Chennai, Aug 18 (PTI): Coimbatore veteran Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) completed a grand double in the Indian Touring Cars class to head the leaderboard at the end of round four of MRF MMSC FMSCI National Car Racing Championship at the MMRT track at nearby Sriperumbudur on Sunday.
Bengaluru's Rithvik Thomas of Race Concepts also achieved a double in the Super Stock category on a day which began in heavy showers and ended in bright sunshine.
Early in the day, there was a 10-car pile-up in the MRF F1600 race that started in heavy showers and lasted barely 300 metres.
As pole-sitter Yash Aradhya spun when he put wheels into a puddle, losing grip, the cars behind him, with nowhere to go, crashed into one another resulting in the race being abandoned.
None of the drivers suffeded major injuries, but with 10 cars badly damaged, it was decided to cancel Sunday's three races and run them in the next round in September.
"The next round in September will thus have seven races in the MRF F1600 category. It was an unfortunate incident with Yash running into a puddle and spinning. With so many cars badly damaged, we decided to put off today's three races and have them in the next round,"said Chairman of the Meet Vicky Chandhok.
In the first race of the ITC category, that was declared 'wet', Balu and Aditya Patel were locked in a thrilling fight at the head of the field. Starting from pole, Balu maintained his position with Patel in close attendance.
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 two, 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, starting from pole winning comfortably and unchallenged, followed by Patel and Dodhiwala.
The two wins this weekend took Balu's tally to 148, way ahead of Mohite (119).
Spearheading a podium sweep for Race Concepts team, Sudanand Daniel, an airline pilot based in Singapore, won a dramatic first race in the Super Stock category for his maiden success of the season, with Rithvik Thomas and R Rajashekar in tow.
R P Rajaran (Performance Racing) took the honours in the second race ahead of Rithvik Thomas and Daniel.
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).
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 (21:19.565); 2. Aditya Patel (21:20.682); 3. Arjun Balu (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. R P 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 16:50.951; 3. R P R 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).
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