by : Anand Philar
- Volkswagen racers quickest in ITC practice
- Rupesh Kumar fastest in Formula LGB 1300
Coimbatore, June 21: With young guns hitting the front and Volkswagen Motorsport making a strong statement in the premium ITC category, the second round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Car Racing Championship 2019 commenced at the Kari Motor Speedway here on Friday, which was reserved for Free Practice sessions.
If practice timings are any definite indicators, then the competition in the Indian Touring Cars (ITC) promises to be hot and close even as Karthik Tharani (one minute, 08.672), Dhruv Shivaji Mohite (01:08.989) and Ishaan Dodhiwala (01:09.145), all representing Volkswagen factory team, clocked the three fastest timings in Free Practice.
Yet, the VW camp was wary of veteran Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) who sat out FP2 with turbo issues while in FP1, no timings were recorded from the transponder of his car as it was not fitted in the designated spot. The Race Concepts camp said they were awaiting a replacement for the turbo from Bengaluru, the team’s base.
“We are happy where we are now with all our three cars performing as per our expectations, but we expect stiff competition over the next two days. For FP2, we just went out for a lap to scrub the tyres which we have to preserve for the qualifying and three races,” said Sirish Vissa, head of Volkswagen Motorsport India in an oblique reference to Balu who is expected to set the pace tomorrow during the qualifying session.
Coimbatore’s septuagenarian D Vidyaprakash (Prime Racing) topped FP2 in 01:10.700 with most other competitors opting to sit out.
Meanwhile, Salem’s Rupesh Siva Kumar (Momentum Motorsports) emerged quickest in the Formula LGB 1300 class that is packed with young aspirants, with a hot lap of 01:09.451 in FP2, closely followed by Bengaluru’s Sohil Shah (M Sport) whose best was a 01:09.546. Sohil had topped FP1 ahead of Rupesh who, however, went quicker in the next outing.
Mumbai racer Saurav Bandyopadhyay went fastest in the Volkswagen Ameo Class, clocking a best of 01:09.606 which he did in FP1 while Jeet Jhabakh (Hyderabad) was the second quickest in 01:09.776. The FP2 session witnessed slightly slower pace with Jhabakh (01:10.098) topping the timesheets followed by Pune’s Prateek Sonawane (01:10.270) and Bandyopadhyay (01:10.379).
In the Super Stock category, Bengaluru’s Rithvik Thomas (Race Concepts) posted the quickest time of 01:14.231, ahead of team-mate Prateek Benya (01:14.744) and Chennai’s RP Rajarajan (01:15.091) of Performance Racing.