The Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore was the setting for opening round of the 2019 JK Tyre FMSCI National Racing Championship. This year’s championship consists of four classes in total – LGB Formula 4, Suzuki Gixxer Cup, Novice Cup and the Red Bull Road to Rookies.
For the 2019 edition, the Euro JK class of previous years was discontinued, making LGB Formula 4 the premier class of the series. However, JK revealed plans of bringing in Formula 3 cars around October, this year, for a single round that will be held at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida. The grid for the same will likely be a 50-50 split between Indian and foreign drivers, with an intention to give Indian drivers a chance to compete and test themselves at the highest level.
For now, though, let’s take a look at how the first weekend of the 2019 JK Tyre National Racing Championship panned out:
LGB Formula 4
The LGB Formula 4 grid was a star-studded affair, with seven national champions competing against each other. Race 1 began with Ashwin Datta (Dark Don Racing) taking the lead into the first corner, going past polesitter Sohil Shah (MSport). From there on it was a three-way tussle between Vishnu Prasad (MSport), Rohit Khanna (Dark Don Racing) and Datta – who led the race up until the final lap. After a safety car restart on the last lap, he was passed by both Prasad and Khanna, and ended up with a 3rd-place finish. Prasad took his first victory for the weekend, followed by Khanna, who finished 2nd.
Race 2 was also a close affair from the start. However, MSport’s Raghul Rangasamy beat his teammate Prasad in the end, to claim victory. Dark Don Racing’s Sandeep Kumar A rounded off the last podium spot.
The third and final race of the weekend was filled with drama. From the off, Rangasamy and Prasad were battling for lead, with Prasad ultimately coming out on top. However, he was handed a penalty for forcing another driver off the track and handed the victory to Rangasamy. However, after the race, the stewards rescinded the penalty given to Prasad and reinstated him as the winner of the race.
Thanks to his three podium finishes, including two wins, Prasad leads the standings after Round 1 with a total of 28 points. Additionally, a new category for women was also introduced, to celebrate the best female racers in the LGB Formula 4 class. Vadodara’s Mira Erda (MSport) completed all three races as the fastest female driver.
1. Vishnu Prasad (MSport); 2. Rohit Khanna (Dark Don Racing); 3. Ashwin Datta (Dark Don Racing)
1. Raghul Rangasamy (MSport); 2. Vishnu Prasad (MSport); 3. Sandeep Kumar A (Dark Don Racing)
1. Vishnu Prasad (MSport); 2. Raghul Rangasamy (MSport); 3. Ashwin Datta (Dark Don Racing);
Suzuki Gixxer Cup
The Suzuki Gixxer Cup class was dominated by Syed Muzammil Ali. In Race 1, he started on pole and comfortably won the race, leading every lap. Tanay Gaikwad and Amul Angadi clinched 2nd and 3rd place respectively, from a 31-strong grid.
Race 2 was also straightforward for Syed Muzammil Ali, who took victory with over 5sec to spare. Gaikwad finished in 2nd place, clinching his second podium finish of the weekend, while Sidharth Sajan secured the final podium spot.
1. Syed Muzammil Ali (Bengaluru); 2. Tanay Gaikwad (Pune); 3. Amul Angadi (Coimbatore)
1. Syed Muzammil Ali (Bengaluru); 2. Tanay Gaikwad (Pune); 3. Sidharth Sajan (Coimbatore)
The JK Novice Cup class witnessed some of the best action of the weekend. 14-year-old Chirag Ghorpade was particularly impressive, taking pole position and victory for Race 1. He was followed closely by his Momentum Motorsports teammate Aaroh Ravindra and MSport’s Mohamed Ryan who finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Much like Race 1, Ghorpade led Race 2 from the start. The youngster brought in his 14th birthday in style, winning the Race 2 as well, with Ravindra finishing 2nd and DTS Racing’s Parikshit Dardhalli finishing 3rd.
The Novice Cup’s third race saw some serious drama. Ghorpade sailed past the chequered flag for the third consecutive time, only to be given a 10sec penalty for a jump start. This dropped him all the way down to 8th place, taking away the overall championship lead from him and instead handing it to Ravindra, who finished Race 3 in 2nd place. MSport’s Mohamed Ryan inherited the race victory while Mihir Avalakki of the Birel Art team finished 3rd.
1. Chirag Ghorpade (Momentum Motorsports); 2. Aaroh Ravindra (Momentum Motorsports); 3. Mohamed Ryan (MSport)
1. Chirag Ghorpade (Momentum Motorsports); 2. Aaroh Ravindra (Momentum Motorsports); 3. Parikshit Dardhalli (DTS Racing)
1. Mohamed Ryan (MSports); 2. Aaroh Ravindra (Momentum Motorsports); 3. Mihir Avalakki (Birel Art)
Red Bull Road to Rookies
The Red Bull Road to Rookies class saw Ikshan Shanbag of Satara underlining his potential with victories in both races. Aryan Gurav finished Race 1 in 2nd place while Aditi Krishnan came home in 3rd place. Shanbag won Race 2 in dominant fashion while Prashanth R and Aryan Gurav rounded up the podium for Race 2.
1. Ikshan Shanbag (Satara); 2. Aryan Gurav (Pune); 3. Aditi Krishnan (Bengaluru);
1. Ikshan Shanbag (Satara); 2. Prashanth R (Chennai); 3. Aryan Gurav (Pune);
Round 2 of the JK Tyre National Racing Championship is slated to be held at the same venue on August 30 and September 1. Stay tuned and watch this space for more coverage from the 2019 season.