Motor racing: Veterans to the fore in Super Saloon classFebruary 14th, 2009 - 9:56 pm ICT by IANS
Chennai, Feb 14 (IANS) It would seem that the veterans cannot be kept away if one were to go by Akbar Ebrahim’s pace in a modified Esteem in which he scorched the MMST track at Sriperumbudur with a sub-two minute lap of the 3.717 Km circuit to set the tone for the 12th JK Tyre National Racing Championship that began here Saturday.
Not surprisingly, Ebrahim, India’s first-ever international Formula race driver, took the pole position in the newly-introduced Super Saloon car class, ahead of two other veterans, B.Vijayakumar and C.Rajaram.
While he clocked a one minute, 59 seconds when the track temperature was low, he did a flying lap of 2:01.945 during the qualifying session this morning to highlight the fact that even at 40-plus, he still has plenty left in the tank.
Speaking to IANS, Ebrahim said: “I did not use a single imported item in modifying the car. All the parts, including the engine, dampers, springs and suspension were prepared locally. It was more a mix-and-match, but I got the set-up just right.”
While Ebrahim’s sub-two minute timing created a buzz in the Paddock, the young guns put in a competitive performance in the only four-wheeler race run Saturday, the LGB Swift class that Vishnu Prasad won sparing nearly two seconds to Sudarshan Rao who finished ahead of Prithveen Rajan.
The trio was involved in a race of their own as within a lap of the race, they had pulled away from the field. Prasad held on to a slender lead to prevail at the finish.
Meanwhile, India’s top rider Dilip Rogger yet again underlined his class by blitzing the grid in the Super Bikes race, despite incurring a 20-second penalty for a false start.
Riding in the 600cc class, Rogger, who intends to participate in the Italian championship later this year, ended up racing against himself as he opened up a massive lead by the end of the first lap itself to drub his opponents and win by nearly 43 seconds.
Such was Rogger’s pace that his cumulative time of 15 minutes, 33.831 seconds over eight laps was better than that of V. Vikram who took the honours in the 1000cc class with a time of 15:41.779.
Sandwiched between these races was the 45-minute Endurance event in the LGB Hyundai class where Sudanand Rajan (Team Wallace Sports), a commercial pilot, took the top spot completing 22 laps in 45:28:724 after surviving close attention from Akhil Devag of Ram’s Racing was also completed 22 laps in 45:28:952. In third spot was Vishnu Prasad (Ram’s Racing, 46:12:851/22 laps).
Rajan was made to work for his victory as Devrag tailed him almost throughout the race. Such was the pressure on Rajan that he even spun on the tricky Turn-2, but by then he had a comfortable cushion to emerge winner.
Formula LGB Swift (8 laps): Race 1 - 1. Vishnu Prasad 15:51:203; 2. Sudarshana Rao 15:53:096; 3. Prithveen Rajan 15:57:869.
Super Bikes (8 laps): 600 cc (Expert): Race 1 - 1. Dilip Rogger 15:33:881; 2. S. Gopinandhan 16:16:011; 3. Kiran Babu 16:49:161. 600 cc (General): Race 1 - 1. Vivek Pillai 16:40:569; 2. K.V. Balaji 16:45:553; 3. Alisha Abdullah 17:05:936. 1000 cc: Race 1 - 1. V. Vikram 15:41:779; 2. Mazhar Ahmed 16:19:726; 3. Sanjay Kumar 16:40:793.