The first weekend of the MRF Challenge Series saw local lad Ashwin Sundar dominate the Formula 1600 category as he ran up back-to-back wins.
The 3.71 kilometre long track, shaped liked a tomahawk extending from one of the lobes of a dog-bone, held no surprises for Sundar as he put in progressively better sessions behind the wheel as the day wore on.
The trio of Sundar, Amer Beg and Arjun Bala extricated themselves early from the cloistered matrix of riders to make it a three-horse race. The distances between the three cars fluctuated but mildly through the race as Sundar came in first while Beg and Bala made it to the podium. The routine was repeated in the last session of the day, with Sundar reprising his role as the winner.
David Jones, the Welsh champion made his own the Super Bikes category as he stormed through the field on what was arguably the fastest machine on display, the 600cc Triumph. Trailing the international racers by a distance that compromised the raison d’etre of the category, Dilip Rogger nonetheless leads the field among the Indians competing in the class.
Gautam Gambhir, brand ambassador for MRF, flagged off the signature Formula 1600 race and later speculated on India’s chances in its up-coming series against South Africa. “We are on a high and have been playing very good cricket. It would be a great challenge for our opening batsmen and bowlers. If we make a good start, we should be able to do well” he said.
Narain Karthikeyan, the latest face to endorse MRF, also made an appearance at the races. Two more weekends of racing remain in the MRF Challenge series, on February 6 and 13.
Formula 1600: Race 1: 1. Ashwin Sundar (26:20.412), 2. Amer Beg (26:20.804), 3. Arjun Balu (26:37.242).
Race 2: 1. Ashwin Sundar (25:52.433), 2. Amer Beg (26:05.314), 3. Arjun Balu (26:20.282).
Super Saloons: 1. Sailesh Bolisetti (2:36296), 2. Nithin Ravindran (2:43.300), 3. R. Ramesh Babu (2:55.350).
Race Star Cup: 1. Fahad Shamsudeen Kutty (2:53.370), 2. Deepak Paul Chinnappa (2:54.300), 3. Shravan Reddy (2:58.375).
Race 1:International: David Jones (17:58.434), 2. Gavin Michale Hunt (18:04.847), 3. Jules Croft (18:44.116). Indian: 1. Dilip Rogger (19:03.061), 2. Sathish Kumar A (19:11.668), 3. K. Srikanth (18:51.189 – 9 laps).
Race 2: International: 1. David Jones (18:09.112), 2. Gavin Michale Hunt (18:38.549), 3. Jules Croft (19:00.360). Indian: 1. Dilip Rogger (19:28.355), 2. K. Srikanth (18:58.511, 9 laps), 3. A. Satish Kumar (19:17.634, 9 laps).
165cc (4-stroke): 1. Sriskandarajah (15:32.702), 2. Shyam Shankar (15:33.456), 3. S. Sarath Kumar (15:33.997).
165cc (2-stroke): 1. K. Umesh Babu (15:08.256), 2. S. Murali (15:10.547), 3. N. Deepan (15:12.327).