Coimbatore’s Arjun Narendran (Red Rooster Performance) came up with yet another dominating performance to comfortably win the high-end Indian Touring Cars race on the opening day of the third round of the MRF MMSC FMSCI Indian National Racing Championship (4W) at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore on Saturday (June 18).
It was last year’s champion Narendran’s second win in three outings which helped him stretch his championship lead over his nearest rival, Deepak Paul Chinnappa (Race Concepts) who retired following an on-track incident involving veteran Radha Selvarajan (RAD Racing), a press release from the organisers said.
Also on the first step of the podium were CS Tejasram of Team WSRF, who came from behind to win the Rookie Cup (FF1300) race, Mumbai’s Anant Pithawalla (Team N1) in the Indian Junior Touring Cars class and Deepak Ravikumar from Chennai in the Super Stock category.
The day’s highlight was no doubt Narendran’s performance. Starting on pole, he unwittingly left the gear in neutral when the lights went out and lost a couple of positions by the time he engaged the gear, but swiftly took the lead by the first corner, squeezing past the front-runners.
Thereafter, it was a one-horse race as Narendran blasted away from the field while behind him Chinnappa from Bengaluru was punted off the track after Selvarajan tried an impossible overtaking move on a left-hander. The cars made contact, leaving Chinnappa beached off the track.
The Stewards slapped a Rs 10,000 penalty on Selvarajan. Sivaramakrishnan (Red Rooster Performance) and B Vijayakumar (Prime Racing) came in second and third respectively behind Narendran.
In the Rookie Cup race, Tejasram clawed his way through the field from fourth position to get past early front-runners for a fine win, while championship leader Raghul Rangasamy retired which ended his three-win spree.
Finishing second behind Tejasram was Momentum Racing’s Rupesh Sivakumar, ahead of WSRF’s Vinesh Chand.
Meanwhile, Ishaan Dodhiwala stormed to a stunning pole position on his first fast lap itself, clocking one minute, 10.087 seconds in the Volkswagen Vento Cup qualifying. After having stayed out for less than half of the session, Dodhiwala returned to the pits confident of the performance he had already put in.
“I had a good feeling right from the pre-season test into the free practice sessions. The car was feeling good and I was confident of the timing I had put in right at the beginning. The conditions were good for driving today and I hope it stays like this for the races tomorrow,” Dodhiwala was quoted as saying in the release.
Qualifying second behind Dodhiwala was Keith Desouza who clocked 01:11.018 sec while last year’s Vento Cup runner-up Karminder Pal Singh with third quickest in 01:11.288 sec.
The results (Provisional):
Indian Touring Cars – Race 1 (12 laps): 1. Arjun Narendran (Red Rooster Performance) (14mins, 20.639secs); 2. Sivaramakrishnan (Red Rooster Racing) (14:33.050); 3. B Vijaya Kumar (Prime Racing) (14:38.360).
Indian Junior Touring Cars – Race 1 (12 laps): 1. Anant Pithawalla (Team N1) (16:00.084); 2. Keith Desouza (Unimek Racing) (16:00.955); 3. Vinod S (Red Rooster Performance) (16:00.053).
Super Stock – Race 1 (12 laps): 1. Deepak Ravikumar (Pvt) (16:03.958); 2. Raghul Rangasamy (Performance Racing) (16:05.710); 3. Dean Mascarenhas (Race Concepts) (16:07.627).
Rookie Cup (FF 1300) – Race 1 (12 laps): 1. Tejasram CS (WSRF) (14:50.596); 2. Rupesh Sivakumar (Momentum Racing) (15:03.532); 3. Vinesh Chand (WSRF) (15:17.843).
Qualifying – Volkswagen Vento Cup: 1. Ishaan Dodhiwala (Hyderabad) 1:10.087; 2. Keith De Souza (Goa) 1:11.018; 3. Karminder Pal Singh (New Delhi) 1:11.288.