Macau, Oct 21 (IANS) Young Jehan Daruvala and his Rayo Racing teammate Ameya Bafna grabbed pole positions in their respective categories in the Macau International Kart Grand Prix here.
Participating in the CIK-FIA Asia Pacific KF3 Karting Championship, 14-year-old Jehan Saturday topped the qualifying session clocking 47.121 seconds while 17-year-old Ameya, the newly-crowned Indian champion, will start from pole in the Macau Cup - a support event for the World Championship.
In qualifying, Jehan was purposely let out by the team a bit late. However, he ran into traffic and was seventh for most of the session. He moved up to second with two minutes left and on his very last lap, as he took the chequered flag, with the fastest lap to bag pole.
The Sahara Force India Academy driver, who topped the time sheets in the practice sessions, was on pole with a time of 47.121 seconds, just ahead of Japanese driver Joe Ishida who clocked 47.310.
Earlier, Jehan made a bad start in the first heat race. He soon made amends by overtaking and getting back his lead on the third lap.
The next few laps were close with Marino Sato of Japan, but Jehan soon opened a small gap and won the nine-lap, first heat by 1.3 seconds ahead of Sato and Joshua Smith of Australia.
The second heat was more straightforward for the Sahara Force India Academy driver, who led from pole position and steadily opened up a gap to the other drivers. Jehan won the second heat with a comfortable margin of 3.5 seconds.
Rayo Racing, headed by former racer Rayomand Banajee, is the only Indian team participating in the event with three drivers in two separate categories at the famous Kartodromo de Coloane Circuit.
Ameya, who just a month ago was crowned the JK Tyre FMSCI National Champion, was impressive in practice by topping the second session while Raj was fifth in the third session.
Rayo Racing's Ameya narrowly missed pole position by a mere 0.064 seconds. Taiwanese driver Tsai Yang bagged pole with a time of 49.047 seconds.
Ameya, however, made amends in the gruelling 21-lap pre final. He made an excellent start and grabbed the lead straightaway. He led comfortably for the first 12 laps before a back-marker slowed him down in the chicane.
This allowed Tsai Yang and Joao Carlos of Macau to close the gap to Ameya. A thrilling battle ensued and Yang made a move into the fourth corner and Ameya was relegated to second.
Ameya stuck behind him, but was unable to make a move. On lap 19, Ameya made a fantastic move on the same corner and was beside Yang, who immediately tried to close the door on Ameya. The two drivers made contact and Yang was launched into the air.
Luckily, both drivers suffered no damage and Ameya went on to win comfortably by two seconds with a total time of 17 min and 12.6 seconds.
Busato Jorge of Hong Kong came second ahead of Yang who survived and finished third. Raj Ganatra started 17th and moved up to the 11th position.
"I have been the fastest all weekend, this is all thanks to the hard work put in by everyone at the Sahara Force India Academy over the last few months," said Jehan.
"This is one of the most competitive international races I have driven in. The lap times at the top are really close and the entire team has put in a lot of hard work over the weekend. Unfortunately I was held up by a backmarker, but I had a good race and still managed to win," said Ameya.
"This is one of the most important karting events in the world. Loads of people in motorsports will be following what is happening here at the World Championship.
"It is fantastic to see the Indian Flag on top in two out of the three categories at stake on the time sheets. It shows the world that the Indian motorsports is definitely coming of age in other areas.
"The biggest teams are here and it would be fantastic if we could have a similar result on day two," said Rayomand Banajee of Rayo Racing which is fielding all three drivers.
Steve Hodges, team head of Rayo Racing, said: "Participating here is a logistics nightmare. We had to pack and carry over 600 kg of karts, engines and equipment with us to Macau. The effort has paid off and we hope to do well on Sunday as well."