Double points for Kush, disappointment for Jehan in Baku
Kush Maini continued his impressive run in his rookie Formula 2 season with a double points finish while fellow Indian Jehan Daruvala drew a blank following his collision in the Sprint Race here.
Staying out of trouble in the Sprint Race, Maini benefitted from the dramatic final restart to find himself fourth by the chequered flag. Contrastingly in the Feature Race, he flexed his overtaking muscles to make up nine places for fifth and held his nerve throughout a tense duel with Dennis Hauger.
Jehan, who is in his fourth season, finished 14th in the Feature Race after getting a 10-second penalty for an unsafe rejoin. He was caught in a collision in the Sprint Race.
Reflecting on his first visit to the Azerbaijani capital, Maini insists he has no regrets after an impressive recovery. Starting both races in P14, as he was not able to put in a Lap on the second set of tyres was, not an easy task.
“Yesterday, we made our way to P8, and then there was carnage at the end, which we got lucky with for a change and managed to get P4. Today, honestly, there were no Safety Cars, no crashes really in front of me, so every position I made I made on merit. Making up 19 positions in two races, I’m so proud. The car just felt fantastic all weekend.” Whilst he did eventually come out on top in the lengthy battle with Hauger, Maini says the nip and tuck nature meant he could never get too comfortable, but his pace in the latter phase of the race could have left the window open for an even better result.
The only driver to have scored points in seven out of the opening eight races, Maini’s maturity and consistency have been rewarded with fifth place in the overall Standings. Improving with every second he spends out on track; the Indian rookie is convinced he’s found the right balance between risk versus reward.
Matthai clocks fastest time, bags triple crown in Autocross Nationals
Delhi’s Philippos Matthai, representing Team Speed Sport, recorded the fastest time on way to a triple crown in the second round of the BMC FMSCI Indian National Autocross Championship (INAC).
The 1.2 km lap on the winding dirt track with a couple of tricky corners saw Matthai clock a time of 1:36.37 seconds and was adjudged as the overall fastest driver.
Three Goans -- Azim Hanchi (1:40.64s), Amey Desai (1:41.06s) and Saamag Kudchadkar (1:41.81s) -- finished behind Matthai.
The eight INAC classes will see the top-five racers from each class, in every round, qualify for the grand finale, where they will battle it out for the Indian National Autocross Champions 2023 crown in December this year.
Matthai, a multiple-time national champion, won Autocross titles in 2019 and 2022, and has been racing for the last 22 years. He is a well-known racer in the popular longer-format Indian National Rally Championship (INRC).
Along with the INRC sub-class title, he now has three national championship trophies.
“Dirt track racing is relatively low-cost, and people can witness the entire race from a vantage point and gives the drivers a thrill, to provide seat-edged excitement to the spectators,” said Matthai.
Saamag Kudchadkar of Goa became the fastest driver, clocking 1:36.22s in time attack, a non-championship class and also winning the INAC3 open class.
AITA women’s tournament: Sanjam Arora reaches second round
Sanjam Arora beat Ritu Rai 7-6(2), 0-6, 6-1 in the first round of Rs.100,000 AITA women’s tennis tournament at the Joygaon Academy on Monday.
Rain intervened to halt nearly half the schedule for the day.
Results (first round):
India wins gold in girls medley relay
After winning the girls 400m gold earlier, Rezoana Mallick Heena won the 200m silver and helped India take the medley relay gold in the fifth Asian under-18 athletics championships which concluded in Tashkent on Sunday.
The results (Indian medal performances only):
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