Arjun Balu, Chirag Ghorpade top practice sessions

Chennai: Bengaluru schoolboy Chirag Ghorpade put in a dominating performance in the MRF F1600 class while defending champion Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) from Coimbatore survived a dramatic spin and emerged the fastest among saloon cars as the second round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Car Racing Championship commenced at the MMRT, here on Friday.

Ghorpade, only 16, did 01 minute, 39.809 in the first practice session and went even quicker in the second, clocking 01:39.761. His arch-rival, Shahan Ali Mohsin, the teenager from Agra, who leads Ghorpade in the championship standings following his double in the first round, matched the timing with a 01:39.937 in the morning run, but was way off the pace in the second session due to gearbox issues and was placed ninth.

“I am quite happy with my lap times today, though I need to improve a bit in the first sector,” said Ghorpade.

Earlier, Balu topped both the practice sessions in the premier Indian Touring Cars class. He clocked a best lap of 01:51.680 in the first outing this morning and bettered it with a 01:51.308 in the afternoon despite a vicious spin that led to a brief red flag stoppage.

“We made some setup changes for the second practice session. There was far too much grip in the front and I spun, but am happy that I could still post a quick lap thereafter,” said Balu.

In the Formula LGB 1300 category, Viswas Vijayaraj from Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, clocked 01:53.143 in the second practice session for the best lap. It improved on his 01:54.159 in the earlier outing which his DTS Racing team-mate from Kolkata, Arya Singh, topped (01:53.993).

Bangladesh’s Aiman Sadat (01:57.049) was the quickest in the Volkswagen Polo class as he topped both the practice sessions that promise close battles this weekend with half-a-dozen drivers covered by less than one second.

In the MRF Saloon Cars category (Toyota Etios) that has a grid of 21, Ahmedabad’s posted the best lap of 02:05.257 over two practice sessions.

The qualifying sessions for all categories followed by five races will be run on Saturday.

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