Coimbatore: Pole-sitter Dhruv Mohite let slip his position early on but fought well to regain his destined place as Kolhapur boy struck gold in the season-opener to win Race 1 of the Volkswagen Ameo Cup, the sole one-make category in the MRF National Racing championship, at the Kari Motor Speedway here on Saturday.
Born in the family that nurtured racing for several years with a karting track of their own, it was but natural for Dhruv to take up the sport and after driving in various championships from karting to Formula race cars, this Kolhapur driver has now consciously opted for factory-backed One-Make series that was launched in 2010 with ubiquitous Polo cars.
Now in its third avatar as Ameo Cup for second year running after two seasons of Vento Cup, Volkswagen Motorsports India has had an eventful run in Indian motorsport.
It was no different on a pleasant and windy Saturday afternoon when Dhruv let his driving take front seat despite losing his lead for a brief period to Hyderabad’s Jeet Jhabakh, who eventually finished second on the podium.
Dhruv put in a commanding performance to win the Ameo Cup Race 1 after qualifying to win pole earlier in the morning. He lost his track position initially to Jhabakh, but the Kolhapur driver made his presence count with a stunning run to retake the lead, while Thane’s Saurav Bandyopadhyay finished third after his own small fight for this podium place with Pune’s Pratik Sonawane.
Jhabakh made best start as he raced into Dhruv’s line and took the lead before the first corner on the first lap itself. For four laps Dhruv bided for his time before he retook the lead on lap 5 of the 15-lap race that tested the drivers to no end on a narrow Kari Speedway that has always been a challenge for bigger One-make series cars.
Behind the top two drivers, Pratik had got off to a brilliant start with a near perfect launch that helped him dive into the first corner ahead of Saurav on the first lap.
Volkswagen Ameo Cup:
Race 1: 1. Dhruv Mohite (Kohlapur) 17 minutes 44.976 seconds; 2. Jeet Jhabakh (Hyderabad) 17:49.205; 3. Saurav Bandyopadhyay (Thane) 17:54.758; 4. Pratik Sonawane (Pune) 17:56.275; 5. Affan Sadat Safwan (Chittagong) 17:57.360.