Noorani bags surprise pole in round two of Polo Cup

By Bharat Sharma

Coimbatore, July 16 (IANS) Mumbai driver Rahil Noorani's aggressive strategy in the opening laps paid off as he claimed the pole position in the rain-affected qualifying session of Polo Cup Round 2 at the Kari Motor Speedway here Saturday.

Noorani, choosing to come out on the track for the first two laps with the rain playing hide and seek, clocked 1 min 16.439 secs to set the tone for third and fourth race of the season Sunday. Chennai-based Ajay Kini, featuring in his first race of the season, recorded 1:16.493 and will start second on the grid ahead of Pune's Oshan Kothadiya, who set a time of 1:16.553.

Noorani's "surprise pole" has also added spice to the championship as leader Vishnu Prasad's effort of 1:17.065 got him the ninth fastest time. Prasad had won the first two races from pole position.

The qualifying saw intermittent showers, forcing the drivers to the pits to change the air pressure in the dry weather tyres. It started pouring after the first two laps but the drivers avoided to switch to wet tyres thinking they will lose time in the 30 min session.

The luck was also on Noorani's side as light drizzle gave way to heavy showers when he parked his car and other drivers found it tough to accelerate on a wet track.

"With the rain coming and going, I chose to go all out in the opening lap. The rain got heavier after the first two laps and I decided to go back to the pits. It turned out to be the right decision in the end," Noorani told IANS.

When asked whether he expected pole after finishing 19th of the 20 drivers in the second race last month, the 21-year-old said: "Honestly, I did not expect it. Everyone thought Vishnu will be the fastest."

Vishnu, 17, was in disbelief after his performance but vowed to comeback strong in the race.

The teenager said his driving style is suited to wet tyres and if it rains on the morrow, he will win the race.

"I don't know what happened. I drove okay but could not get the time. Seeing the weather trend here, it looks it will rain again and it is something that I prefer," Vishnu told IANS.

Vishnu had raced to victory in the previous race after starting from eighth position.



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