National Racing: Double for Sundar, Balu excels again
Chennai, Oct 13 (IANS) Championship leaders Ashwin Sundar (Dark Don Racing) and Arjun Balu (Tiger Sport Racing) consolidated their positions in the LGB Formula 4 and Indian Touring Car classes, respectively, with superlative victories in the fifth round of the JK Tyre-FMSCI National Racing Championship here Saturday.
The 22-year old Sundar won both the races ahead of team-mate Sarosh Hataria, Balu to pick up 50 points that took his tally to 161. Gautham Parekh (Wallace Sports) came third in both the outings.
But Sundar had to wage a stiff battle with Hataria in the first race when the duo exchanged leads. However, towards the end, Sundar regained his position in the front after Hataria spun, but without losing his track position.
In the second race, Sundar started fourth and Hataria third due to reverse grid formation, but it made no difference as the duo yet again broke through to finish in that order with Parekh trailing in third.
Meanwhile, Saran Vikram (Mars Racing), second in the championship, could garner just 20 points after a disappointing sixth in the first race and fourth in the second to slip to third place (104 points) on the leaderboard behind Hataria whose 36 points took his tally to 114.
Earlier, classy Balu, driving a Honda City, put in yet another authoritative performance to win by the proverbial country mile and move to 143 points.
Veteran Narayanaswamy Leelakrishnan (Big Foots Racing) finished second that took him past a non-finishing Vijaykumar Rajvirdhan on the leaderboard with 99 points. Rajvirdhan remained on 93 following his retirement after just four laps.
Finishing third behind Balu and Leelakrishnan was another veteran D. Vidyaprakash (Prime Racing) ahead of team-mate B. Vijaykumar.
The race clearly belonged to Balu who, starting from pole, maintained his position and began to pull away after a couple of laps. Such was his pace that Balu had the luxury of easing off towards the end of the 10-lap race.
"The first couple of laps were quite close. The cars behind me had a good start, but the battles down the grid helped me consolidate my track position and towards the end, I backed off a little," said Balu who is back to racing after a decade of rallying.
The Indian Junior Touring Cars race threw up a first-time winner in Raja of Performance Racing while championship leader Fahad Kutty (Team Game Over) drew blank and second-placed Feroze Khan was demoted to fourth with a 20-second penalty for false start. Khan, however, moved to the top of leaderboard with 148 points.
The 27-year old Raja, in his third season, attributed his success to a new set of suspensions that improved his cornering and considerably reduced body roll.
"I ran all my races until today on an older set of suspensions and as such, I had handling issues besides body roll. Although I came close to podium finishes in some of the earlier races, I had to back off because of the set-up. For this race, I was on brand new suspension and it made a huge difference. Obviously, I am very happy with my first win since I started racing in 2010," said Raja.
Avdumber Hede from Goa qualified for pole position ahead of championship leader Ameya Walalkar and Saurav Bandopadhya for Sunday's Volkswagen Polo R Cup double-header.
LGB Formula 4 (Race 1) 9 laps: Ashwin Sundar (Dark Don Racing) 1 (17mins, 53.143secs); Sarosh Hataria (18:01.616); Gautham Parekh (Wallace Sports) 3 (18:08.376). Race 2 (10 laps): Sundar 1 (19:52.077); Hataria 2 (19:53.160); Parekh 3 (20:00.981).
Indian Touring Cars (Super Saloon) 10 laps: Arjun Balu (Tiger Sport Racing) 1 (19:58.769); N Leelakrishnan (Big Foots Racing) 2 (20:19.772); D Vidyaprakash (Prime Racing) 3 (20:21.752).
Indian Junior Touring Cars (10 laps): Raja (Performance Racing) 1 (21:57.332); S Narendran (IPL Powerpak) 2 (22:09.433); S Sreeram (Mega Racing Beema) 3 (22:19.473).
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