The fifth and concluding round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Racing Championship, commencing at the MMRT track here on Friday, is poised on a knifes edge with multiple drivers lined up for titles in their respective categories, thus setting the stage for some intriguing contests.
The weekend programme also includes the Volkswagen Ameo Cup besides the third and concluding round of the MMSC fmsci Indian National Drag Racing Championship which will be run on Saturday (practice) and Sunday (final).
At the top of the heap in the National Championship that is likely to undergo changes next season with combined grids in single-seater and saloon car categories, is the MRF F1600 which offers the champion a ticket to the Mazda Road To Indy shootout later this year.
Hyderabad’s Anindith Reddy, with six wins in 10 outings, heads the leaderboard with a comfortable 44.5 points lead over Sandeep Kumar from Bengaluru going into the triple-header this weekend.
In the premier Indian Touring Cars class, everything points to a straight shootout between championship leader Deepak Paul Chinnappa (Race Concepts) from Bengaluru who is ahead of a late-charging defending champion Arjun Narendran (Red Rooster Performance) by just seven points.
While Chinnappa enjoyed a brilliant start to the season with four wins on the trot, Narendran, shuttling between England where he is pursuing higher studies and India for the races, shrugged off a poor start to post three victories in a row to put his campaign back on track. With a maximum of 50 points at stake in this weekend’s double-header, neither can afford to drop points.
The situation is similar in the other three saloon cars categories, the Indian Junior Touring Cars, Super Stock and Esteem Cup, all of which run on a combined grid, and have three races this weekend.
Eight points separate Hisham EKP (DTS Racing) and Kamlesh Parmar (Team N1) in the IJTC. Varun Anekar (Race Concepts) enjoys a 57-point lead over RP Rajaran (Performance Racing) while Anant Pithawalla (Team N1) has a 16-point advantage over Narendran Sankaran (Red Rooster Performance) whose team-mate Sudanand Rajan is a further 16-point adrift in third place.
Kolkata’s Arya Singh (DTS Racing) appears well poised in both Open and Rookie categories of the Formula LGB 1300 class leading Bengaluru’s Yash Aradhya (Momentum Motorsport) by 31 and 28 points, respectively.
On changes to the championship next season, Chairman of the Meet Vicky Chandhok said: “We decided on combined grids from next season’s MRF MMSC fmsci Championship to make the races more competitive. The spectators would get to see more overtaking on the track.
“The ITC and Volkswagen Ameo Cup cars are almost on par on pace, and that should make for some exciting racing and overtaking when run concurrently. The MRF 1600 and the Formula LGB 1300 will also run on combined grid. We may also combine more classes to give spectators more of what they want plus give drivers new challenges.
“The MMRT has a FIA International license which permits the track to have up to 42 starters and we intend to use that from next year. It’s time for big changes to make it a more exciting spectacle.”
Race Director Manoj Dalal said: “We have 18 new high definition cameras in Race Control which will enable us to monitor the races even more closely from our screens and take immediate calls on any photo finish, many of which we’ve seen in the recent past or on-track incidents.”