Rajiv aims for another top 10 finish in ARRC final round

C Shyam Sundar

Buriram (Thailand), Nov 28 (PTI) India's Rajiv Sethu will be hoping to end the Asian Road Racing Championship 2019 on a high and add to his points tally in the seventh and final round, beginning at the Chang International Circuit here on Friday.

Participating in the Asia Production 250cc class, the Idemitsu Honda Racing driver has so far collected 33 points, which includes a top-seven finish in the third round at the Chang Circuit.

Sethu, in his third season in the ARRC, became the first Indian rider to finish in the top 7, with a new fastest lap time (1:53:573).

He is already in the top 16 from among the 40 riders in the AP 250cc class – which is an improvement from his overall 27th place in 2018.

The 21-year old Chennai-based Sethu is keen to secure another top 10 finish this weekend as well as the fight for the top honours in the category continues.

In 2018, he scored his maiden international points here and will be hoping the venue proves lucky again.

'Chang International Circuit is like a second home to me. This circuit has brought good fortune for my team and me in the past. I'm much more confident of my riding style here,' he said ahead of the final round.

'This weekend is about being in prime form, strategically moving ahead on the grid and avoiding any riding mistakes which can push me back. While Thai riders have the home-ground advantage here and 6 wildcards will heat up the competition even more, my aim is to be in top 10 here,' Sethu added.

Meanwhile, this weekend will provide an opportunity for Sethu's teammate Senthil Kumar to aim for a top 25 finish in his maiden season as he is familiar with the track.

The 18-year old said his aim was to get among the points in the season's final round.

Also, the Honda Racing team enters the final round in ninth spot among 20 teams (with 33 points) and will be hoping to add as many points as possible.

Reflecting on the team's performance so far, Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice-President-Brand and Communication, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. said, '2019 has been a great year for IDEMITSU Honda Racing India team. With 2 Top-10 and 8 Top-15 finishes, Rajiv is now consistently riding with the top bunch.' 'It was at Chang only that Rajiv had qualified in Top 7 earlier this year. Now we are confident that Rajiv is primed better his record here and close 2019 season with a bang. Senthil too has improved his race-craft and gained points in his debut season itself. As the 2019 season wraps up this weekend, we are vying for a strong finish this season,' he added.

The AP 250cc title fight heads for a close finish as Indonesian riders Irfan Ardiansyah and Andy Muhammad are tied at the top with 176 points each.

The final round of Thailand Talent Cup (Honda's development programme for Asian riders) will be held over the weekend. Representing the next breed of Indian racers going global with Honda will be Kritik Habib from Gadag, Karnataka (ranked 21st). PTI SS AH AH