Seasoned racers, rookies, and an all-new class took to the track to rack up points in the second round of the JK Tyre FMSCI National Racing Championship (NRC)
When the first round drew to a close, a few familiar names had collected some crucial points that would go a long way in their 2018 campaign. In addition to the pressure of maintaining their hold on the points table, these gentlemen also had to worry about rivals who were only a few points behind them; rivals who were determined to close the gap quickly. The man to beat in Euro JK 18 was Ashwin Datta (Tamil Nadu) and he was holding on to a feeble one-point lead. In the smaller LGB Formula 4 Class, Vishnu Prasad (MSport) also faced similar pressure because only a point separated him from his teammate.
A few newcomers were thrown into this drama. The second round marked the beginning of a new class, called the “JK Tyre Novice Cup”: a commendable move by the organizers to offer budding talent a chance to get acclimatized with the open-wheel LGB Formula 4 cars before they lock horns with the big boys. All that and more coming your way.
Euro JK 18 Race One
Nayan S Chatterjee (Maharashtra) set a scorching 1:00.514 lap and claimed pole position. Fortune finally seemed to favour the speedster who ran into a few issues during the first round. The lights went off and Nayan’s car squealed away to a great start. In the dramatic race that unfolded, he enjoyed a good fight with Karthik Tharani S (Tamil Nadu) before pulling off a five-second lead to cross the line in first place. Karthik had to settle for second place while Brayan Perera (Sri Lanka) claimed the last step on the podium.
The second race was full of drama and had a few moments of wheel-to-wheel racing. Spectators watched with bated breath as the racers pulled off some amazing moves to gain an advantage. A few of these moves caught the eye of Race Control and a couple of racers had to forfeit their final positions due
to time penalties. In this closely contested race, Nayan took home the win. Second and third places were claimed by Ashwin Datta (Tamil Nadu) and Yash Aradhya (Bengaluru) respectively.
Karthik lost his second-place finish and slipped down the order when he incurred a 20-second time penalty for pushing another car off the track. Similarly, Brayan also had to forfeit third place due to a five-second penalty for overtaking under the yellow flag. Nayan set the best lap of the race (1:00.602).
The previous race winners began the third race at the front of the pack. Unlike his previous couple of outings, Nayan did not run away with the win this time. Ashwin put forth a good challenge and stole the victory from Nayan with a half-second difference. Meanwhile, Karthik was engaged in battle with Yash whom he ultimately overcame to claim third place.
At the beginning of the final race, Nayan had to start five places down the order for changing his race car; which translated into a 10th-place start. This setback could have proved costly for the young man because he was tied at 43 points with his rivals, Ashwin and Karthik, before the race began. Nayan fought his way to the top and the trio put on quite a show for the fans with a good fight for the top spot. However, Brayan stole the win from all of them. Yash also sneaked past the trio and crossed the line in second place; however, a 10-second penalty for jump-start saw him tumble down the order.
Ashwin and Nayan claimed second and third places respectively. At the end of the second round, Ashwin sits at the top of the points table with 51 points. The two-point lead means that he is not out of Nayan’s (49 points) sights yet.
LGB Formula 4 Race One
The championship leader, Vishnu Prasad (MSport), qualified on pole, just ahead of the defending champion, Chittesh Mandody (Avalanche Racing), and Vishnu’s teammate and closest rival, Raghul Rangasamy (MSport). With a starting order like that, the race was going to be anything but mundane and they did not disappoint. During the course of the race, Chittesh dropped out of podium contention. Vishnu shook off his rivals and finished in first place. Rohit Khanna (Dark Don Racing) shot past Raghul and claimed second, denying Raghul a couple of extremely valuable points.
Reverse-grid start procedure meant that Vishnu had to start from the seventh position. That did not seem to deter the quick racer. He pulled away from the pack, taking Raghul and Rohit along with him. Unlike the previous race, Vishnu did not hang around long enough for his arch-rivals to make a move and drove to victory with a comfortable six-second lead. Raghul took second place ahead of Rohit.
Vishnu was on pole again but this time he was not going to get away from Raghul that easily. Both teammates in their bright yellow cars were soon engaged in a fight for the lead. Fortune favoured Raghul in that tussle and propelled him to a welldeserved first place. Right on his tail, Vishnu took second place, missing a hat-trick victory. Rohit took third place although he set the fastest lap at 1:11.095.
At the end of the second round, Vishnu has increased the gap at the top of the table by five points from his teammate, Raghul. Of the rookies who were racing on the same grid, Vibhav Parker (Privateer) has the most points and is leading the Rookie championship.
JK Tyre Novice Cup Race One
Fresh on the grid, the newbies proved that they were forces to be reckoned with. Hashim EKP (DTS Racing) took pole position after setting in a hot lap almost on a par with the pros in the LGB Formula 4 class. Right behind him were his teammate, Viswas Vijayaraj, and Ashwin Nair (Prudent Motorsports). Unlike the other classes, the Novice Cup had relatively new drivers. The youngsters came packing a lot of energy and the will to prove themselves.
The race was packed with drama from the first lap itself. Viewers were rewarded with raw racing action as the drivers fought tooth and nail for any advantage they could get; usually making manoeuvres that an experienced driver might dismiss as “not worth the risk”.
K Suriya Varathan (MSport) emerged the victor in the first outing. He was followed by Siddharth Mehdiratta (Momentum Motorsports) and Jaswanth N (DTS Racing) in second and third places respectively. Suriya also set the fastest lap at 1:12.534.
Although he was unable to finish the first race, Viswas made a strong comeback by winning the second race. The fight was by no means an easy one. During the course of the race, it was evident that the fight was going to be a three-way clash among Viswas, Siddharth, and Hashim. Viswas had to ward off a strong challenge from Siddharth, who ultimately finished in second place, just six-tenths of a second behind him. Hashim drove to a third-place finish just one-tenth of a second behind Siddharth. That was an intense race and had the crowd chewing their fingernails in anticipation to see which of the boys would emerge the victor.
The tables were turned for the third race and gave the other rookies a taste of podium finishes as well. Tijil Rao (Momentum Motorsports) managed his position well and kept a decent three-second lead over his closest rival as he crossed the line in first place. Immediately behind him, Huzaifa Tinwala (Prudent Motorsports) claimed second place, leaving Yokeshwaran Krishnavelu (MSport) to settle for the last step on the podium. Ashwin Nair lost second place after he earned a 10-second penalty for “avoidable contact”.
At the end of their first outing, Siddharth leads the pack with 16 points; merely a point away from Viswas. It will be great to watch young talent like this grow over the upcoming rounds. Kudos to JK Tyre Motorsport for giving talented drivers like these the opportunity they deserve.
Nayan was on the top step twice this weekend
Ashwin leads the championship after the second round
Brayan on his way to a wellearned victory
Raghul denied Vishnu a hat-trick by winning the last race
Vishnu extended his lead in the championship with consistent performances
( Above) Suriya drew first blood in the Novice Cup
( Above) Tijil crossed the line in first place
Viswas sporting the famous Lightning McQueen’s racing number