GREATER NOIDA: Thousands of different hues, official count says somewhere around 35,000, thronged Buddh International Circuit in the lazy winter sun here on Sunday. The spectacle of speed amid loud revving engines of racing cars and a copious sprinkling of entertainment led by the Punjabi singer Daler Mehndi pepped up the day.
There were crashes, safety cars, drifting and stunts in between too. The grand finale of JK Tyre Racing Championships, billed as JK Tyre Festival of Speed, had its share of thrilling moments as Vishnu Prasad of MSport lunged ahead of teammate Raghul Rangasamy to win the prime Formula LGB-4 JK Tyre FMSCI National Racing Championships. Tied at 73 points apiece, the final laps showed the true prowess and alacrity of the two drivers. Vishnu crossed the chequered flag and Raghul finished third, good enough to take the runner-up spot in the overall championships.
For Vishnu, it was vindication after throwing away the title in the final race of last season. Back then, he had gone into the race with a lead of 6 points over Raghul. However, when the chequered flag was waved, it was his opponent who was celebrating a title victory. “I did not win anything last year,” said Vishnu. “I think that was the first time I did not win anything over a single year. I got so close and I threw away the championship in the last race. I was so frustrated with myself. Today my mentality was that I already have twelve championships, I don’t need to prove anything. So I just need to go all out and win the race.”
With two Formula LGB4 titles and three Formula BMW titles in the last five years, Vishnu has little left to prove in India. He still harbours hopes of a stint abroad though he admits racing single-seaters is not realistic. “I’m looking at GT cars now because I don’t think Formula cars are leading anywhere,” said the 26-year-old Chennai racer. “GT cars are a lot less money because it only requires you to pay 20 per cent. We’re talking to a couple of people but it’s too early to say anything.”
Bangalore Racing Stars — Arjun Maini and Oliver Webb, Vishnu Prasad and Michelle Gatting — claimed Round 1 of the X1 Racing League powered by JK Tyre, thanks to their two wins on Day 1. They also won the last race of the round, the relay race, to emerge clear victors. Mumbai Falcons, (Kush Maini and Mikkel Jensen, Karthik Tharani and Pippa Mann) won one of the two races of the day and had to settle for the second position.