Chennai, July 20 (IANS) Local lad Sandeep Kumar put the hammer down by grabbing pole position in the MRF F1600 class as the third round of the national racing championship commenced at the Madras Motor Racing Track, here on Friday.
Sandeep had finished first runner-up in the same category last year, thus missing a ticket to the Mazda Road To Indy shootout, and is determined to go one better this time, according to a release.
“I pushed really hard on Friday, almost to the very limit,” said Sandeep after posting a best lap of one minute, 39.999 seconds around the 3.716 kilometers track to set himself up for this weekend’s triple-header.
Sharing the front row with Sandeep is another Chennai driver, Nirmal Umashanker (01:40.310) ahead of Goa’s Keith D’Souza (01:40.069) while championship leader 19-year-old Ashwin Datta who had won all the three races in the previous round in Coimbatore, will start eighth on the grid after posting a best of 01:40.685.
Meanwhile, defending champion in the premier Indian Touring Cars class, Arjun Narendran (ARKA Motorsports) from Coimbatore, having missed the previous rounds, made an immediate impact on his return to racing by posting pole winning time of 01:52.053.
Arjun edged veteran Arjun Balu (Race Concepts), also from Coimbatore, who had won both the races in the previous round.
Balu, in his first season in five years, clocked 01:52.053 ahead of championship leader Bengaluru’s Ashish Ramaswamy (ARKA Motorsports) who did 01:53.177.
Pole position winners in other categories were — Nikunj Vagh of Team N1 (Indian Junior Touring Cars) from Mumbai, Varun Anekar of Race Concepts (Super Stock) from Bengaluru and Vinod S of Team N1 (Esteem Cup) from Erode.
Dhruv Mohite from Kolhapur, leader in the Volkswagen Ameo Cup following his double in Coimbatore round last month, took pole position ahead of Thane’s Saurav Bandyopadhyay and Anmol Singh Sahil from Ghaziabad.