Ac­cord­ing to the new rules, from this sea­son on­wards, rac­ers are not al­lowed to par­tic­i­pate in both Euro JK 18 and LGB For­mula 4 classes; a de­ci­sion that en­abled some of the lesser ex­pe­ri­enced rac­ers to take their shot at glory. An­other notable men­tion for the sea­son was the ad­di­tion of an all-women team in the LGB For­mula 4 class.

Euro JK 18

Race One

The race week­end got un­der way with a thrilling qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion. The sec­ond run­ner-up from the pre­vi­ous year’s cham­pi­onship, Nayan S Chat­ter­jee (Mum­bai), set the fastest lap at 1:00.301 and claimed pole po­si­tion. Be­hind him were Karthik Tha­rani S (Chen­nai) and Nir­mal Uma Shankar (Chen­nai) in sec­ond and third places re­spec­tively. Un­for­tu­nately, Nayan was un­able to take ad­van­tage of his stel­lar form. A lap into the race, he had to pull into the pits due to a me­chan­i­cal fail­ure. Mean­while, Karthik placed him­self at the front of the pack and drove to vic­tory. Be­hind him, Nir­mal and Manav Sharma (Faridabad) claimed sec­ond and third po­si­tions re­spec­tively. Dur­ing the first few laps of the race, Yash Arad­hya

(Ben­galuru) was rac­ing in sec­ond place, fight­ing with Karthik for the top step on the podium. A mis­take saw him slip down the or­der and out of podium con­tention.

Race Two Due to a tech­ni­cal is­sue, the race had to be resched­uled for the fol­low­ing day. In a re­verse-grid up to six po­si­tions based on the pre­vi­ous race re­sult, Bryan Per­era (Sri Lanka) started on pole, fol­lowed by Yash and Ash­win Datta (Chen­nai) in sec­ond and third po­si­tions re­spec­tively. A thrilling race en­sued. Bryan drove with a cool head and won the race com­fort­ably, but Nayan stole the show. Start­ing from 12th place, Nayan wasted no time in pass­ing the other rac­ers. His ex­em­plary skill saw him gain 10 po­si­tions by the end of the race. He fin­ished in sec­ond place, more than three sec­onds ahead of Ash­win. Race Three

Race one and two were 15 laps apiece; this one was re­stricted to 14. Bryan started on pole once again, ahead of Nayan and Ash­win in sec­ond and third re­spec­tively. In sim­i­lar fash­ion to the pre­vi­ous race, Bryan did not ease off his po­si­tion at the head of the pack. Al­though he did come un­der im­mense pres­sure from Nayan at times, Bryan emerged the vic­tor and crossed the fin­ish line al­most two sec­onds ahead of Nayan. Ash­win claimed a lonely third place. Race Four

Al­though the sun was cov­ered by black clouds that threat­ened im­mi­nent rain, of­fi­cials de­cided to let the com­peti­tors race. A wise de­ci­sion, be­cause it turned out to be the most ex­cit­ing race in its class over the week­end. Yash was the man on pole po­si­tion ahead of Karthik and Nir­mal re­spec­tively. After he jumped the start, though, he put up a valiant fight in or­der to make up for the time penalty that awaited him at the end of the race. Yash held his po­si­tion at the fore for a ma­jor part of the race even as he faced heavy fire from Ash­win, Karthik, and Nayan. A mis­take dur­ing the fi­nal few laps of the race sent him slid­ing down the or­der.

Karthik emerged vic­to­ri­ous, leav­ing sec­ond and third places for Ash­win and Nayan re­spec­tively. The fastest lap in this class of races was set by Nayan at 1:00.257.

LGB For­mula 4

Race One

Chittesh Man­dody (Avalanche Rac­ing) over­came Vishnu Prasad’s (MS­port) chal­lenge and se­cured pole po­si­tion with a time of 1:10.654. Be­hind him on the grid were Vishnu and San­deep Ku­mar A (Dark Don Rac­ing). The de­fend­ing champ, Chittesh, shot to a great start off the line which is, per­haps, why he man­aged to stay ahead of his ri­vals for a while. Go­ing into the first cor­ner, it was ev­i­dent that there were four strong con­tenders for the top spot: Chittesh, Vishnu, San­deep, and Raghul Ran­gasamy (MS­port). Long after Raghul fell back, the other three were still go­ing at it with all they had. Al­though he held the first place for a con­sid­er­able part of the race, Chittesh ran out of luck be­cause his ma­chine failed him to­wards the end of the race. With the leader out of the way, Vishnu and San­deep be­gan push­ing their lim­its even fur­ther and were en­gaged in a close bat­tle that lasted all the way to the fin­ish line.

Ul­ti­mately, Vishnu emerged the win­ner, a sec­ond ahead of San­deep. Raghul fin­ished in third place.

Race Two

The sec­ond race be­gan with Ru­pesh Si­vaku­mar (MS­port) at pole fol­lowed by A Bala Prasath (MS­port) and Diljith T S (Avalanche Rac­ing) re­spec­tively. A bril­liant start by Ro­hit Khanna (Dark Don Rac­ing) pro­pelled him into the midst of the top three. By the end of the sec­ond lap, he had firmly es­tab­lished him­self as the leader of the race. As Ro­hit streaked away at the front, Chittesh worked his way up into podium con­tention. He also brought Vishnu along with him and both of them pulled out all the stops try­ing to best the other.

Ro­hit fin­ished with a com­fort­able vic­tory while Chittesh and Vishnu claimed sec­ond and third places re­spec­tively. Race Three

Ro­hit Khanna was the man at pole po­si­tion ahead of Chittesh and Vishnu re­spec­tively. In­clement weather forced the safety car on to the track. After four laps be­hind the safety car, the race was flagged off. A mis­take saw Ro­hit tum­ble down the or­der and the fight con­tin­ued among Chittesh, Vishnu, San­deep, and Raghul. On the penul­ti­mate lap, San­deep spun out at the first cor­ner, end­ing his podium am­bi­tion. Raghul emerged vic­to­ri­ous. He was fol­lowed by Chittesh and Vishnu in sec­ond and third places re­spec­tively.

The best lap in this class of races was set by San­deep at 1:11.024. Among the rook­ies, Vib­hav Parker (Goa) emerged as the top driver with 26 points to his credit.

Ahura Rac­ing Début in LGB For­mula 4

For the first time ever, an all-women team took part in the LGB For­mula 4 class. Chris­tened “Ahura Rac­ing”, the team com­prised six women: Han­suja C, Lea Daran, Man­isha Kelkar, Me­gaa K S, Priyam­vada Saradhi, and Dr Ri­tika Oberoi. Th­ese ladies won their places in the team from among over 60 women who par­tic­i­pated in the tal­ent hunt.

Ahura Rac­ing is an ini­tia­tive of three-time na­tional rac­ing cham­pion, Sarosh Hataria. The team can be eas­ily iden­ti­fied by their bright red cars, red uni­forms, and, of course, the ladies at the wheel.

The first round of the cham­pi­onship was a great learn­ing op­por­tu­nity for them. Me­gaa K S made the most of the first round; she fin­ished with the best re­sult (among her team-mem­bers) in two races. All things con­sid­ered, as rook­ies, they drove re­mark­ably well and will serve as an in­spi­ra­tion for as­pir­ing woman driv­ers. Fur­ther­more, with ev­ery­thing they learned from their début, we ex­pect th­ese women to come back stronger in the sec­ond round.

( Be­low) Karthik blurs across the line as he zoomed to vic­tory

( Left) Bryan hur­tles down the main straight un­chal­lenged

( Above) Karthik en route to his sec­ond vic­tory of the week­end

( Right) Vishnu battles his clos­est ri­vals

( Left) An­other com­mend­able per­for­mance from Bryan

( Above) Car num­ber one earns top spot

( Be­low) Raghul rolls out of pit lane to­wards a wel­learned vic­tory

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