Chennai: Raghul Rangasamy from the nearby temple town of Mamallapuram, took a big step towards realising his dream of earning a ticket to the Mazda Road To Indy shootout in the United States later this year, by grabbing his first pole of the current season in the MRF F1600 class as the fourth round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Racing Championship got underway at the MMRT, here on Friday.
“As I am already 25, this is my last chance to make it to the Mazda Road To Indy shootout and I am giving it everything I have,” said Rangasamy, referring to the upper age limit for participation in shootout whose winner is eligible for a scholarship of USD 200,000.
Rangasamy, who is currently second in the championship, just 12 points adrift of leader Ashwin Datta, clocked one minute, 39.828 seconds, ahead of Sandeep Kumar (01:40.028) and Kolkata’s Arya Singh (01:40.268). Datta, who had started the season with a triple in the first round, had a poor qualifying session and will start the first race tomorrow from eighth position on the grid after clocking 01:41.010.
Reflecting on his qualifying run, Rangasamy said: “I used the tyre strategy to my advantage by doing a couple of hot laps and then cooling off in the pits before going out again. Today, it worked well for me.”
Earlier, Chennai’s Nabil Hussain (MSport), who heads the Formula LGB 1300 leaderboard, also qualified for pole position in his category with a hot lap of 01:53.679 followed by Ashwin Datta, also from Chennai, of Momentum Motorsports (01:53.705) and Bengaluru’s Sohil Shah of MSport (01:54.279).
Also grabbing pole position in their respective categories were: Varun Anekar of Race Concepts (Super Stock), Nikhunj Vagh of Team N1 (Indian Junior Touring Cars) and Raghul Rangasamy of Performance Racing (Esteem Cup).
Meanwhile, last year’s champion Arjun Narendran (Arka Motorsports) from Coimbatore, was the quickest in the Free Practice session for high-end Indian Touring Cars as he clocked a best of 01:52.812.
Dhruv takes pole position
Kolhapur’s Dhruv Mohite (01:54.959), who tops the Volkswagen Ameo Cup leaderboard, took pole position ahead of his nearest rival Saurav Bandyopadhyay of Mumbai (01:55.719).
MRF F1600: 1. Raghul Rangaswamy (Chennai) 1 min, 39.828 sec; 2. Sandeep Kumar (Chennai) 1:40.028; 3. Arya Singh (Kolkata) 01:40.268.
Formula LGB 1300: 1. Nabil Hussain (M Sport) 1:53.679; 2. S Ashwin Datta (Momentum Motorsports) 1:53.705; 3. Sohil Shah (M Sport) 1:54.279.
Super Stock: 1. Varun Anekar (Race Concepts) 1:56.579; 2.Srinivas Teja 2:1.802; 3. RP Rajarajan (Performance Racing) 2:1.818.
Indian Junior Touring Cars: 1. Nikunj Vagh (Team N1) 2:4.564; 2. Prabu AS (Arka Motorsport) 2:4.641; 3. Chris DeSouza (Unimek Racing) 2:5.718.
Esteem Cup: 1. Raghul Rangasamy (Performance Racing) 2:2.399; 2. Vinod Subramaniam (Team 1) 2:3.119; 3.Biren Pithawala (Team N1) 2:3.718.
Volkswagen Ameo Cup: 1. Dhruv Mohite (Kolhapur) 1:54.959; 2. Saurav Bandyopadhyay (Mumbai) 1:55.719; 3.Pratik Sonawane (Pune) 1:55.774.