Ameo Cup 2017: Round 1

Coimbatore, July 15, 2017

Anticipation ran high as the first race weekend of season was around the corner. Round 1 of the Ameo Cup 2017 started with two free practice sessions and a qualifying session on day 1 in Coimbatore at the Kari Motor Speedway. The drivers had already completed three days of pre-season testing to get accustomed to the race car and rightly so as this car is very different from its predecessors. With advanced electronics and powertrain the car needs some getting used to. The free practice sessions gave the new drivers an opportunity to prepare themselves and fine tune their setup to complement their driving styles before the qualifying session.

Karminder Singh, who won the sponsored drive for the Ameo Cup 2017, maintained his top position with a fastest lap of 1:09:006 during FP1 (free practice 1). Jeet Jhabakh, last year’s Junior Cup winner of Vento Cup 2016 and Sandeep Kumar were very close with their lap times of 1:09:239 and 1:09:427 respectively. Dhruv Mohite who has immense experience in karting but is a rookie to saloon car racing qualified fourth with a lap time of 1:09:894. The same contestants were in top four for free practice two. Karminder was on top with the fastest lap of 1:09:583 followed by Sandeep Kumar with 1:09:971. There was a close fight between Jeet Jhabakh and Dhruv Mohite with a lap time of 1:10:073 and 1:10:351 respectively.

Karminder was the fastest racer through the practice sessions and managed to continue his top pace to clinch the pole position in qualifying with a time of 1:09:368. Joining him on the front row of the grid was Sandeep Kumar a mere 0.426 seconds behind Karminder. Dhruv Mohite qualified third for the first race, 0.773 seconds behind the leader. Jeet Jhabakh qualified in fourth place, 0.107 seconds behind Dhruv. The competition was so high that the top six were separated by barely a second.

Coimbatore, July 16, 2017

Karminder Pal Singh from New Delhi carried the momentum from qualifying to take the first victory of the season. As the lights went off, Karminder got off to a great start and held his position all through the race. Sandeep Kumar from Chennai followed him to grab second position after battling with Jeet during the initial laps. Karminder built a comfortable lead over Sandeep who himself built a huge gap over third placed Jeet but all for naught. A safety-car period late in the race meant the lead had vanished and the restart would have some surprises in place. As the safety car was coming in Jeet Jhabakh and Donavan Vaz overtook a car each and were penalized 20 seconds for overtaking under yellow flag. Though they finished third and fourth across the line, the additional penalty time added to their race time pushed them further down the order to 11th and 12th positions respectively. That automatically bumped up Aditya Pawar to the final spot on the podium for Race 1. With minimal damage suffered through race 1, it shows how mature the drivers already are as they show their respect for each other on track. This strengthens the fact that our driver development program where we cover these important nuances of racing is helping the drivers already. The fact that the race cars themselves had no technical glitches on their debut round is a testament of its build quality and the efforts of the team responsible of getting the cars up and running.

Race 2 of the weekend started with top four finishers of Race 1 reversed on the grid. The second race of the day turned out to be an action packed one as the leaders from the first race were now hunting for positions coming from the back. Starting at pole was Tauhid Anwar from Bangladesh followed by Aditya Pawar, while starting on second row were Sandeep Kumar and Karminder Pal Singh. As the race started Sandeep, Karminder and Dhruv overtook Tauhid at the first corner while Aditya was squeezed out and dropped several positions. The battle for first position was intense throughout the race. Karminder tried challenging Sandeep Kumar almost every lap. In spite of the umpteen attempts by Karminder, Sandeep’s held his nerve and continued his faultless drive. Sticking to his defensive line, Sandeep Kumar managed to stay ahead and went on to win the race. Dhruv Mohite played safe through the race by staying behind the race leaders and finishing third on the podium. Behind the top three was Jeet Jhabakh who drove impeccably through the race starting at the eleventh position moving on to sixth by end of lap 1 and finally finishing in the fourth position for the second race of the weekend.

Both the races were filled with excitement as all the drivers showed their talent on the race track. Race 2 had action down the order as well and kept the spectators at the edge of their seat from the start till the chequered flag. Looking at the performance of the drivers in the car, one can confidently say that, the Ameo Cup car is the fastest, most reliable saloon car in India.

Mr. Sirish Vissa, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport India, commenting on the first round of the season said, “The Ameo Cup race car has exceeded the expectations. The car has raised eyebrows among the entire motorsport fraternity with its speed and consistency. I am extremely proud of the car, the entire team who put the cars together and all our sponsors like MRF, Gulf India, Gestamp, Woodland Outdoors & MMSC not to mention the Board of Directors of Volkswagen who has helped us put the whole program together. Even the drivers, drove phenomenally over the weekend and I cannot wait for Round 2 as we move to MMRT (Madras Motor Race Track). The flowing nature of the race track will suit the cars better and would be even faster. It will be exciting to see how these racers perform in Round 2.”