Greater Noida - India’s Aditya Patel finished third behind Malaysians Afiq Ikhwan and Nabil Jeffri in the 11th round of the JK Racing Asia Series that was run at the Buddh International Circuit here Saturday, while Akhil Khushlani finished fourth.
The Chennai-based Patel momentarily led the field before losing position to Ikhwan, who started from pole, and Jeffri on the last lap, just a few corners before the finish line.
Patel, who drove for US Formula Project team, said: “Obviously, it’s a great feeling. I got into third place at the start and as the race went on, I gained a little and I lost a little. Then lap by lap I started chipping away at Nabil and Afiq. Then Nabil caught up to him with two laps to go and that’s when it got tight between the both of them.
“It was a really really tight race. I was fighting for the lead with Afiq on the last lap and Nabil was also there and I think we were all over the place. At the end of the day, to finish on the podium was good, but to know I could have won the race it doesn’t feel as great.”
Khushlani, the 22-year old from Hyderabad who had finished second in the fourth round at Silverstone, moved up from his eighth place start to finish fourth.
Khushlani said: “The race was brilliant. I just kept my pace, drove sensibly and didn’t want to take risks. Eighth to fourth, I am quite happy with that and I hope tomorrow I can go for the podium.”
For 21-year-old Ikhwan, it was an emotional moment as he survived a close battle with Jeffri and Patel who, incidentally, clocked the fastest lap of the race with a 1:50.803.
“I would like to dedicate this trophy to my mum on her 50th birthday. In the beginning, I had a really good pace, but the conditions of the car deteriorated after five laps and I don’t know why.
“After lap 5, I saw Nabil closing the gap. He was coming really fast from third, but I just did my job and kept defending my line right to the end of the race,” said Ikhwan.