Race track? Check. Screaming engines? Check. Awesome weather? Check. There is not much more an auto enthusiast can ask for… The JK Tyre race weekend consists of the Euro JK 16, LGB Formula 4, JK Touring Cars championships. And in the few minutes between them, there were a couple of stunt shows as well. This should give you a brief idea of just how action packed the weekend at Coimbatore was.
No wasting time! We head to the track to witness the second round of the 19th JK Tyre FMSCI National Racing Championship. The first day of the race weekend, however, began on expected lines, with Nayan Chatterjee taking the pole position in the Euro JK 16. Bitter rival Ricky Donison took the third place, setting the stage for a juicy showdown. But neither had accounted for Ananth, who seemed innocently sandwiched in between them.
Ananth, however, had his own plans and showed his intentions and aggression right away, shooting past Nayan at the lights itself. Nayan almost seemed to freeze as Anindith Reddy too jumped ahead of him even though it was quite apparent that he had made a false start. By the time he recovered from the shock, Ananth had picked up a huge gap.
Nayan put up a brave fight but just couldn’t find a way past Ananth. He had to settle for the third position while Mohammmed Nalwalla and Dhruv Mohite (both of Maharashtra) took the fourth and fifth places. There was barely any change in positions in the second Euro JK 16 Race either, with Ananth, Karthik and Nayan finishing in exactly the same positions: first, second and third.
Ananth was amazingly quick all through the two races, even timing a special 1:00.874 minutes in the 12th lap of the second race. Donison whose car went out of control and took a sharp spin. He didn’t throw in the towel though and valiantly finished the race, even if he was more than half a lap behind.
In the LGB Formula 4, Chennai’s drivers effected a clean sweep, taking the first three positions and also the fifth in a hard-fought, thrilling race. Lanky Vishnu Prasad of Meco Racing, who was nursing an injury, looked in no discomfort behind the wheel and put up a fast and furious show. Starting at No. 2 in the grid behind Ashwin Sundar of Dark Don Racing, he didn’t have to wait long to jump into the lead.
He timed a spectacular lap of 1:11.764 minutes in the fourth to show that he meant business. He kept up the pace all the way through till the end to comfortably win the day’s race in this category. Ashwin began on pole position but didn’t look comfortable, with championship leader Rohit Khanna breathing down his neck.
He allowed Rohit, his teammate at Dark Don, to shoot ahead of him at least twice. But in the end, Ashwin held on to his nerve and reclaimed the lead in the 12th lap to comfortably take the second position in the race. The third place saw a surprise, with Raghul Rangaswami of Meco beating down the challenge of Rohit in a rather easy overtaking manoeuvre.
In the JK Touring Cars, Ashish Ramaswamy of Red Rooster Performa won from start to finish on Saturday afternoon. He was followed by teammate M Sivaramakrishnan and Radha Selvaraj of RAD Racing.
On Sunday, the JK 16 race was an adrenaline packed one, we headed to the track to witness Nayan become a different racer altogether. He exhibited amazing pace and was virtually uncatchable in the final race, even though the speedy Ananth Shanmugam was snapping at his tail in each of the laps.
Nayan got a lucky break in the first lap itself, though, with the morning’s darling Ajay Kini getting into a melee with Anindith Reddy and Karthik Tharani. He took advantage of it to pick up a huge lead. But Ananth from Karnataka upped the ante in the latter part of the race and almost overtook Nayan in the final lap.
In the morning, Nayan was even more spectacular, streaking past one driver after another in a spectacular display of racing. He started off in the fourth position with the reverse grid coming into play to get the psychological edge over overnight leader Ananth Shanmugam. Akash Gowda and Ajay Kini at P1 and P2 just didn’t have the pace to hold him off and yielded the lead by the first turn itself.
The field got an opportunity to catch up with Nayan in the 10th lap when the safety car came out. Ajay Kini gave it his best shot, as did Ananth, but neither could even rattle the leader.
The LGB Formula 4 saw a stunning finish in the morning, with Ashwin Sundar of Dark Don Racing outsmarting Vishnu Prasad of Meco Racing in the final home stretch. He was, however, handed`a 10-second penalty for his driving which saw him slip down to fourth position. That saw Raghul Rangasama move up the ladder to first position. Vishnu took the second place.
The bitterness spilled over into the second race too. Vishnu, however, held his nerve this time and jumped into the lead quickly to win the race. Pole starter Raghul Rangasamy of Meco took the second place while Ashwin couldn’t event finish the race, pulling out in the seventh lap.
Ashish Ramaswamy of Red Rooster Performance continued to dominate the JK Touring Cars class, winning his fourth race in succession. He had his toughest day yet though, with Deepak Chinnappa of Race Conceot breathing down his neck all through the 10 laps. “It was a tough race,” Asish said. “I had to bring out all my experience to win this one,” he added.
Nayan is the runaway leader now in the Euro JK 16 class, having won as many as four races till now. He has 58 points in his kitty, 10 clear of the second-placed Ananth Shanmugam. Dhruv Mohite is at third with 39 points.
Ashish Ramaswamy too had to work hard to win his race on Sunday to maintain his total dominance in the JK Touring Cars category.
In the LGB Formula 4, however, Vishnu Prasad had to pull out all his fighting acumen and acute driving skills to jump into the championship lead. The lanky racer from Chennai, who was nursing a leg injury, had to be at his sharpest to pick up 28 points over the weekend for a cumulative total of 36 points.
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