: Volkswagen Motorsport India entered the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Car Racing Championship 2019 in the ITC Category as a factory team for the first time over the last weekend. The Round 1 of the National Championship was held at the Kari Motor Speedway near Coimbatore with a total of 10 drivers on the grid. Three of these cars were Volkswagen Vento race cars built by the factory team based out of Chakan, Pune. Volkswagen Motorsport India got its former onemake series winners Karthik Tharani (Polo Cup 2014), Ishaan Dodhiwala (Vento Cup 2016) and Dhruv Mohite (Ameo Cup 2018) to drive the 1.8-litre turbo charged Vento race cars.
Right from the word go, the race cars put up the fastest lap times. In the Qualifying session, it was Dhruv who took the pole position with a fastest lap time of 1:07.829 minutes. The two other Vento race cars of Karthik and Ishaan took third and fourth position respectively on the grid for the first race of the weekend.
In the first race of the weekend, pole-sitter Dhruv led from start to finish and registered the first victory for Volkswagen Motorsport India’s factory team in ITC. Behind him was Karthik who had a phenomenal launch as the lights went green and moved up from third spot to second spot right at the beginning of the race. From there, it was no looking back for Karthik who finished second on podium. Ishaan was running fourth throughout the race until he was forced to retire after running over fluids on the track leaked from another competitor’s car.
For the second race of the weekend, the top six positions were reversed from the results of Race 1. This meant, Dhruv stated way back in sixth position with Karthik just ahead of him in fifth position. That was no reason for the two drivers to hold back though. Sprinting from back of the grid, Karthik took lead while Dhruv the second position early on in the race. Ishaan, who started in seventh position, also made a mark for himself by climbing up to third position. The three drivers then drove all the way to take the chequered flag in the same positions giving Volkswagen Motorsport India a 1-2-3 finish.
Volkswagen Motorsport India
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The third race started with Karthik in pole position joined by Dhruv in second position on the front row and Ishaan in fourth position on the second row. Karthik and Dhruv led the race from the front to finish 1-2 yet again. Unfortunately, Ishaan had to retire from the race early on.
With three wins across the three races of the weekend in the highest category of circuit racing in India, Volkswagen Motorsport India has made a bold statement and arrived in style. The seven podium finishes have proven the potential of the Vento race cars put together by the factory team under the leadership of Sirish Vissa. With these results, Volkswagen Motorsport has also brought forward advanced technology that Volkswagen offers to the race track and proven its dominance against all other participating cars.
Commenting on the extremely successful debut in National Championship’s ITC category, Sirish Vissa, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport India said, “I am thrilled with what we have achieved over the weekend. We have been developing our race cars from last year and it has been a rollercoaster ride for us since then. We had decent pace last year as well, but it was not good enough to win races. We then made adjustments to the car’s dynamics to make it go quicker mid-corner which helped us gain an advantage over the competition.” He added, “In Karthik, Dhruv and Ishaan, we have three young and dedicated drivers who are working hard towards developing our race cars further and bringing home results that we could only dream of before coming to Coimbatore.”
The National Championship will now move to Madras Motor Race Track for the Rounds 2, 3 and 4. Talking about the way forward, Sirish said, “First of all, on behalf of Volkswagen Motorsport India, I would like to thank FMSCI for updating the regulations of ITC to accommodate cars with new and modern technology that has allowed us to enter the championship. A lot of credit to the performance of our cars also goes to MRF who have developed top spec tyres that help us in extracting the full potential of our cars.” He added, “Despite our success here, we are not yet done. We have a lot of work to do before getting into the races at Chennai. The track is different with more flowing and fast corners and we will have to make further adjustments to our cars’ suspension to make it go quicker. Arjun Balu’s Race Concepts car is already running very competitively, and we are expecting to face tougher competition in Chennai with even more participants coming in. It is not going to be an easy task for us and we are looking forward to healthy competition in the coming rounds.”
Volkswagen Motorsport India’s entry into the ITC category was to highlight its efforts in Customer Sport programme. Under this programme, the factory team aims to build and provide modern race cars even to private teams that have the potential to win.