- Championship set for thrilling finale
- Close finishes likely in MRF F1600, saloon cars
Chennai: The MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Car Racing Championship is set for a thrilling climax as the fifth and final round gets underway at the MMRT here on Friday, September 13, with titles in all the categories up for grabs and not much separating the main contenders in terms of points.
The card for the final round has a total of 14 races. The premier MRF F1600 category will have a total of seven races, including three carried over from the rain-affected Round 4 last month. That apart, it will be double-headers in the saloon cars and Formula LGB 1300 categories, besides three races slated for the Volkswagen Ameo Class.
With titles in all these categories still to be decided, the weekend is expected to dish out edge-of-the-seat thrillers that have been a feature of the championship thus far.
Chairman of the Meet Vicky Chandhok said: “Through the season, we have witnessed high quality racing in all the categories and has thrown up fresh talent, especially in the MRF F1600 and saloon cars. We take this opportunity to thank our sponsors MRF Tyres who have responded to every demand of ours and those of the competitors to provide slick tyres that in turn have taken racing to the next level. MMSC have some major plans for the coming seasons as we continue our endeavour to promote the sport and help nurture talent. The final round, this weekend, should provide a fitting climax to the season.”
The MRF F1600 grid is packed with a bunch of talented youngsters who have progressed from karting to single-seaters with a series of impressive performances.
Leading the pack is Bengaluru’s 18-year old Sohil Shah with 83 points after having won three consecutive races. Enjoying a “gap year” after school, Sohil has an 18-point cushion on second-placed Nayan Chatterjee from Mumbai with Chennai’s Vishnu Prasad (58) and Sandeep Kumar (56), and Coimbatore’s A Bala Prasath (55) not far behind.
The two classes in the saloon cars category – the Indian Touring Cars (ITC) and Super Stock – are also finely poised for a close finish. Coimbatore veteran Arjun Balu (148 points), driving the Race Concepts-prepared Honda City Vtec, comfortably leads Kolhapur’s Dhruv Shivaji Mohite (119) who is one of the three Volkswagen factory-supported Vento drivers. Another Coimbatore challenger, Nikanth Ram (Arka Motorsport) is placed third with 93 points, ahead of VW duo of Karthik Tharani (86) from Chennai and Hyderabad’s Ishaan Dodhiwala (85). Balu has won three races as against two each by Mohite and Tharani while Dodhiwala has scored maximum points in one outing.
Bengaluru’s Rithvik Thomas (Race Concepts) and local lad RP Raja Rajan (Performance Racing) will be going head-to-head for the title in the Super Stock category with just 17 points separating the two. Thomas leads with 172 points to Rajan’s 155, both having won four races apiece.
Chennai’s 20-year old Ashwin Datta (Momentum Motor Sports) is best placed to seal the championship in the Formula LGB 1300 as he leads Sohil Shah (M Sport) by 50 points, needing just one point from this weekend’s two races to annex the championship in this category.
In the VW Ameo Class, the top four – Saurav Bandyopadhyay (Mumbai, 305 points), Siddharth Mehdiratta (Lucknow, 298), Pratik Sonawane (Pune, 294) and Jeet Jhabakh (Hyderabad, 284) – are bunched close together.
About Madras Motor Sports Club
Since its humble beginnings in 1953, the Madras Motor Sports Club has grown in stature as the hub of motorsport activity in India. Having moved from Sholavaram to its present location in Sriperumbudur in 1979, MMSC has kept pace with changing times by upgrading facilities. At a cost of about Rs 20 Crore, the MMSC built a pit complex comprising 20 garages, VIP hospitality suites and a viewing gallery, on the eastern side, apart from a second Paddock on the western side with its own short circuit. The Control Room too was upgraded with state-of-the-art hardware while the track itself was improved to meet the exacting FIA standards for Grade-2 certification. The facilities are also extensively used by various vehicle manufacturers for testing their products, displays and corporate days.