Chennai: It will be well and truly a home race for Chennai based riders Sarath Kumar and Rajiv Sethu of team RAMA Honda by NTS T Pro Ten 10 as Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) returns to Madras Motor Racing Track after the gap of four years.
The penultimate round of the championship will see riders from Australia, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Chinese-Taipei as two aforementioned riders will represent India in the championship.
India’s sole full-season riders Sarath will race in premier Super Sport 600cc category while youngster Rajiv Sethu will be participating in the Asia Production 250cc class.
The third category for the ARRC at the weekend will be Underbone 150cc class. Also on the weekend card are double-header support races in the Honda CBR 250 (Open) and TVS Apache 200 (Open) categories.
24-year old Sarath is excited about his home race but has set the realistic target for himself. “Obviously, I am very excited to be racing on my home track and in front of our fans. The expectations will be high and that adds to the pressure, but it’s quite inspiring,” he said.
“As for my realistic target, it is to get my lap time under 1:46 (one minute, 46 seconds) which will get me closer to the front bunch of riders. The 600cc field is very strong and has plenty of experienced riders with World Championship exposure. So, you can expect a very high level of competition,” he further added.
Adapting to bigger engines
The rider also accepted that he had to adapt to the bigger machine compared to 250cc bike which he rides in the national championship.
“Here in the National championship, I ride the 250cc bike and so, when I get to the ARRC, I have to adapt to the bigger machine. It takes time and lot of effort. The progress can be a bit slow. However, this weekend, I will do my very best to deliver a good result.”
Sethu, who has been touted as an exciting talent in the country, reflected on his first home race in the ARRC and does not want to disappoint the home fans with the outing.
“It has been a learning process for me in the ARRC this season. I have been improving with every outing and this weekend, I want to do better than my previous best finish of 16,” he said.
Sarath, Sethu improve timings at MMRT
In the premier Super Sport 600cc category, veteran Thailand star Decha Kraisart (Yamaha) clocked a sizzling one minute, 41.305 seconds around the 3.717 Kms track in the third Free Practice session bettering the previous best of 01:42.787 set by Kawasaki rider from Malaysia Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman who is also the current championship leader.
India’s sole rider Sarath Kumar was three seconds off the pace of the leading pack but kept on improving his timing just like the other riders.
The other Indian, 18-year old Rajiv Sethu, taking part in the Asia Production 250cc class, was also off the pace, but improved his timing by nearly seven seconds over three practice sessions.