- Pratik Sonawane and Saurav Bandyopadhyay finish second and third in the championship
- Aiman Sadat wins the junior cup of the national championship
The 2019 season of MMSC MRF Volkswagen Ameo Class National Championship concluded its final round at Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) in Chennai. As the action-packed weekend came to an end, it was Jeet Jhabakh taking the top honours of the National Championship title 2019.
The first race of the day began with the reverse grid and South African drivers in the picture. Anmol Singh who started second on the grid position gained momentum in the first lap and moved up into the lead and maintained it till the checkered flag. Jeet, who started in the ninth position climbed up in lap five, securing his second position on the podium. Female South African guest driver Tasmin Pepper who started 11th on the grid gave a tough fight to Pratik Sonawane who started eighth on the grid and made it to the podium. The first race of the final day also witnessed a crash towards the end of the final lap at the last corner.
The second race of the day was the decision-maker as the top three drivers including Pratik, Jeet and Saurav were separated by mere two points. The second race started off with guest driver Tasmin Pepper in pole position, Jeffery Kruger in the second position and Pratik Sonawane in third position. Tasmin and Jeffery maintained their first and second position till the chequered flag, while the Volkswagen National Championship contenders fought for the title. It is worth mentioning that although both the racers from South Africa weren’t racing for the title, they were about a corner or more ahead than the rest of the competitors in almost all the laps.
Pratik defended his position well from Saurav till the fourth lap where a tussle between Pratik, Saurav, Siddharth and Najeeb gave Jeet an opportunity and he took lead over all four drivers to attain third position, from the seventh position. This third position meant that Jeet got enough points to win the title.
After the race, we also had the chance to get a hot lap on the circuit in the Ameo Cup Race Car with Jeet, the winner of the championship, at the wheel. We jumped at the opportunity and learnt how it feels to be in one of the races, albeit until the time we were told that the racers were driving at barely 50 per-cent of their capacity when compared to hardcore race laps. The lap did leave me grinning ear to ear even as I type this.
During the award ceremony, Sirish Vissa, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport India, said, “Overall we had a clean race weekend. It was a tough fight between the drivers and was fun to watch the drivers fighting hard for the first National Championship title. With all the drama we had I don’t think a single person was sitting idle for any of the races this weekend. It has been an incredible year as well as a very difficult year with a large number of crashes earlier in this season and to recover from that. I would like to thank our driver coaches Rayomand Banajee and Karthik Tharani for training the drivers to become better drivers and to make the field competitive. We are very thankful to NECC, Venky's, Daily Objects and other sponsors for their consistent support to the program. It has been a fantastic season with a lot of team efforts of the Volkswagen Motorsport India team as well as the Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa team. It is only as a team that the sport gets better. We are also thankful to MRF and MMSC for conducting the race weekend.”