Harpal Singh Bedi
Chennai: Local favourite Prabhu Arunagiri (Pacer Yamaha) and Hubballi’s Sarvesh Balappa (Axor Sparks Racing) claimed pole position in their respective categories for the fifth and final round of the Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship at the Madras International Circuit, here on Friday.
Arunagiri, third on the leaderboard in the Pro-Stock 165cc Open category, clocked a best lap of one minute, 55.045secs, while finishing the front row was the Petronas TVS Racing pair of KY Ahamed (01:55.556) and defending champion Jagan Kumar (01:55.757).
Championship leader Mathana Kumar (Pacer Yamaha) who leads the field by 17 points, qualified seventh for tomorrow’s Race-1. Stressed out after his bike’s battery burst due to overheating about 20 minutes before the qualifying session, Mathana played it safe and clocked a best lap of 01:56.423 to slot himself into seventh position on the grid.
Balappa, who has virtually clinched the championship in the Novice (Stock 165cc) category with five wins from eight starts for an unassailable 58-point lead, kept his cool during the qualifying session when he got stuck in traffic to clock a best lap of two minutes, 06.072secs to spearhead a front row sweep for Axor Sparks Racing.
Mysuru’s Varun Nanjundegowda (02:06.188) and Rohan Ramesh from Coimbatore (02:07.219) were placed second and third, respectively.
Earlier, veteran Rajini Krishnan (RACR Castrol Power1), who is chasing his 11th National career title, warmed for this weekend’s double-header in the premier Pro-Stock 301-400cc Open category with a flying lap of 01:51.639 ahead of Petronas TVS Racing pair of Deepak Ravikumar (01:52.159) and Jagan Kumar (01:52.494).