Veteran Balu defends National title with a race to spare

The 47-year-old Balu, who had qualified for pole by setting a lap record in a Honda City, chalked up his fifth victory of the season on Saturday.
Veteran Balu defends National title with a race to spare
Arjun Balu earned his fifth victory of the season on Saturday

Chennai

Arjun Balu of Race Concepts defended the Indian Touring Cars title with a race to spare, courtesy of his remarkable win on the opening day of the fourth and final round of the MRF MMSC FMSCI Indian National Car Racing Championship 2021 at the MMRT.
The 47-year-old Balu, who had qualified for pole by setting a lap record in a Honda City, chalked up his fifth victory of the season on Saturday. Meanwhile, teenager Suriya Varathan, 18, scored a fluent win from pole position in the premier MRF Formula 1600 class.
In the Indian Touring Cars Race 1, Balu (15 minutes, 16.979 seconds) left nothing to chance as he built up a massive lead for a comfortable win. Rayo Racing’s Jeet Jhabakh (15:25.150) and his teammate Ishaan Dodhiwala (15:26.345) finished second and third respectively.
“It certainly feels great to win the championship. It has been a very challenging season as the team has had to deal with a lot of issues. However, I am happy with the way the car performed,” said Balu, who moved to 79 points and holds an insurmountable lead over his nearest rival Jeet with the final race remaining.
In the first MRF F1600 race, Varathan (17:29.252) drove brilliantly despite being constantly harried by second-placed Shahan Ali Mohsin (17:29.511) and third-placed Chirag Ghorpade (17:30.188). Varathan survived not only the close attention but also a ‘Safety Car’ following an on-track incident, which left the drivers with a three-lap sprint to the finish.
DTS Racing’s Viswas Vijayaraj (15:22.116) won the Formula LGB 1300 Race 1 in style, ahead of Momentum Motorsport rivals Tijil Rao and Deepak Ravikumar. Tijil (15:22.553) came second while Deepak (15:23.275) completed the podium.
Fahad Kutty (16:39.303) from Redline Racing recorded his fourth win of the season – in the MRF Saloon Cars (Toyota Etios) Race 1 – to seal the title in his category. His teammate Anand Prasad (20:59.670) took the honours in the second race of the day. Anmol Singh Sahil (15:58.466) came up trumps in the Volkswagen Polo Race 1, with RP Raja Rajan (16:13.456) of Performance Racing emerging triumphant in the first Super Stock race. In the Indian Junior Touring Cars Race 1, Race Concepts’ Varun Anekar (15:50.484) bagged the top prize.

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