The inaugural round of the Ameo Class in the 2019 MRF INCRC drew to a close in Coimbatore with its fair share of highs and lows. Here's a quick recap of how Race 2 & 3 panned out for the young racers.
It seemed providence wasn't on Pratik Sonawane's side in the opening round of the Ameo Class. After just missing out on a podium finish by a small margin in Race 1, Sonawane seemed determined to make things right in the following Race 2 on Sunday. As is the norm, the start order for Race 2 was determined by the famed reverse-grid system, which meant the top 8 finishers of Race 1 would find themselves in the opposite start order for Race 2.
This meant Jeet Jhabakh, Anmol Singh, Saurav Bandyopadhyay & Pratik Sonawane started their race from 8th,7th, 6th & 5th places, respectively. Meanwhile, Viraj Jhala, Avik Anwar, Aiman Sadat & Siddharth Mehdiratta took the top four starting positions, respectively.
As the lights went out, Sonawane and Singh made small work of their competitors as they managed to gain a few places on the first lap itself. However, Sonawane was in a zone of his own, as before the mid-way point of the race, he found himself leading the rest of the pack. From there on, he only had to focus on maintaining his pace. Despite this, Sonawane's lead kept increasing with each passing lap and he soon crossed the finish line in the first place, ahead of Anwar, Sadat & Singh, respectively.
But soon, things went downhill for Sonawane as the race stewards slapped a 10-second post-race penalty on him for repeatedly exceeding track limits (gaining an undue advantage by going off-track). This relegated him to sixth, handing the win to Avik Anwar. Three other racers, including Saurav Bandyopadhyay, were also handed the same penalty. Thus, Race 2 of the Ameo Class gave us Bangladeshi drivers Avik Anwar & Aiman Sadat as the top finishers, with Anmol Singh scoring yet another podium finish, closing the race in third place.
It was down to the final race of Round 1 of the Ameo Class where the drivers had their last chance to redeem themselves at the Kari Motor Speedway. The start order for Race 3 was determined by the second-best qualifying times posted by the drivers on Saturday. This meant the front row was once again occupied by Jeet Jhabakh, with Pratik Sonawane beside him. Behind them, Saurav Bandyopadhyay and Anmol Singh started from third and fourth, respectively.
By the end of the first lap, both Jhabakh and Singh had comfortable leads, running in first and second, respectively. However, it was behind them where the action was hotting up with each passing lap. Sonawane, Bandyopadhyay & Siddharth were driving bumper-to-bumper, a fight worth watching, for the third place.
Despite Bandyopadhyay's aggressive overtaking attempts, Sonawane fended him off to clinch the final spot on the podium. While he redeemed himself and somewhat managed to undo the effects of previous race's time penalty, the stars of the show definitely were Anmol Singh, as he secured three-for-three podium finishes & Jeet Jhabakh, who scored two victories on a single race weekend.
The Ameo Class competitors will next compete at Chennai's MMRT in July.