Going into the final round of the Polo Cup 2012, Chennai lad A. Sandeep Kumar talks about the challenges and his chances of winning
For 20-year-old Chennai lad, A. Sandeep Kumar, success at the sixth and last round of the 2012 Volkswagen Polo R Cup at the Buddh International Circuit in Delhi over the weekend, could open the door to an all-new world. Seventy-two points behind leader Ameya Walavalkar and 17 ahead of third placed Rahil Noorani, a first or second place finish will secure him a spot in the 2013 Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup in Germany.
“It is possible. With two races remaining [each round has two races] and a maximum of 120 points up for grabs, I have a chance,” he says.
For Sandeep, this has been his debut season. Though short-listed to race last year in the Polo Cup, he chose to compete in the Formula series. The current season has no doubt thrown up an altogether new set of challenges.
“Earlier I used to race with Formula cars that had back wheel drives. The Polo cars are front wheel drives. So I had to adapt to the changing conditions,” he says.
Also, he has had to battle pretty high standards. “There is Mexico’s Diego Duez who has been a national champion in his country. Also we have a multiple national champion in Ameya. So to prove your mettle is very difficult.”
However, he has managed to do well in each of the rounds. Though he has just one victory from ten races, he has been consistent enough to accumulate points to place him second overall.
“Quick starts are the key. Since all cars are even it’s important to keep your position once you take the lead and I have been able to do that,” he says.
Sandeep’s tryst with cars started at the age of eight. “My driver used to teach me how to drive,” he says. “Obviously my parents were unaware and when I later told my father that I wanted to take up racing, he didn’t take me seriously.”
It was at the Amaron Karting Challenge in 2007 where his fledging career in racing gathered momentum. At the talent hunt, he was chosen to participate in the National Karting Championship and emerged in the top three. Then he was crowned the rookie cup champion in the 2010 MMS Rotax Cup, and placed third in the 2011 National Rotax-Max Karting Championship.
As one who adores the aggressive driving style of Lewis Hamilton, Sandeep idolises Ayrton Senna. A fitness freak, he also likes to spend time on Playstation.
Going into the final round of the Polo Cup, this third year student at the School of Excellence in Law seems confident. “The first race is important,” he says. “A good drive can seal the second spot.” But will he be content with just that? “Every race I drive, I drive to win. Nothing less than a championship victory would do.”