Coimbatore, July 15 (IANS) Bengalurus Ashish Ramaswamy of Red Rooster Performance team came up with a stunning drive and won the premier Indian Touring Cars class race in the MRF MMSC Indian National Racing Championship at the Kari Motor Speedway, here on Saturday.
Running second behind fellow-Bengalurean Deepak Paul Chinnappa (Race Concepts) until two of the 15 laps to go, the 25-year old Ramaswamy passed the leader who was struggling with the loss of two gears, and emerged a deserving winner.
The duo finished well ahead of third-placed C. Rajaram (Prime Racing).
Meanwhile, in the Volkswagen Ameo Cup, Delhi's Karminder Singh grabbed the pole position after being quickest in both the free practice sessions before topping the qualifying time sheets.
Chennai's Sandeep Kumar was second ahead of Kolhapur's Dhruv Mohite.
Chinnappa started on pole after defending champion and original pole-sitter Arjun Narendran (Red Rooster Performance) missed the race due to engine problems, but dropped to last after failing to engage the clutch when the lights went off.
However, he fought his way back and eventually passed front-runner Ramaswamy to open up what seemed to be a winning lead. But with two laps to go, Chinnappa lost two gears and Ramaswamy seized the opportunity to regain the lead to win.
Narendran was the quickest in both the free practice sessions. However, in the second practice outing, he went in hard at Turn-1, locked up the brakes and slammed into the kerb causing damage to the chassis and the engine block which subsequently developed a crack.
In the qualifying session later in the afternoon, Narendran was again the quickest, but towards close the engine expired in a billow of smoke. Following an inspection in the garage, the team decided to change the engine while opting to sit out the race.
"I thought I did well in practice and qualifying in terms of timings, but I damaged the car during FP2 at Turn-1 where I hit the kerb after locking up the brakes," Narendran said.
"In qualifying session, I was quick, but then, the engine blew. So, I had to sit out the first race on Saturday and will start the second race on Sunday from the back of the grid," he added.