Making amends for a disappointing Saturday, Rajiv Sethu finished 12th in Race 2 of the FIM Asian Road Racing Championship (ARRC) Round 3 at the Chang International Circuit here on Sunday.
While Round 1 of the Asia Production 250 category saw him making a bad start, he showed better control from the get-go on Sunday. Despite dropping a place to eighth by the end of the first lap, he stayed less than three seconds behind the race-leader in the opening laps.
The second lap saw the good and bad of the Idemitsu Honda Racing India driver. Bunched together, he showed his guile to stay in a slipstream and overtake three riders in one go but went too wide at a turn immediately to fall back to seventh.
By lap seven, the leading group (of eight) pulled away, leaving the 21-year-old in a murky midfield fight for a top 10 finish — something he could not keep up with. He eventually finished 12th, picking up four points from a lukewarm weekend in Thailand.
Starting 18th, teammate Senthil Chandrasekaran lost two positions to finish 20th.
No change in standings
With 22 points, Sethu stays 14th in the riders’ championship standings while the team, with 22 points, is still seventh in the team championship standings.
ARRC now moves to the Suzuka Circuit in Japan, a track where Sethu’s best — in four attempts — has been a 24th place finish twice in the last two years.
Despite a weekend of mixed fortunes, Sethu remained upbeat. “Today was my best race out of my 24 ARRC races in 3 years,” he said. I fought with the top five during a race for the first time in my career. Overall, I have learnt a lot in this round and will be using this experience going forward.
“I am taking part in the Suzuka 4 Hour Endurance race next weekend and will apply my learnings from that in the upcoming June-end (ARRC) round in Suzuka.”
(The writer is in Buriram at the invitation of Honda Racing India)
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