Chennai, July 16 (IANS) Vikash Anand survived a few anxious moments but kept his nerve to pull off a brilliant win in the MRF F1600 class in the MRF MMSC FMSCI Indian National Racing Championship at the MMRT track here on Saturday.
It was Anand’s third consecutive win following his double in the previous round in March, but had to work hard for success after slipping to third from a pole position start in a three-way battle involving Sandeep Kumar, who eventually finished second, and Anindith Reddy, the third placed finisher.
Meanwhile, Raghul Rangasamy, who hails from the temple town of Mamallapuram and Goa’s Keith Desouza won both their races in different categories. Rangasamy topped in the F1300 Rookie Championship and later Super Stock class while Desouza claimed victories in the Indian Junior
Also achieving a double was Coimbatore’s Arjun Narendran of Red Rooster Racing in the premium Indian Touring Cars class for his sixth win in seven outings to extend his lead in the championship. After easily winning the first race from pole position, he started the second in fourth on the reverse grid, but moved to the front in the very first lap and went on to score another comfortable win.
Anand, Sandeep and Anindith were locked in a tight battle from the start. Anand went off the track at Turn-2, allowing Anindith to take lead with Sandeep running second. The three-pronged fight developed into a thriller before Anindith and Sandeep slid off the track on the same lap, allowing Anand to jump into the lead which he nursed to the finish.
“Yeah, it was pretty close. I started from pole, but after an off at Turn 2, slipped to third. However, I put in consistent laps to stay in touch with Sandeep and Anindith. I then regained the lead when the two went off the track. However, I was not able to sustain the pace since the track was a bit slippery, but managed to stay in front and win,” Anand said
Championship leader Karthik Tharani, who had started the season with four wins on the trot, finished a distant seventh after starting last on the grid as he crashed during qualifying. Consequently, he swapped cars with that of an absent Goutham Parekh, but was never in contention for a podium finish.
For Desouza, it was a profitable day. He took the honours in the IJTC race after original winner Anant Pithawalla was docked time penalty for a jump start and later, chalked up his first win in the Volkswagen Vento Cup which he attributed to a near-perfect set-up.
Rangasamy, among the busiest drivers in the championship, competing in three categories, was in a league of his own while wining the F1300 race virtually unchallenged and then came through a very competitive race for the top honours in the Super Stock race before finishing the day with a fourth place in the MRF F1600.