Macau, Oct 21 (IANS) India's Jehan Daruvala was crowned the CIK FIA Asia Pacific KF3 Champion while compatriot Ameya Bafna, starting from pole, finished fourth in the Macau Cup, a support event at the World karting championship, here Sunday.
The 14-year old Jehan of Rayo Racing, became the first and only India so far to win a major regional karting championship as he fought and won a close battle with Japan's Marino Sato.
Jehan, a member of Sahara Force India Academy, started the 21-lap race from pole position, but dropped to third after the second corner, but he moved to second behind Sato.
Jehan followed Sato as the duo traded fastest laps with some flawless driving. On lap 17, Jehan made a move on Sato to get in front but the Japanese quickly regained track position.
Two laps later, Jehan made another move on Sato and both went off track after a minor contact. Both recovered quickly before Jehan pounced on a Sato error as the Japanese was slow exiting the fourth corner on the last lap to line-up for a dive on the inside in the next corner to get in front and then held on to the lead to emerge worthy winner.
"This is my biggest victory so far. It feels good to have proved myself at one of the biggest events in World Karting. Everyone at the Sahara Force India Academy has been instrumental in my performance. I would also like to thank Team Rayo Racing for their effort this weekend," said Jehan.
Bafna, the reigning Indian national champion made a brilliant start in the Macau Cup Rotax Final race and was soon comfortable leading the race ahead of Tsai Yang.
However, after four laps, Bafna's tyres degraded rapidly and he started struggling for pace. In the meantime, Busato from Hong Kong moved into second and a lap later grabbed the lead from Bafna.
The two battled it out and were joined by Yang and Macau driver Cheong Chi. These four kept the crowd on their feet as they exchanged places throughout the race.
Unfortunately, Bafna had further tyre problems and he slipped to finish the race in a disappointing fourth position. A mere two seconds separated the top four.
Rayomand Banajee commented: "Jehan has always had the pace; he has had a bit of bad luck lately, but his last victory in UK and now the CIK-FIA Asia Pacific title show that he has a long way to go!
"We were unlucky with Ameya Bafna who put up a fantastic performance this weekend in the Macau Cup. His tyres degraded too quickly in the final. However, fourth out of 28 is not a bad result. He too will do India proud in the future for sure."