Chennai: Bengaluru’s Tijil Rao (Momentum Motorsports) came up with a stunning
drive to win Race-2 in the Formula LGB 1300 category after starting from P14 on the opening day of the MRF MMSC-FMSCI Indian National Car Racing Championship 2023 Round-1 at the Madras International Circuit, about 40 km from here, on Saturday.
Rao, 20, a Business Management student, made up for a retirement in Race-1 that Raghul Rangasamy (Chennai, MSport) won earlier in the day after coming into contact with another competitor. Starting form P14 on the reverse grid, Tijil scythed through the field for a tremendous victory.
“Unfortunately, I was involved in an incident in the first race and so, had to make up for that in the next race. It was fun as I managed to overtake all the 13 cars in front of me and win. I should have more such performances,” said Tijil after finishing ahead of Deepak Ravikumar (Chennai, Ahura Racing) and last year’s champion Viswas Vijayaraj (Nellore, DTS Racing) who started from P11 on the reverse grid.
The day’s other winners were Deepak Ravikumar (Chennai, Performance Racing) in the Indian Junior Touring Cars category, Coimbatore veteran Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) in the Indian Touring Cars class, Thrissur’s Diljith TS (DTS Racing) in the Super Stock segment, and Angad Matharoo (Chennai, Redline Racing) who authored a lights-to-flag win in the MRF Saloons (Toyota Ethios) race.
While Tijil and Raghul scored good wins, much of the attention was in the Touring Cars race. Driving an under-powered stock car since his regular Honda City in ITC-trim was not ready for the race weekend, Balu quickly dropped to fourth overall after starting from pole position in the combined grid. Showing good pace, Ravikumar did not take long to get a jump on Balu early in the eight-lap race. So did two others, Akkineni Anand Prasad and Srinivas Teja. The three front-runners, taking part in the Indian Junior Touring Cars category, went on to deliver a podium sweep for Team Performance Racing with Ravikumar finishing well ahead of Prasad and Teja.
Behind the foursome, there were close battles up and down the grid. Balu’s team-mates Gurunath Meiyappan and Diana Pundole were locked in a tight tussle before the former finished second ahead of the Pune driver in the ITC category.
Further back, Dilijth claimed the honours in the Super Stock category ahead of local challenger Jarshan Anand (DB Motorsports) and Delhi’s Justin Singh (Redline Racing).
In the first Formula LGB 1300 race, pole-sitter Viswas Vijayaraj and Deepak Ravikumar forged ahead after the initial jostle through first of the eight laps. Viswas was harried by Ravikumar through much of the six laps, including a brief Safety Car period until the two made contact in the closing stages. Ravikumar dropped to ninth where he finished while Raghul passed Viswas who was nursing a damaged camber strut following the incident, to take the lead and eventually win the race. Finishing third behind Viswas was Bengaluru’s Chetan Surineni (MSport) who had started from P6.
The results (Provisional – all 8 laps unless mentioned):
Indian Touring Cars (Race-1): 1. Arjun Balu (Coimbatore) (15mins, 45.687sec); 2. Gurunath Meiyappan (Chennai) (16:03.174); 3. Diana Pundole (Pune) (16:04.053). All three from Race Concepts.
Qualifying (best lap – top 3): 1. Arjun Balu (01:56.126); 2. Rithvik Thomas (01:56.154); 3. Gurunath Meiyappan (01:57.086).
Indian Junior Touring Cars (Race-1): 1. Deepak Ravikumar (Chennai) (15:37.461); 2. Akkineni Anand Prasad (Chennai) (15:37.923); 3. Srinivas Teja (Chennai) (15:38.747). All three from Performance Racing.
Qualifying (best lap – top 3): 1. Deepak Ravikumar (01:55.197); 2. Srinivas Teja (01:55.341); 3. Akkineni Anand Prasad (01:56.670).
Super Stock (Race-1): 1. Dilijith TS (Thrissur, DTS Racing) (16:51.283); 2. Jarshan Anand (Chennai, DB Motorsports) (17:03.385); 3. Justin Singh (Delhi, Redline Racing) (17:08.050).
Qualifying (best lap – top 3): 1. Diljith TS (02:04.728); 2. Jarshan Anand (02:05.110); 3. Justin Singh (02:06.132).
Formula LGB 1300 (Race-1): 1. Raghul Rangasamy (Chennai, MSport) (16:36.969); 2. Viswas Vijayaraj (Nellore, DTS Racing) (16:39.114); 3. Chetan Surineni (Bengaluru, MSport) (16:40.603). Race-2 (10 laps): 1. Tijil Rao (Bengaluru, Momentum Motorsports) (19:18.886); 2. Deepak Ravikumar (Chennai, Ahura Racing) (19:31.153); 3. Viswas Vijayaraj (19:31.557).
Qualifying (best lap – top 3): 1. Viswas Vijayaraj (01:52.719); 2. Deepak Ravikumar (Chennai, Ahura Racing) (01:52.809); 3. Raghul Rangasamy (01:53.060).
MRF Saloons (Toyota Etios) (Race-1): 1. Angad Matharoo (Chennai) (16:38.754); 2. Zahan Commissariat (Mumbai) (16:39.058); 3. Jaiprashant Venkat (Coimbatore) (16:47.584). All three from Redline Racing.
Qualifying (best lap – top 3): 1. Angad Matharoo (02:03.052); 2. Diana Pundole (Pune, Redline Racing) (02:03.076); 3. Zahan Commissariat (02:03.458).