Shahan Ali Mohsin, the 17-year-old from Agra, further underlined his stature as a top racing talent with a grand double as the curtain came down on the third round of the Indian National Car Racing Championship 2021 at the MMRT, here on Saturday.
Shahan won the first and third races in the premier MRF F1600 category with local veteran Deepak Ravikumar topping the second on an incident-filled day that also saw Coimbatore’s Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) surviving a few close calls to win the Indian Touring Cars race.
Also achieving a double were Bengaluru’s Varun Anekar (Race Concepts) in the Indian Junior Touring Cars category and Deepak Ravikumar (Performance Racing) in the Super Stock class. The day started with Bengaluru teenager Tijil Rao (Momentum Motorsport) taking the honours in the Formula LGB 1300 race after starting from P10 on the reverse grid.
He sliced his way through the field to emerge a deserving winner with Nellore’s Viswas Vijayaraj (DTS Racing) and local lad Mohd Ryan (MSport) following home in that order while Race-1 winner, Ruhaan Alva (MSport), also from Bengaluru, finished fourth after starting from P12.
The victory, his first of the season, took Tijil to the top of the leaderboard with 85 points.
The two MRF F1600 races dished out contrasting fares. In the morning, Ravikumar, starting from pole on the reverse grid, won as he pleased after a brilliant start that put him clear of the field by the end of the first lap.
Behind him, championship contenders Chirag Ghorpade (Bengaluru) and Shahan Ali Mohsin, both starting from mid-grid, jockeyed for positions with an eye on the points.
The pair made some places, but Shahan, while running third, ran wide while trying to pass Rishon Rajeev (Bengaluru) and eventually finished seventh. Rishon held position to finish second followed by Dillon Zachariah (Chennai).
Shahan, however, bounced back to win the next race starting from pole position, after holding off Chirag and Rishon, a result repeat of yesterday’s Race-1. The two wins put Shahan within 13 points of leader Chirag in the championship standings.
The saloon cars race, with its combined grid, turned out to be stormy, especially at the front. The trio of Indian Touring Cars drivers, Balu and Rayo Racing’s Jeet Jabhakh and Ishaan Dodhiwala were involved in a tense battle.
There were a few contacts ca’sing damage to Balu’s and Jabhakh’s cars while Dodhiwala forged ahead. Balu then put his head down, moved past Dodhiwala after a hot chase and came through to chalk up his fourth win of the season in six starts.
Meanwhile, the MRF Saloon Cars (Toyota Etios) race was reduced to five laps from the scheduled eight after it was red-flagged following an incident on the exit of the last corner on Lap 1. On resumption, Chandigarh’s Angad Matharoo cruised to victory after early front-runner Anand Prasad (Chennai) went off the track.
Finishing behind Matharoo were two racers from Mumbai, veteran and championship leader Fahad Kutty, and the young Zahan Commissariat.
The two Volkswagen Polo races produced as many different winners in Pratik Sonawane (Pune) who started from P6, and Ghaziabad’s Anmol Singh Sahil who made the best of a P2 start.