Michelangelo Amendola takes the crown!
The MRF2000 season came to an end with Amendola taking home the championship thanks to a stunning weekend and a very consistent season overall. Arjun Balu took the overall win in the saloons category and Sohil Shah shone through in the MRF1600 races. We also bid farewell to the Ameo Cup cars that raced for the last time before being replaced by the new Polo Cup cars next year.
The first race of Sunday started nice and early with ideal track temperatures. With a reverse grid start — Yuven Sundaramoorthy was on pole with Manaf Hijjawi and Joshua Mason behind him, Amendola who won the previous race started in sixth. The start was very close, but the brilliant racecraft of the drivers meant there was no contact. Sundaramoorthy and Hijjawi pulled away from the rest of the pack by the third lap, eeking out a gap of about three seconds to Dylan Young who was in third place after overtaking Mason. The fight in the middle of the pack was heating up with five drivers from third place all the way down to seventh place bunched up and attacking each other. Amendola seemed to struggle with traffic in front and soon came under pressure from Largim Ali. Sundaramoorthy kept Hijjawi at bay through the race to take first place with Young coming in third.
The second race of the MRF2000 series on Sunday started with Sundaramoorthy on pole again ahead of Hijjawi, Louis Foster and Amendola. Foster stole the lead from Sundaramoorthy within the first couple of laps. A collision between Mason and Hijjawi in the first few laps meant the safety car had to come out, bunching everyone up. Foster absolutely nailed the restart and soon got the gap to Sundaramoorthy to about a second. Amendola was playing catch up to the two in front, getting his personal best time in the process but it lead to no amends. The top three were within one and a half seconds of each other and lapping with near identical times. Young made a rare mistake near the tenth lap and fell down to sixth place. Mason soon started to pull away and the finishing order was set with Mason first, Sundaramoorthy second and Amendola taking the final podium spot.
Amendola was already the champion coming into the final race of the season, having led the table for a long time and showing his dominance over the weekend, he just had to bring the car home. His opponents weren’t going to let it be that easy for him though. Young started on pole, followed by Valdemar Eriksen, Reece Ushijima and Amendola. The cars were very close at the start and Ushijima was caught out by Amendola, Sundaramoorthy and Foster who all moved up places on him. Young was in a league of his own right from the word go, flying away into the distance to let the others fight it out behind him. Amendola was charging on Eriksen, getting within half a second of him but was unable to complete the move. The fight between the two meant that Sundaramoorthy and Foster caught up to them by the sixth lap, meaning it was a four way battle, with all four of them separated by just one and a half seconds! Amendola made another charge on Eriksen in the tenth lap but Eriksen held his line and made no errors whatsoever. The race ended with Young in first, Eriksen coming home in second place and Amendola taking the final podium spot, although the Championship trophy would have wiped away the woes of not winning the race.
The first race of the MRF1600 category had a reverse grid which promised some action, and we were not disappointed! Chrvs D’Souza started on pole, followed by A. Balaprasath and Anindith Reddy. It was a close race overall but Balaprasath had an incident which caused the safety car to come out and the race went from exciting to absolute manic! Vishnu Prasad took the lead and was being put under immense pressure courtesy of Rahul Rangasamy who was lapping faster than him. A little further down the order, Reddy and Karthik Tharani were having their own battle for fourth place, keeping us absolutely on the edge of our seats. Prasad ended up taking the win, followed by Rangasamy and Tharani.
The second race of the day saw Sohil Shah on pole ahead of Rangasamy and Prasad. Shah jumped into the inside as soon as the lights went out, catching Rangasamy off guard who had to quickly shift to the outside. Right after that Shah was racing on another level, putting in personal best times, one after the other and running away into the distance. Arya Singh made a brilliant move on Reddy on the second to last lap for fifth place. The tables were turned for Rangasamy and Prasad this time around as Prasad was being held back by him, determined not to give up that second place spot. Sohil Shah took home a flawless victory, followed by Rangasamy and Prasad.
The most awaited race for any spectator, close action, thrilling overtakes and a mixed bunch of cars. What more can one want? Well, if you’re Arjun Balu none of that matters because his Honda City, built by Race Concepts, was lapping almost 2-3 seconds faster than anyone else on the track, before there were technical issues later on. The sheer pace in the start allowed Balu to take the lead in just over a lap!
Volkswagen Motorsport was holding the Ameo Super Race, bidding farewell to a fantastic era of racing in the Ameo Cup cars, and their last race was a worthy send off indeed. The Ameo cars were soon lapping the fastest times , with our Editor not too far off pace either, making up places to get into thirteenth overall. The Ameo cars ended up in second, third, fourth and fifth places overall, if that isn’t a testament to their engineering then we don’t know what is! Arjun Balu took the win in the ITC category, Anmol Singh was the fastest among the Ameo Cup cars and Rithvik Thomas was the winner among the Super Stocks.