Ameo Cup 2017: Round 2

Chennai, July 22, 2017

Volkswagen Motorsport India’s dream of building the fastest saloon car which was embedded with world class technology and true to all the values that Volkswagen stands for had performed outstanding at the Round 1 of Ameo Cup 2017 in Coimbatore. For more racing, more speed more action the Round 2 of Ameo Cup 2017 moved to the Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) in Chennai.

The Madras Motor Race Track was inaugurated in the year 1990. It is one of the oldest race tracks in India and very popular amongst motorsport enthusiasts as it hosts the Touring Car Championship, Formula Asia, Formula India and biking events such as Asian Road Racing Championship. The track is 3.74 km and comprises of 12 turns which flow one into another, making it very challenging for the drivers.

The Ameo Cup racers came to the track for the first time this season with just a handful of racers having raced here in the past. Just like the hot temperature Chennai is known for, the racing was also going to be very hot with the stakes getting higher. Joining us from South Africa for this season’s driver exchange program was Devin Robertson, the leader of the Volkswagen Polo Cup back in his country.

First day of the race weekend started off with two 30 minute free practice sessions, which helped the drivers get a hang of the track. Constantly improving through the free practice sessions, the drivers went out for the qualifying session towards the end of the day. Guest driver Devin Robertson from South Africa had been the fastest in the free practice sessions with the Ameo Cup car. He carried his momentum into qualifying and clocked the quickest lap time of 1:54.150.  Joining Devin on the first row for race 1 was Sandeep Kumar clocking his best lap at 1:55.252. Karminder Singh and Saurav Bandyopadhyay qualified for the second row right behind Devin and Sandeep.

Mr. Martinus Daleman - Head of Technical Office, Volkswagen India Plant visited the event and flagged-of the first race of the weekend. Devin got off to a fabulous start and drove flawlessly, and won the race with a lead of over 10 seconds finishing with a best lap of 1:54.238. As anticipated there was a battle between Karminder and Sandeep, but a small mistake by Sandeep gave Karminder the gap he needed to move ahead and grab the second position in the race. Donovan Vaz of Goa had also gained a couple of positions from where he had started and chased Sandeep down, but Sandeep drove defensively and grabbed the final position on the podium.

Devin talking about his experience said, “The Ameo Cup Car is great to drive. It is very different from the Polo that I drive in South Africa. The free practice sessions helped me in getting accustomed to the race track which helped me going in to the race. The track is a bit bumpy and I had to adjust to its characteristics. The motor sporting culture in India is fabulous and there is a sense of comradery in the pits despite the competitive attitude on the race track.”

The race weekend concluded with the second race. With the top eight finishers of race 1 starting in reverse grid, it was local lad Rohit Goyal starting from the pole position along with guest driver Keith Desouza of Goa on the front row , with Dhruv Mohite from Kolhapur and Saurav on the second row. As the lights went off, Keith took off with a good launch and got past Rohit even before the first corner on the first lap. Behind him, it was Dhruv who also got off to a brilliant start with a near perfect launch which helped him dive into the first corner ahead of pole sitter Rohit. However, at turn three, Dhruv got past Keith and took the lead in the race. Thereafter, Dhruv didn’t look back and took his first win of the season.

Behind Dhruv was where all the action was. Karminder who started seventh climbed three positions in just one lap, he was on a charge throughout the race and took advantage of every opportunity to get ahead in the race, after several attempts he got pass Keith and got into the second position. Devin also set an example for all the drivers by showcasing his impressive racing skills when he started eight and finished third.

Expressing his thoughts about the first win of the season, Dhruv said, “I had a perfect launch at the start which helped me in getting a lead early in the race. Since I was driving here for the very first time, I had to learn the track.” He further added, “The 2017 season of Ameo Cup has been a good learning for me so far and every race I have gained formidable knowledge. Going forward my focus is to be consistent and complete every race of the season in the best possible position.”

Upon concluding the second round Mr. Sirish Vissa, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport India said, “I am enthralled with the Ameo Cup race cars’ reliability and performance under such demanding conditions. The MRF tyres support the cars well and have not deteriorated even in the toughest of conditions which is a great positive. It helped the drivers concentrate on their line and perform consistently.” He further added, “The 2017 season has so far seen four different winners, which makes the competition exciting.” Karminder Pal Singh now extends his lead in the 2017 season of Ameo Cup after performing consistently with podiums in all of the races so far.