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The race weekend at Kari Motor Speedway was almost wretched with light drizzle every few minutes. Luckily the Volkswagen Ameo Class cars only dealt with a damp track during the first race of the season. The other two races were on a drying track. The second race on Sunday had a reversed grid, putting Viraj Jhala on pole while Avik Anwar started in P2. Pratik Sonawane started in fifth while Saurav Bandyopadhyay started P6.
Every one got off to a good start, but Pratik and Saurav were even quicker off the line. Pratik was charging up the order, passing car after car with every coming lap. For the initial laps, Avik and Aiman Sadat were on his tail. But Pratik was creating a gap at every passing corner. He crossed the finish line with close to 4 seconds between him and Avik. However, soon after he crossed the line the race stewards handed him a 10-second penalty for exceeding track limits at a certain corner pushing him way down to seventh place. This decision earned pole-sitter Avik the race win while Aiman took his first podium. Anmol had a difficult start from seventh position, but he gradually moved up and bagged the third position.
For the third and last race of the first round, the grid was decided on the second best lap time achieved by the drivers during Friday’s qualifying session. Jeet started on pole while Pratik joined him on the front row in P2. Saurav Bandyopadhyay and Anmol took the third and the fourth positions. The third race was by far the cleanest as per the MMSC Race Control. Jeet got off to a clean start, holding on to the first spot. Anmol made his move on Pratik on the first lap itself, pushing him to third. Right behind top three, Saurav was not ready to let off on the fight for third so easy, constantly putting pressure on Pratik. However, Pratik was determined to stay on podium and had no intensions of backing off on the top two either. Jeet finished the 15 lap race in first place with Anmol in a close second. Pratik managed to complete the podium in a respectable third place.
“The Race 2 was quite difficult for few of our competitors because they ran far-off the regulations in terms of exceeding the track limits, but the three winners really did a good job and managed to achieve the first three positions. I am really impressed to see Bangladesh achieve the first two positions and make their country proud. All of the drivers in the last race have set a benchmark in terms of driving standards by putting on one of the cleanest race we all have come across.” He added, “This year, we are also happy to be recognized as the class of Indian National Racing Championship which means whoever wins the series this season will be recognized as the Indian National Racing Champion, so that is something which I am really proud of. The crowning glory for us is the fact that the best lap for the first 16 drivers out of 18 was within a second. This is a testament to how well the technical team prepares the cars and how evenly matched all of them are.” Said Sirish Vissa, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport India
He further added, “Along with pre-season testing for the drivers to get to grips with the race car, we had organized a fitness assessment test along with a discussion about nutrition. National Egg Co-Ordination Committee (NECC) who is again onboard with us as the ‘Nutrition Partner’ took them through the importance of eggs in one’s diet. We are very thankful for NECC along with Venky’s for their consistent support to the program.”