November 29, 2015: Race 2, round 4 at the Buddh International Circuit, race six of the 2015 Vento Cup, was a far cry from the straitlaced Race 1 that took place the day before. While the drivers managed to shave up to four seconds off of their round 3 times, thanks to the cold weather allowing the 180bhp Ventos go faster, besides their increasing familiarity with the circuit, the wintry smog remains an issue, to the point that the reverse gridded race grid got onto a rolling start with the safety car ahead due to poor visibility. For a change, the grid leader, this time, Prabhanj Paruchuri, managed to keep his lead till the fifth lap, before spinning out and crashing into the side wall just before the last corner. Despite the long held lead, trailing cars remained hot on Paruchuri’s heels, with reverse grid expert Karminder Singh sparing no time to climb up the grid. Having started at number six, Singh was number three by the third lap and clenched top spot when Paruchuri buckled during lap five.
Race 2 also also a lot of the safety car, thrice in total, including the rolling start at first. The second time, guest driver and willner of the Chinese leg of the Vento Cup, Zhang Quan Shang spun out, resulting in a yellow flag and hence a lap behind the safety car. The Audi R8 turned up the third time around after Paruchuri’s spin-out. Sailesh Bolisetti lost out on his pole position after overtaking during a lap behind the R8.
After what looked like an exciting eight lap run, Karminder, Sailesh and Ishaan in cars numbered 23, 19 and 17 respectively were the top three contenders to cross the chequered flag. As mentioned earlier, Sailesh was penalised for overtaking during a safety lap, while Karminder’s position was challenged by Ishaan and guest driver Dhruv Behl, as the feisty racer from Delhi, after being accused for nicking the challengers in his bid to clench the pole position, managed to hold onto number one for race two, albeit with a warning. Ishaan Dodhiwala and Anindith Reddy occupied position two and three on the podium respectively. The race also marked the fastest lap time around the Buddh circuit in the Vento Cup series, with Karminder lapping the 5.12 kilometre track in 2:26.664.
Race 3, based on second best lap-times of the qualifying round, began with Sailesh, Anindith and Ishaan at the top of the grid in that order. Karminder and Anindith standing just two points apart on the table, were the only two contenders for the championship title, with Ishaan trailing behind both, having a best-case-scenario shot at the second runner-up spot.
After a rather disappointing, crash-laden race 2 in the morning, the drivers, as per driving coach Rayomand Banajee’s instructions, tried keeping the final race of the series as clean as possible. This in turn meant little movement within the grid throughout the race. Bolisetti maintained the lead throughout the race, while never trying anything outlandish, in an attempt to secure his number one podium finish. A fight between Anindith and Ishaan ensued for second spot, where Anindith too played his cards safely in order to secure his championship victory, and in the process, let Ishaan take second spot in the final race. Karminder remained unusually sedate during the race after being given a final warning post race 2 for his aggressive driving and stuck to his fourth position during all of Round 4, race 3. .
While the top of the grid saw little movement, the lower grid saw a massive crash during lap 3, near the third corner between cars numbered 8, 21 and 3, driven by Parth Wadia, Chinese guest driver, Zhang Quan Shang and Harikrishnan Wadia respectively. Parth managed to negotiate the crash with only a damaged bumper, although Harikrishnan’s number three car headed straight for the barrier, suffering damage to the chassis. Meanwhile car number 21, after losing control, only went off the track. The crash was followed by a lap behind the safety car, which costed Bolisetti his painstakingly consolidated lead in the race, which although did not affect his position in the race at the end of eight laps.
Anindith Reddy, last year’s Junior champion, snatched the lead from Karminder in the tournament, winning the first season of the Vento Cup, Karminder coming runner-up and Ishaan finishing third overall. Pradeep Rao Vaidyam from Mumbai won the Junior championship in the 2015 Vento Cup.
Round 4, Race 2 results
Sr. no. Car. no. Driver Total time
1 23 Karminder Singh 27:02.166
2 19 Sailesh Bolisetti 27:04.912
3 17 Ishaan Dodhiwala 27:05.151
Round 4, race 3 results
Sr. no. Car. no. Driver Total time
1 19 Sailesh Bolisetti 23:07.820
2 17 Ishaan Dodhiwala 23:08.914
3 25 Anindith Reddy 23:09.893