National car racing championships: Arjun Balu completes double in round four

Overshadowing the day’s proceedings was the 10-car pile-up in the MRF F1600 race that started in heavy showers and lasted barely 300 metres.

Arjun Balu of Race Concepts won two races in the Indian Touring Cars class in round four of the Indian national car racing championships at MMRT.   -  Special Arrangement

On a day which began with heavy showers and ended with bright sunshine, Coimbatore veteran Arjun Balu of Race Concepts completed a grand double in the Indian Touring Cars class to head the leaderboard as the fourth round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Car Racing Championship concluded at the MMRT in Chennai on Sunday.

Bengaluru’s Rithvik Thomas (Race Concepts) also achieved a double in the Super Stock category.

Overshadowing the day’s proceedings was the 10-car pile-up in the MRF F1600 race that started in heavy showers and lasted barely 300 metres, as pole-sitter Yash Aradhya when he lost grip through a puddle and spun out. The race was abandoned as cars behind him crashed into one another. None of the drivers suffered major injuries, but with 10 cars badly damaged, the three races scheduled for the day in the category were postponed to the next round in September.

In Race-1 of the ITC category, Balu and Patel were locked in a thrilling fight at the head of the field. Starting from pole, Balu maintained his position for most of the race. Three laps from the finish, Patel moved past Balu, but slipped back to second in the next lap when he ran wide at the last corner. Balu moved to the front and went on to win.

In Race-2, run in fair weather and reverse grid, the three VW Ventos of Patel, Dhruv Shivaji Mohite and Ishaan Dodhiwala switched to slicks, while Balu starting eighth, remained on wet tyres. It was not long before the four moved to the front with Mohite pulling off a fine win ahead of Patel and Balu. The third race in this category, was a virtual procession with Balu winning comfortably from pole, followed by Patel and Dodhiwala. His two wins this weekend took Balu’s tally to 148, ahead of Mohite's 119.

Spearheading a podium sweep for Race Concepts, Sudanand Daniel, an airline pilot based in Singapore, won a dramatic wet first race in the Super Stock category for his maiden success of the season, with Rithvik Thomas and R Rajashekar in tow. RP Rajaran (Performance Racing) took the honours in Race-2 ahead of Rithvik Thomas and Daniel. In the next outing, Thomas survived a close fight with Daniel for his second win of the weekend. Rajarajan completed the podium.

Jeet Jhabakh (Hyderabad) and Pune’s Prateek Sonawane won a race apiece in the Volkswagen Ameo Class category. After eight races over three rounds this season, Mumbai’s Saurav Bandyopadhyay (305 points), winner of the first race yesterday, leads the championship in this category followed by Sidharth Mehdiratta (298) from Lucknow and Sonawane (294).

The results (Provisional):

Indian Touring Cars

Race-1 (6 laps): 1. Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) (12mins, 49.794secs); 2. Aditya Patel (Rayo Racing) (12:50.491); 3. Dhruv Shivaji Mohite (Rayo Racing) (12:58.907).

Race-2 (10 laps): 1. Dhruv Shivaji Mohite (Rayo Racing) (21:19.565); 2. Aditya Patel (Rayo Racing) (21:20.682); 3. Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) (21:28.378).

Race-3 (8 laps): 1. Arjun Balu (15:11.978); 2. Aditya Patel (15:17.508); 3. Ishaan Dodhiwala (Team Rayo Racing) (15:28.324).

Super Stock

Race-1 (6 laps): 1. Sudanand Daniel (Race Concepts) (14:15.475); 2. Rithvik Thomas (Race Concepts) (14:15.787); 3. R Rajashekar (Race Concepts) (14:45.952).

Race 2 (10 laps): 1. RP Rajarajan (Performance Racing) (22:15.115); 2. Rithvik Thomas (Race Concepts) (22:27.432); 3. Sudanand Daniel (Race Concepts) (22:28.759).

Race 3 (8 laps): 1. Rithvik Thomas (16:15.162); 2. Sudanand Daniel (16:15.951); 3. RP Rajarajan (16:40.747).

Volkswagen Ameo Class

Race-2 (8 laps): 1. Jeet Jhabakh (Hyderabad) (20:09.577); 2. Aiman Sadat (Bangladesh) (20:12.811); 3. Siddharth Mehdiratta (Lucknow) (20:13.363).

Race-3 (8 laps): 1. Prateek Sonawane (Pune) (16:00.024); 2. Sidharth Mehdiratta (Lucknow) (16:01.383); 3. Shobhomoy Ball (Bengaluru) (16:06.481).