Coimbatore, Aug 5 (IANS) Mumbai’s Nayan Chatterjee and Hyderabad’s Anindith Reddy scorched the track on the opening day of the second round at the National Racing Championship here on Saturday.
Nayan and Anindith won one race each in the highly competitive Euro JK 17 category. Kolhapur’s Chittesh Mandody, Joseph Matthew and Sri Lanka’s Jaden Gunawardena were the other victors of the day, comfortably winning the LGB Formula 4, Suzuki Gixxer Cup and Red Bull Road to Rookie Cup races respectively.
The Euro JK turned out to be a heart-stopper with the top five drivers locked in an intense battle. First round leader Vishnu Prasad began at the pole position and seemed to be in his element once again, building a comfortable lead up front.
He clocked the race’s fastest lap (1:01.218) and looked set for another win. But in Lap 6, Sandeep Kumar crashed and the safety car came out, leading to a dramatic turn of events.
It didn’t bother Vishnu as he held on to his lead, but Australia’s Ricky Capo found his opportunity behind him. As Nayan and Anindith tussled for supremacy, the Aussie racer jumped into the second position. He held on to it for his first podium finish in India.
It wasn’t meant to be Vishnu’s day though. In the penultimate lap, his engine suddenly stalled, and he could only watch helplessly as the field zoomed past him.
Nayan eventually notched his first victory while Anindith had to be happy with the third place on the podium.
Race 2 was equally gripping, with the reverse grid coming into play. Nayan started at sixth and Anindith at fourth while Vishnu had to begin from the pit lane: last. Yet, he managed to beat one driver after another to take a very deserving third place.
“I had a good start and that was half the job done. I went all the way up to the second place from fourth and it was just a matter of overtaking one more after that,” Anindith said.
“Brayan (Perera) defended his lead well but the pace was rather slow and that made me uncomfortable. I sold him a dummy and overtook him,” he added.
In the Gixxer Cup, Joseph Mathew of Chennai continued his winning run, recording his third victory in the championship. He finished a full five seconds ahead of the 22-member field to underline his dominance. Sanjeev Mhatre (Mumbai) and Lalmawipuia (Aizawl) took the second and third positions respectively.
Similarly, Chittesh Mandody of Kolhapur too proved his mettle, coming from behind to win the LGB Formula 4. Delhi’s Rohit Khanna came in behind him while Raghul Rangasamy of Chennai took the third place.
“It was a tough race. All the drivers were really fighting hard and it could have been anybody’s race,” Chittesh conceded.
“It was in the second last lap that the driver ahead of me made a mistake in one of the corners and I capitalised on it to surge ahead and hang on to the lead,” he added.
In the Red Bull Rookie Cup, the Aizawl duo of Lalhruaizela and Lalnunsanga rode like champions and almost dismantled the Sri Lankan lad Jaden Gunawardena from the top position.
Lalhruaizela, in fact, was just a 100th second behind him and is sure to give him a run for his money on Sunday.