National Racing: Bengaluru schoolboy Sohil Shah clinches Formula LGB 1300 crown
Chennai, September 8: Sohil Shah, a 17-year old schoolboy from Bengaluru, scripted a fairytale finish to his debut season by emerging champion in the highly competitive Formula LGB 1300 category in the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Racing Championship at the MMRT here on Saturday.
Joining Sohil as a National champion was Prabhu AS (Arka Motorsports) from Namakkal who took the title in the Indian Junior Touring Cars class. In the decisive final race today, Prabhu finished second behind his title rival Chrys D’Souza (Unimek Racing) from Goa, but the latter was docked a 30-second penalty “for causing collision” which pushed him to third while Surat’s Nikunj Vagh (Team N1) was elevated to second spot. Prabhu finished the championship with 103.5 points to D’Souza’s 95.5.
Meanwhile, Raghul Rangasamy moved a step closer to his dream of winning the MRF F1600 championship as he finished second behind Mumbai’s Nayan Chatterjee and took his tally of points to 152 which put him 14 clear of Goutham Parekh who finished third in today’s race. The Championship, whose winner becomes eligible to participate in the Mazda Road To Indy Shootout in the United States later this year, will be decided tomorrow when two more races are run with a maximum of 50 points available.
Later, Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) moved within 13 points of leader Ashish Ramaswamy (Arka Motorsports) from Bengaluru by winning the premier Indian Touring Cars class race with surprising ease. Balu, hailing from Coimbatore and returning to racing after a five-year break, made capital of his pole position start to win by nearly 13 seconds with Ramaswamy finishing second after getting past team-mate Arjun Narendran who slowed down considerably in the last lap due to “handling issues”, as he put it. It meant, going into tomorrow’s last race, Ramaswamy leads Balu 149-136 with 25 points on offer.
Sohil (M Sport) finished second in the race behind Balaprasath (DTS Racing) but the 18 points he thus earned saw him finish on top in the category with 154 points, just four clear of Chennai’s 19-year old Ashwin Datta (Momentum Motorsport) in the final championship standings. Sohil, who led Ashwin 136-135 after yesterday’s Race 1, made sure he finished ahead of his rival in today’s outing to secure the championship.
“This is my first season in a National Championship and to win a title, it feels fantastic. In today’s race, I knew I had to finish in front of Ashwin (Datta) to seal the championship, but it was tough. I had some issues with the engine and Ashwin was catching up with me, but I managed to stay in front,” said Sohil, a 12th standard student of Delhi Public School, Bengaluru.
The MRF F1600 race saw Chatterjee off to a good start and gradually pulling away from the chasing pack. Through the eight laps of the race, Chatterjee maintained steady pace to won by a handsome margin, while Rangasamy, with an eye on the championship, was content to come in second ahead of his arch-rival Parekh.
INDIANS DOMINATE CATERHAM QUALIFYING
Three Indian entries, B Vijayakumar (Coimbatore), Vicky Chandhok and MR Dastur, both from Chennai, qualified in that order for tomorrow’s Race 1 in the in the Caterham 7 Asia Zonal Championship double-header while a fourth home driver, Kasha Sai (Salem) took the sixth spot on the grid. Sandwiched between the home entrants were Sri Lankans Sheran Fernando and Andrew Jude Choksy. Incidentally, it was the maiden drive in the Caterham cars for Vijayakumar, Dastur and Sai while Chandhok had two podium finishes in the previous round last weekend.
POLE FOR FRENCHMAN GHIRETTI
France’s Alessandro Ghiretti, winner of two of the three races last weekend, warmed up for tomorrow’s triple-header in the Formula 4 South-East Championship by grabbing pole position ahead of Muizz Musyaffa (Malaysia) and Kane Shepherd (UK).
The results (Provisional):
MRF F1600 (Race-1): 1. Nayan Chatterjee (Mumbai) (13mins, 33.003secs); 2. Raghul Rangasamy (Mamallapuram) (13:36.349); 3. Goutham Parekh (Chennai) (13:39.932).
Formula LGB 1300 (Race-2): 1. A Balaprasath (DTS Racing) (15:41.318); 2. Sohil Shah (M Sport) (15:42.943); 3. S Ashwin Datta (Momentum Motorsports) (15:43.479). Champion: Sohil Shah (154 points).
Indian Touring Cars (Race-1): 1. Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) (15:12.890); 2. Ashish Ramaswamy (Arka Motorsports) (15:35.313); 3. Arjun Narendran (Arka Motorsports) (15:35.990). Turbo: 1. Karthick Tharani (VW Motorsport) (15:37.110); 2. Rayomand Banajee (VW Motorsport) (15:48.091); 3. Ishaan Dodhiwala (VW Motorsport) (15:50.365).
Super Stock (Race-2): 1. Srinivas Teja (Performance Racing) (16:53.173); 2. Deepak Ravikumar (Infinite Piston) (17:10.342); 3. Kasha Sai (Arka Motorsports) (17:12.346). Champion: Srinivas Teja (118.5 points).
Indian Junior Touring Cars (Race-2): 1. Prabhu AS (Arka Motorsports) (17:27.309); 2. Nikunj Vagh (Team N1) (17:38.045); 3. Chrys D’Souza (Unimek Racing) (17:43.479). Champion: Prabhu AS (103.5 points).
Esteem Cup (Race-2): 1. Raghul Rangasamy (Performance Racing) (16:50.288); 2. Jagadeesh Raj (Arka Motorsports) (17:03.421); 3. Lea Daran (Performance Racing) (18:59.539). Champion: Raghul Rangasamy (118 points).
Qualifying – Formula 4 South-East Asia Championship: 1. Alessandro Ghiretti (France) (01:37.757); 2. Muizz Musyaffa (Malaysia) (01:38.039); 3. Kane Shepherd (UK) (01:38.041).
Caterham 7 Asia Zonal Championship: 1. B Vijayakumar (Coimbatore) (01:54.589); 2. Vicky Chandhok (Chennai) (01:54.975); 3. MR Dastur (Chennai) (01:56.275).