It would have been a perfect gift for Ashwin Sundar's birthday on Saturday, if only he could have managed to sneak ahead of Japan's Yudai Jinkawa to win the MRF FF 1600 category race on Saturday.
Jinkawa, starting on pole position, managed to fend the twenty-three-year -old Ashwin's challenge in the third round of the MMSC-FMSCI national racing championship at the Irungattukotai race track while Tarun Reddy, also from Chennai, finished third.
The top-three managed to break away from the pack early in the race, but were forced to regroup after the safety car was introduced after two different incidents for two laps each. Jinkawa stayed dominant through the race to make good of his start.
Narrowly missing the first place did not bother Ashwin. "I did not want to risk myself by better to push for a victory. I have a comfortable lead in the championships and wanted to maintain my car for Sunday's races," said Ashwin.
Jinkawa not competing for the driver's championship also made reduced the pressure on Ashwin. "Jinkawa controlled the race, but with him just competing for individual races it reduced my burden," he said. The top-three did go close, but the leader board remained unchanged.
The writer's trip was sponsored by Madras Motorsport Club