Leelakrishan Completes a Double in JK Tyre National Racing

Chennai, Oct 16 (IANS): Veteran Narayanaswamy Leelakrishnan of RAD Racing completed a grand double in the Super Saloon class to keep himself in the running for the overall title in the JK Tyre National Racing championship here Sunday.

The two wins took Leelakrishnan's tally to 126 points while front-runner Vijaykumar Rajvirdhan (Prime Racing) moved to 174 following two second place finishes over the weekend. The championship concludes with the sixth round in New Delhi in November.

As in the first race Saturday, Leelakrishnan barely put a wheel wrong in the second outing that he started from fourth following the reverse grid and took the lead after three laps.

He passed the early leaders, including team-mate TR Radha Selvarajan who subsequently retired due to engine seizure, and held position quite comfortably while Rajvirdhan and Siddharth Kishore finished second and third, respectively.

"At least, I can say that the race craft is still in me," said the 46-year old Leelakrishnan, a former multiple National rally champion after the race. "My car was good and thanks to my team that worked hard on my vehicle."

That he is in title contention despite missing two races at the start of the championship, speaks volumes for Leelakrishnan's driving and especially considering that he returned to the track after a 18-year break.

"Someone remarked that it would take me four seasons to get on pace, but I can point out to my critics that in my first race in Coimbatore (second round), I started last and finished eighth. Throughout this season, I didn't have contact with any of the cars.

"I also had four consecutive second place finishes, clocked the fastest time-ever of two minutes, 00.245seconds during qualifying here Saturday and also won both races," said Leelakrishnan.

Although Leelakrishnan has only a mathematical chance of winning the championship, Rajvirdhan, who passed former champion Radha Selvarajan after a few contact between the two, need to only finish among points in the concluding round.

In the Formula LGB Swift class race, Ameya Walavalkar (Mars Racing) shrugged off an exclusion from the first race due to a technical irregularity, won the second Sunday, but not before another visit to the Stewards room.

"Apparently, there has been a miscommunication regarding the regulations concerning the lower arms. My team did what they thought was correct, but it wasn't and I got caught in the cross-fire," said Walavalkar, who also pointed out that he had the most number of wins (five) this season in his category.

The results:

Touring Cars - Super Saloon (10 laps): Narayanaswamy Leelakrishnan (RAD Racing) 1 (20mins, 29.397secs); Vijaykumar Rajvirdhan (Prime Racing) 2 (20:34.978); Siddharth Kishore (Performance Racing) 3 (20:38.533).

Indian Junior Touring Cars (10 laps): Diljith Shaji (LCT Sigaram Sports) 1 (21:46.694); Feroze Khan (HCZ Racing) 2 (21:47.312); B Balavijay (Moto-Rev India) 3 (21:57.816).

Formula LGB Swift (10 laps): Ameya Walavalkar (Mars Racing) 1 (19:50.101); Chittesh Mandody (Meco Racing) 2 (19:50.817); Sarosh Hataria (Meco Racing) 3 (20:02.970).

Polo R Cup - Race 1 (10 laps): Rahil Noorani (Mumbai) 1 (20:46.700); Oshan Kothadiya (Pune) 2 (20:49.075); Avdumber Hede (Goa) 3 (20:51.552). Race 2 (10 laps): Gaurav Dalal (Chennai) 1 (20:43.175); Vishnu Prasad (Chennai) 2 (20:48.082); Mihir Dharkar (Pune) 3 (20:52.651).


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