Bengaluru’s Aditya Swaminathan and Chetan Surineni notched a double each in the MRF Formula 2000 and F1600 categories, respectively, as the third round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Car Racing Championship 2023 concluded at the Madras International Circuit, here on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Chandigarh’s Angad Matharoo provisionally clinched the championship in the MRF Saloon Car (Toyota Etios) category with five wins from nine starts, besides two podium finishes this weekend, while Coimbatore’s Jai Prashanth Venkat was placed second followed by Mumbai’s Zahan Commissariat.
Also scoring a double over the weekend were: Diana Pundole from Pune in the MRF Saloon Car category and who became the first female driver to score a double in a single round in MMSC National four-wheeler racing championship, Deepak Ravikumar (Chennai, Performance Racing) in Indian Junior Touring Cars and Diljith TS (Thrissur, DTS Racing) in Formula LGB 1300.
Aditya Swaminathan, starting from pole, took the honours in Race-1 in the MRF F2000 category without much ado but had to fight hard for the
win in the next after starting from P5 on the reverse grid. Championship leader Sandeep Kumar from Chennai salvaged his weekend by winning Race-3, edging out Kolkata’s Arya Singh in a close finish.
Chetan Surineni won Race-1 and 3 in the MRF F1600 holding off Viswas Vijayaraj in both outings while Mumbai’s Veer Sheth topped Race-2.
One of the big stories of the day was scripted by Biren Pithawalla (Team N1 Racing), a 42-year-old businessman from Mumbai, piloting a Honda Jazz. He put in a solid performance to win the premier Indian Touring Cars race, his second of the season after a stirring duel.
Starting from P2 on the reverse grid, Biren overtook pole-sitter and his cousin Anant Pithawalla on Lap 2. With Anant holding off the pursuing cars, Biren made rapid ground to draw clear of the pack. Behind the pair, championship leader Gurunath Meiyappan (Race Concepts), after surviving a contact with defending champion and team-mate Arjun Balu who then retired, caught up with Biren who gave a fine exhibition of defensive driving to take the chequered flag. Meiyappan finished second to stay on top of the leaderboard while Ritesh Rai (Arka Motorsports) came in third.
“A very special win today, because I won on the track. I had “won” the first race in the previous round, but that was because of penalties to the guys who finished in front of me. So, this is very special and a culmination of nearly 12 years of hard work that my cousin Ananth Pithawalla and I had put in,” said Biren.
Likewise, 28-year-old Diana Pundole, a mother of two, won Race-1 from lights to flag after opening a sizable lead in the early part of the 10-lapper to notch her maiden win in this category. In the next outing, she started from P5 on the reverse grid, but battled her way to the front and went on to achieve a double. Zahan Commissariat topped Race-3 following a time penalty to P1 finisher Matharoo.
In the Formula LGB 1300 category, Diljith was virtually gifted the win in Race-1 as pole-sitter Viswas Vijayaraj, leading by the proverbial mile, went off the track at Turn-1, damaging the nose cone besides losing brakes. Yet, the Nellore youngster re-joined the race and managed to survive the final two laps to come in second behind Diljith who later easily won Race-2 for a double.
Provisional results (8 laps, unless mentioned):
MRF Formula 2000 (Race-1): 1. Aditya Swaminathan (Chennai) (16min, 02.814sec); 2. Rohaan Madesh (Bengaluru) (16:03.313); 3. Chetan Korada (Chennai) (16:08.561). Race-2 (10 laps): 1. Aditya Swaminathan (Chennai) (16:13.886); 2. Arya Singh (Kolkata) (16:14.640); 3. Sandeep Kumar (Chennai) (16:15.805). Race-3: 1. Sandeep Kumar (Chennai) (13:08.364); 2. Arya Singh (Kolkata) (13:08.781); 3. Rohaan Madesh (Bengaluru) (13:09.123).
MRF F1600 (Race-1): 1. Chetan Surineni (Bengaluru) (16:38.263); 2. Viswas Vijayaraj (Nellore) (16:39.456); 3. Aman Nagdev (Noida) (14:59.154 + 1 lap). Race-2 (10 laps): 1. Veer Sheth (Mumbai) (17:23.085); 2. Viswas Vijayaraj (Nellore) (17:28.014); 3. Aman Nagdev (Noida) (17:28.489). Race-3: 1. Chetan Surineni (14:03.496); 2. Viswas Vijayaraj (14:04.198); 3. Veer Sheth (14:04.474).
Indian Touring Cars (Race-2, 10 laps): 1. Biren Pithawalla (Mumbai, Team N1) (19:11.946); 2. Gurunath Meiyappan (Chennai, Race Concepts)
(19:12.401); 3. Ritesh Rai (Chennai, Arka Motorsports) (19:16.193).
Indian Junior Touring Cars (Race-2, 10 laps): 1. Deepak Ravikumar (Chennai, Performance Racing) (19:35.754); 2. Akkineni Anand Prasad (Chennai, Performance Racing) (19:36.864); 3. Srinivas Teja (Chennai, Performance Racing) (19:44.038).
Super Stock (Race-2, 10 laps): 1. Diljith TS (Thrissur, DTS Racing) (20:56.057); 2. Manan Patel (Mumbai, Redline Racing) (19:11.463+1 lap); 3. Yokeshwaran K (Coimbatore, Momentum Motorsports) (19:38.091 + 1 lap).
Formula LGB 1300 (Race-1): 1. Dilijith TS (Thrissur, DTS Racing) (14:57.612); 2. Viswas Vijayaraj (Nellore, DTS Racing) (15:03.336); 3. Deepak Ravikumar (Chennai, Ahura Racing) (15:05.403). Race-2 (10 laps): 1. Diljith (18:50.965); 2. Tijil Rao (Bengaluru, Momentum Motorsports) (19:00.080); 3. Raghul Rangasamy (Mahabalipuram, MSPORT) (19:00.681).
MRF Saloons (Toyota Etios) Race-1: 1. Diana Pundole (Pune, Redline Racing) (16:31.113); 2. Angad Matharoo (Chandigarh, Redline Racing) (16:34.881); 3. Jai Prashanth Venkat (Coimbatore, Redline Racing) (16:35.729). Race-2 (10 laps): 1. Diana Pundole (20:49.229); 2. Angad Matharoo (20:50.273); 3. Jai Prashanth Venkat (20:54.606). Race-3: 1. Zahan Commissariat (16:49.499); 2. Jai Prashanth Venkat (16:51.898) 3. Kalim Iqbal (Colombo) (16:52.247).