Salem’s Sai Sanjay steals the thunder in MRF F2000 race
CHENNAI: Sai Sanjay, a teenager from Salem, stormed to a brilliant victory in the MRF F2000 category while Thrissur’s Diljith Shaji took the honours in the Formula LGB 1300 class as the first round of the MRF MMSC FMSCI Indian National Car Racing Championship 2022 commenced at the Madras International Circuit, here on Saturday.
In the day’s last race, 20-year-old Justin Singh from Gurugram, claimed the honours in the MRF Saloons (Toyota Eitos) category with a lights-to-flag win ahead of Pune’s Diana Pundole and Angad Matharoo (Chandigarh).
Sai, 19, started from P2 on the grid and after a good start, moved into the lead. He then defended his position with aplomb despite coming under pressure from Agra’s Shahan Ali Mohsin for much of the 10-lap race for a deserving win.
Shahan Ali, last year’s MRF F1600 champion, had to be content with second place after starting from P4, while Yash Aradhya came in third, holding off pole-sitter and fellow-Bengalurean Rishon Rajeev.
Earlier, 29-year old Diljith led a 1-2 finish for DTS Racing with Viswas Vijayaraj from Nellore for company while Bengaluru’s Arjun Nair (Momentum Motorsports) was third. The eight-lapper, after much jostling in the early stages, settled down with Diljith forging his way to the front followed by Viswas.
The pair pulled away from the pack to finish in that order, well ahead of Bengaluru’s Arjun Nair (Momentum Motorsports) who did well to make four spots after starting from P7.
Coimbatore ace Arjun Balu, 47, the defending champion from Race Concepts (Bengaluru) stable, set the pace in the premier Indian Touring Cars category, by qualifying for pole position with a hot lap of 01min, 50.000secs. He was well ahead of 2017 winner, Arjun Narendran (01:52.560), also from Coimbatore, and who is returning to full-time racing after a five-year break.
The two Volkswagen Virtus cars, making their debut in the championship, and driven by Jeet Jhabakh (Hyderabad) and Sandeep Kumar (Chennai) were fourth and fifth, respectively, some 2.9 seconds off Balu’s pace.
Chennai veteran Gurunath Meyyappan (Race Concepts), staging a return to racing after a prolonged break, took pole position in the Indian Junior Touring Cars category as did another local racer, Ritesh Rai (Performance Racing) in the Super Stock class.
Provisional results: MRF F2000 (Race-1, 10 laps): 1. Sai Sanjay T (Salem) (15min, 47.253secs); 2. Shahan Ali Mohsin (Agra) (15:47.856); 3. Yash Aradhya S (Bengaluru) (15:51.725).
Formula LGB 1300 (Race-1, 8 laps): 1. Diljith Shaji (Thrissur, DTS Racing) (14:59.136); 2. Viswas Vijayaraj (Nellore, DTS Racing) (15:03.587); 3. Arjun S Nair (Bengaluru, Momentum Motorsports) (15:12.926).
MRF Saloons (Toyota Etios – Race 1, 8 laps): 1. Justin Singh (Gurugram) (16:32.066); 2. Diana Pundole (Pune) (16:34.812); 3. Angad Matharoo (Chandigarh) (16:41.338)
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