Chennai: On a day which began in heavy showers and ended in bright sunshine, Coimbatore veteran Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) completed a grand double in the Indian Touring Cars class to head the leaderboard as the fourth round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Car Racing Championship concluded at the MMRT, here today.
Also achieving a double was Bengaluru’s Rithvik Thomas (Race Concepts) in the Super Stock category.
Overshadowing the day’s proceedings was the 10-car pile-up in the MRF F1600 race that started in heavy showers and lasted barely 300 metres. as pole-sitter Yash Aradhya spun when he put wheels into a puddle, thus losing grip. The cars behind him, with nowhere to go, crashed into one another resulting in the abandonment of the race.
None of the drivers suffered injuries barring cuts and bruises, but with 10 cars badly damaged, it was decided to cancel today’s scheduled three races and run them in the next round in September.
“The next round in September, will thus have seven races in MRF F1600 category. It was an unfortunate incident with Yash running into a puddle and spinning. With so many cars badly damaged, we decided to put off today’s three races and have them in the next round,” said Chairman of the Meet Vicky Chandhok.
In Race-1 of the ITC category, that was declared “wet”, Balu and Patel were locked in a thrilling fight at the head of the field. Starting from pole, Balu maintained his position with Patel in close attendance. Three laps from the finish, Patel moved past Balu, but slipped back to second in the next lap when he ran wide at the last corner. Balu moved to the front and went on to win.
In Race-2, run in fair weather and reverse grid, the three VW Ventos of Patel, Dhruv Shivaji Mohite and Ishaan Dodhiwala, switched to slicks, while Balu, starting eighth, remained on wet tyres. It was not long before the four moved to the front with Mohite pulling off a fine win ahead of Patel and Balu. The third race in this category, was a virtual procession with Balu, starting from pole, winning comfortably and unchallenged, followed by Patel and Dodhiwala. His two wins this weekend, took Balu’s tally to 148, way ahead of Mohite (119).
Spearheading a podium sweep for Race Concepts team, Sudanand Daniel, an airline pilot based in Singapore, won a dramatic wet first race in the Super Stock category for his maiden success of the season, with Rithvik Thomas and R Rajashekar in tow. RP Rajaran (Performance Racing) took the honours in Race-2 ahead of Rithvik Thomas and Daniel. In the next outing, Thomas survived a close fight with Daniel for his second win of the weekend. Rajarajan completed the podium.
Jeet Jhabakh (Hyderabad) and Pune’s Prateek Sonawane won a race apiece in the Volkswagen Ameo Class category. After eight races over three rounds this season, Mumbai’s Saurav Bandyopadhyay (305 points), winner of the first race yesterday, leads the championship in this category followed by Sidharth Mehdiratta (298) from Lucknow and Sonawane (294).