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Final Countdown

2nd Mar 2010 8:00 am

Ashwin Sundar takes victory in both the races of MRF International Challenge Round 3.

The final round of the MRF International Challenge 2010 held at the MMRT in Chennai saw a repeat performance from Ashwin Sundar in the F-1600 class, despite Team A1 India driver Parthiv Sureshwaran threatening the Chennai youngster’s domination, capturing pole in the qualifying session and winning race one from pole, only to be penalised with a ten second briefing thanks to his absence in the compulsory drivers’ briefing.

Veteran rider Sriskandarajah wrapped up the Group D Indian bikes class with élan while Sailesh Bolisetti continued his domination in the Super Saloons. Welsh rider David Jones was on fire as well, improving his lap time yet again to a best of 1.42.763 in race two, raising the benchmark even further for our guys to catch up to.

MRF Formula 1600
Joining the elite F-1600 grid for the final round was Parthiv Sureshwaran, A1GP driver for Team India. Parthiv made no bones about his blistering pace as he set the quickest time in qualifying, over a tenth quicker than Ashwin Sundar sharing the front row with him. Chris Wootton and Gaurav Gill took third and fourth respectively.

As the lights went out for race one, Parthiv took full advantage of his pole start, running away from the pack with Chris Wootton chasing him down, with Gill behind him. Ashwin had lost two places from start, slotted in fourth. He slowly started making his way up, moving into third after Gaurav lost time thanks to an off-track excursion. Ashwin then started closing onto Chris and finally made his move, finishing his race in second place. Unfortunately for Parthiv, a ten second penalty was handed out for absence at drivers’ briefing, which promoted Ashwin and Chris to first and second places respectively, with Parthiv having to settle for third.

A reversed grid was adopted for race two, which saw Arjun Balu lead the pack briefly before the faster guys in the back started to make their moves. Ashwin quickly filtered through the pack and finally emerged in front, with Arjun Balu and Ajay Kini in hot pursuit. Gill made his move past Ajay, with his INRC teammate Arjun in his crosshairs.

Meanwhile an interesting duel raged between Parthiv and Ajay, for fourth place, as former tried pressurising the young Chennai lad from many angles, with Ajay credibly holding up Parthiv’s attacks till the chequered flag. Arjun Balu finished third, being relieved of his second place by Gill who was unable to whittle down Ashwin’s massive lead.

Superbikes 600cc
Welshman David Jones continued his lap record spree aboard his Triumph Daytona 675, facing little competition from rest of the grid with Irishmen Gavin Hunt and Roger Maher being his closest rivals. Amongst Indian riders, it was Satish Kumar who made short work of the competition, a credible feat considering the little seat time under his belt compared to most riders in the class. M Gautham and Alok Shashidhar took second and third in both races.

Indian bikes: Group B 2S and Group D 4S upto 165cc
Sriskandarajah continued his march in the Group D class, with Shyam Shankar and Sarath Kumar of Ten10 Racing finishing second and third in both races. In the two stroke Group B class, it was P Deva Kumar who took the chequered flag in race one, followed by S Murali and K Umesh Babu. In race two though, it was S Murali who took ultimate honours, thanks to Deva Kumar suffering a DNF.

Tin tops: Super Saloons and Race Star Cup
The combined grid of Super Saloon class Esteem and RSC Esteems just had to be thoroughly exciting thanks to a total of 21 cars on the grid. Sailesh Bolisetti had dominated the Super Saloon class coming into the final round, while the picture in the RSC class was much more murky, thanks to several protests and counter-protests.

As the lights went out for race one, it was Sailesh who slingshot into the lead once again, with Siddharth Kishore, who had qualified an unexpected second, chasing him down. In third place was Nithvin Ravindran- trying hard to hole Siddharth’s defences. The latter was unable to maintain his momentum though, and fell behind- giving an easy win to Sailesh with Nithvin finishing second ahead of Sivaramakrishnan. 

Race two saw Sailesh running into mechanical issues in the opening lap, as a result of which Siddharth Kishore took race lead and maintained his consistent pace to the chequered flag. Sailesh’s teammate R Sriram finished second with Nithvin finishing third.

In the concurrently running RSC class, it was B Balavijay who came out tops after a thorough duel with Mohd Fahad Kutty of Game Over and Deepak Chinnappa driving for FRK Racing, with the trio finishing in the same order for race two.

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