After losing out on his maiden victory in the Ameo Class season opener last month, Pratik Sonawane comes back into the game with a big win at the Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) in Chennai.
If the history of Indian Motorsports was to be rewritten, Volkswagen Motorsport India's premier racing championship would certainly be honoured as one of the most captivating to witness. After hosting Round 2 in Coimbatore last month, the 2019 MRF MMSC FMSCI Indian National Car Racing Championship (INCRC) resumed this weekend at the MMRT in
Chennai. Soon after the qualifying rounds for the Indian Touring Car (ITC) Class and the F4 Series, Race 1 of the Ameo Class began right afterwards.
Before we get to the race, it’s worth a mention that Pune’s Pratik Sonawane (#7) had taken the pole position with a blistering lap time of 1:53.729 in the qualifying round. Behind him, Mumbai’s Saurav Bandyopadhyay (#4) locked the second position in his favour while Hyderabad’s Jeet Jhabakh (#5) and Lucknow’s Siddharth Mehdiratta (#9) qualified third & fourth, respectively.
As the lights went out, Pratik Sonawane was off to a terrific start as he managed to hold on to his lead from start to end. In comparison to the first race at Kari, which witnessed a lot of car contact and vehicular damage, Race 1 at the MMRT witnessed incident-free proceedings. Behind Sonawane, a serious battle was in place for the runner-up position as Bandhyopadhyay had to fend off numerous overtaking attempts from Jhabakh. However, the racers could push to the max this time around as the track remained dry. While Sonawane brought home a legit win (his first of the season), Bandyopadhyay crossed the finish line in second, with Jhabakh close behind him in P3.
Sharing his thoughts on the occasion, Mr Sirish Vissa, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport India said, 'We had a lot of drama on Thursday due which the drivers lost some practice time. But the technical team put all the cars back together very quickly to ensure that no time was lost from Friday onwards. It has been a challenging week for us as a team and especially for the drivers as the weather conditions here challenging with high humidity and high temperatures.'
He further added, 'I am happy to witness the way the drivers managed to remain cool-headed in such challenging situations. This shows the number of mental preparations the drivers have made. Overall, it was a decent race.'
Meanwhile, race winner Pratik Sonawane stated, 'It was gradual progress for me through the weekend and most importantly, I had to adapt to the track conditions as they kept changing. On Thursday, my practice session did not go well. On Friday, however, I started picking up the pace and understood where exactly I could shave time. Steadily, I increased my pace according to my strategy and I am happy that it worked in my favour.'