Arjun Balu powers to victory in Touring Cars race

Chennai: Veteran Arjun Balu(Race Concepts) scripted a masterclass as he shrugged off fading lightand a drying track following
afternoon showers to win the onlyrace of the day in the third roundof the MRF MMSC-FMSCI IndianNational Car Racing Championship
at the Madras International Circuit,at Irungattukottai, about 40 kmfrom here, on Saturday. The eightlaprace for the touring carswitnessed some drama even beforeit commenced. Polesitter and Balu’steam-mate Gurunath Meiyappan,the championship leader in theIndian Touring Cars category,retired with a turbo issue on theoutlap itself and could not take thestart. Balu, the 48-year-old multiplechampion from Coimbatore, whohad qualified P3, made a great startand overtook Ritesh Rai, theprivate entrant from Chennai, byTurn-2 in the opening lap andnever looked back. His vastexperience was in evidence as hetip-toed past the water puddlesaround the track with a nearflawlessdrive and had somethingto spare at the finish. While Raicame in second, Mumbai’s BirenPitawalla (N1 Racing) completed
the podium. Behind the ITC carson the combined grid, DeepakRavikumar led a podium sweep forPerformance Racing, in the Indian
Junior Touring Cars class withAkkineni Anand Prasad andSrinivas Teja following him home.Mumbai’s Zahan Commissariat
drove well to take the honours inthe Super Stock category to snapa six-race win spree of TS Diljith(DTS Racing) who finished secondahead of Jarshan Anand (DBMotorsport). The afternoonshowers delayed the start of thepost-lunch session with three races
scheduled. In view of the trackconditions, the officials decided torun just the touring cars race whilepostponing the other two – MRF
Formula 2000/1600 and the MRFSaloon (Toyota Eitos) totomorrow. During the pre-lunchsession, Bengaluru’s Aditya
Swaminathan, in his debut singleseaterseason, grabbed the poleposition in the MRF Formula2000 category. AnotherBengalurean, Chetan Surineni,topped the charts in the MRFFormula 1600 qualifying session.Pune’s Diana Pundole, a motherof two, qualified for pole position
in the MRF Saloon (ToyotaEtios) category as did Nellore’sViswas Vijayaraj (DTS Racing) inthe Formula LGB 1300 class.

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