A reverse-grid formation for Race 2 on Sunday in Round 4 of MRF F1600 Championship saw Yash Aradhya start on pole from Nirmal Uma Shanker with Arya Singh and Goutham Parekh right behind the leading duo at Madras Motor Race Track in Chennai.
Aradhya led the way at the start from Shanker but Singh lost out to Parekh and Raghul Rangasamy in the opening lap with Race 1 winner Nayan Chatterjee and Sandeep Kumar right on his tail in a closely packed field of drivers.
The youngster from Bangalore continued to lead the race with Parekh and Rangasamy then clearing Shanker as well to fill up the podium position. But behind them, there was a tangle involving Chatterjee, Kumar and Karminder Singh.
While Kumar and Karminder retired immediately, Chatterjee pitted under the safety car. This brought Ashwin Datta and Keith Desouza up to fifth and sixth as Arya dropped to seventh. The re-start was crucial for Aradhya against his experienced rivals.
The Bangalorean managed well and saw through the attacks of Parekh to claim his second win of the season holding off title contenders Parekh and Rangasamy with only 0.871s separating the three over the finish line.
Shanker fended off a late charge from Desouza who managed to clear Datta for fifth but did not have laps to get through Shanker in the end. Arya lost another place to Bala Prasad to be eighth with Rupesh Sivakumar, Chetan Korada and Sai Sanjay completing the 11 runners.
It came down to the final race of the season to decide the champion with Rangasamy and Parekh in the duel. The duo were separated by just the 11 points after the end of the second race in the finale weekend.
A clean getaway for Rangasamy at the start of the finalr ace made it easier for him in the battle as he ran second behind Chatterjee with Parekh down to fifth in the opening stages as Kumar and Shanker were third and fourth respectively.
But Parekh did not give up as he cleared both Kumar and Shanker in the sapce of two laps to sit close behind his rival Rangasamy who was in chase of Chatterjee. Even with the pace advantage, it seemingly became a losing fight for Parekh.
Only a retirement for Rangasamy at that stage would have given him the title but it wasn't to be as Rangasamy took it rather calmly. Parekh did overtake him on the final lap but the title belonged to Rangasamy with 182 points to Parekh's 174 in the end.
Meanwhile, at the front, Chatterjee scored his second win of the weekend to end the season on a high after a difficult first three rounds. Early title challenger Kumar's chances started to diminish after some average races but he ended the season on a good note with fourth place.
Shanker rounded out the Top 5 from Aradhya with Desouza eight on his tail over the finish line. Another early title challenger especially after the heroics in Round 1, Datta lost the momentum in the middle races to drop behind as he finished eighth in the final race.
Datta had a tough fight fromt Prasad, Sivakumar and Arya in the Top 100 with Karminder and Sanjay rounding out the 13 finishers while Korada was the lone retirement from the race. The overall standings had Kumar in third with 133 points.
Meanwhile, the Formula LGB 1300 champion was also crowned earlier in the day with Sohail Shah winning his maiden title.
About the Author
Darshan Chokhani is a FIA Accredited journalist covering both Indian and International championships, including Formula 1, MotoGP, Formula E, World Endurance Championship and more. Although specialising in motor racing, but follows Cricket, Tennis, WWE and events involving Indian athletes.