Raghul Rangasamy retains MRF F1600 title
Raghul Rangasamy, from the temple town of nearby Mamallapuram, kept his wits about him to retain the title in the MRF F1600 category as did Kolhapur’s Dhruv Shivaji Mohite in the Indian Touring Cars class on the concluding day of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Car Racing Championship at the MMRT in Chennai on Sunday.
Also winning the National titles in their respective categories were Rithvik Thomas, the 26-year old from Bengaluru (Super Stock), Chennai’s Ashwin Datta (Formula LGB 1300) who had sealed the title yesterday itself, Hyderabad’s Jeet Jhabakh (Ameo Class) and Aiman Sadat (Bangladesh, Ameo Class Junior).
Rangasamy, 26, thus, earned a sponsored drive from MRF Tyres in one round of the Civic Cup Racing Championship in the United Kingdom. Although he finished fifth in the last race, he picked up sufficient points to annex the title for the second year in a row while finishing a highly productive weekend when he earned as many as 138 points.
“I am thrilled at this opportunity to race abroad and thank MRF for this opportunity which came as a pleasant surprise for me. As for this weekend, I came in trailing Sohil Shah by 43 points after a poor start to the season and was determined to win as many races as possible. Friday, when I picked up 68 points, gave me a huge boost. Overall, I am happy at the way the season ended after such a sluggish start that I had in the summer,” said Rangasamy had started weekend in seventh position on the leaderboard.
Dhruv Mohite, Ritvik Thomas emerge champs
With the ITC championship hanging in balance, the focus was on leader Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) who led Rayo Racing’s Mohite by four points. However, the reverse grid put paid to Balu’s aspirations as he started ninth while Mohite occupied P6. As the 10-lap race unfolded, it went topsy-turvy with septuagenarian D Vidyaprakash making two places to take the lead before he was overhauled by the faster Arjun Narendran (Arka Motorsports) and the Ventos of Mohite and Karthik Tharani while Balu made a few spots but got stuck behind Daniel Rowe, the South African guest driver.
Eventually, Narendran, a former National champion and taking part in this round as a non-registered driver (not eligible for championship points) won by the proverbial country mile, followed by Mohite, Tharani, Daniel Rowe, the South African guest driver and Balu.
Mohite, winner of three National karting titles and the Volkswagen Ameo Cup last year, said: “It feels great to win the Touring Cars championship. It has been a great experience to race with some of the legends of Indian racing. My thanks to the Volkswagen team for the support they provided and my championship win is due to this wonderful team effort. So far, it has been a great journey for me, from karting to the Ameo Cup, but winning the Touring Cars title tops it all. Coming into this weekend, I knew it would be tough going, but the unfortunate retirement of Arjun Balu yesterday turned everything in my favour.”
Rithvik Thomas, 26, said: “Yes, obviously, winning the Super Stock championship is a great feeling, but I would have enjoyed the success more if there had been a tight fight right up to the final race. Coming here, I was hoping that it would be so, but I will take this title anyway.”
Jeet Jhabakh tops in Ameo Class category
Jhabakh, the 26-year old businessman for whom racing is a hobby, had not entertained any hopes of winning the championship. “I did not have the best of starts to the season, and so decided to enjoy myself rather than worry about points. I am thrilled to win the title and my thanks to the entire Volkswagen team which is like a family to me, for the support I received from them,” said Jhabakh.
Ashwin Datta seals Formula LGB 1300 title
Earlier on Saturday, a second-place finish saw Ashwin Datta of Momentum Motorsport emerge champion in the Formula LGB 1300 category with a race to spare.
Datta, who turns 21 in November, needed just one point to seal the championship going into this weekend and he managed to come in second behind team-mate Deepak Ravikumar and ahead of Mohamed Ryan (M Sport) in the eight-lap race that was run behind a Safety Car in the mid phase due to on-track incidents involving three cars.
The result took Datta’s tally to 163 points, well clear of Sohil Shah (M Sport, 95) who opted not to race in this category and concentrate on his races in the MRF F1600 class. Lying third in the championship is Chirag Ghorpade (Momentum Motorsport, 85).
“It feels great to win the championship with one race to spare. I had a good race today, starting from 11th position as I could not post a time in the qualifying session due to some problems with my car. After about three laps, three cars in front of me, went off the track and later, myself and Mohit Aryan were dicing for first and second. However, both of us went off the track under late braking in the last lap. In the process, Deepak Ravikumar capitalised and won the race ahead of me,” said Datta.
National Championship winners:
MRF F1600 – Raghul Rangasamy (Mamallapuram).
Indian Touring Cars – Driver: Dhruv Shivaji Mohite (Kolhapur, Rayo Racing). Team: Race Concepts (Bengaluru).
Super Stock – Driver: Rithvik Thomas (Bengaluru, Race Concepts). Team: Race Concepts (Bengaluru).
Formula LGB 1300 – Driver: Ashwin Datta (Chennai, Momentum Motorsports). Team: Momentum Motorsports (Chennai).
Volkswagen Ameo Class – Jeet Jhabakh (Hyderabad) and Aiman Sadat (Bangladesh, Junior).