Ashwin, Balu clinch titles in National Racing
Expectedly, Ashwin Sundar (Dark Don Racing) and Arjun Balu (Tiger Sport India) clinched the titles in the LGB Formula 4 and Indian Touring Cars classes in the fifth round of the 15th JK Tyre-FMSCI National Racing championship, here Sunday.
Sundar, winning all the three races over the weekend, picked up a total of 75 points that took his championship tally to an unassailable 186 with a round left.
Likewise, Balu, driving a Honda City, stamped his authority with another brilliant run and ended the weekend with 50 points from two victories to move to 168 that put him clear of his rivals.
The 22-year old Sundar, who had won two races Saturday, again dominated the third outing Sunday as led the field from start to finish in an incident-filled race that saw a re-start following a pile-up at Turn-2 and a Safety Car period due to another accident.
In the process, Sundar led a 1-2 finish for his team Dark Don Racing as Sarosh Hataria came in second for the third time this weekend. Hataria, thus, moved to second spot in the championship standings with 132 points, 26 ahead of Saran Vikram (Mars Racing) who retired after the Turn-2 incident.
"My championship win is due to team effort and though it might have looked like comfortable wins from the outside, I had to work hard because Sarosh (Hataria) was on my tail right through and if did not have an issue with the throttle body, then the races would have been far more closer," said Sundar who has six wins to his credit.
Balu too was as dominant in winning the ITC (Super Saloon) race as he opened up a comfortable lead by the end of the first lap and went on to complete a brilliant victory ahead of veteran Narayanaswamy Leelakrishnan (Big Foots Racing) whose second podium of the weekend took his tally to 117.
On his part, Leelakrishnan had to work hard for his fourth consecutive second place finish. Starting second on the grid, he lost position after a poor start and then fought his way back from sixth with a superlative drive.
For Balu, returning to full-time racing after a 13-year interval during which he competed in the Indian National Rally Championship representing Team MRF and achieved considerable success.
"I am extremely happy that I clinched the championship and all credit to my team that put in so much effort to prepare a winning car. I had to miss the first round (due to a bout of jaundice) and thereafter, we all had to work hard to make up," said Balu after notching his fifth consecutive and sixth win of the season.
Meanwhile, young Feroze Khan, boasting of a strong racing pedigree as his father Ayub was a former National champion, moved to the top of the leaderboard in the Indian
Junior Touring Cars class by winning the second race that saw him move to 173 points, well clear of Diljith Shaji (140) of Eram Group and Fahad Kutty (137) of Team Game Over who could not win a single point this weekend.
In the Volkswagen Polo R Cup one-make series, championship leader Ameya Walavalkar enjoyed a profitable weekend by winning the first race and finishing second in the next outing behind Rahil Noorani who was elevated after the original winner Akhil Khushlani was docked 20 seconds for false start.
LGB Formula 4 (10 laps): Ashwin Sundar (Dark Don Racing) 1 (20mins, 57.155secs); Sarosh Hataria (Dark Don Racing) 2 (20:58.236); Chittesh Mandody (Meco Racing) 3 (21:04.345). Championship standings (top 3): Ashwin Sundar 1 (186 points); Sarosh Hataria 2 (132); Saran Vikram 3 (106).
Indian Touring Cars (10 laps): Arjun Balu (Tiger Sport India) 1 (19:57.393); N Leelakrishnan (Big Foots Racing) 2 (20:01.547); V Ramnarayanan (Big Foots Racing) 3 (2:00.595). Championship standings: Arjun Balu 1 (168); N Leelakrishnan 2 (117); Vijaykumar Rajvirdhan 3 (93).
Indian Junior Touring Cars (10 laps): S Feroze Khan 1 (22:18.470); S Sreeram (Mega Racing) 2 (22:18.915); Diljith Shaji (Eram Group) 3 (22:19.313). Championship standings: Feroze Khan 1 (173); Diljith Shaji 2 (140); Fahad Kutty 3 (137).
Polo R Cup (Race 1) 10 laps: Ameya Walavalkar 1 (20:28.528); Avdumber Hede 2 (20:36.307); Saurav Bandopadhyay 3 (20:46.396). Race 2 (10 laps): Rahil Noorani 1 (20:31.102); Ameya Walavalkar 2 (20:39.396); Vishnu Prasad 3 (20:40.796).