MRF F1600: Anand Wins Twice, Reddy Once in Chennai
 July 19, 2016| 
  • Feeder Series

SRIPERUMBUDUR, India – Vikash Anand continued his impressive form in the MRF Formula 1600 Championship, winning two of the three races held last weekend on the recently resurfaced Madras Motor Race Trick in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, India. Anand is now unofficially tied on points with early season pacesetter Karthik Tharani, who crashed during qualifying and was forced into a backup car for the remainder of the weekend.

The championship winner will earn an opportunity to attend the inaugural Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout, joining other champions from around the world at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in December. The shootout winner will earn a $200,000 scholarship to compete in the 2017 Cooper Tires UDF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Anand, who missed the first two races of the season, triumphed in a thrilling opening encounter on Saturday. After starting from the pole, Anand trailed both Sandeep Kumar and Anandith Reddy in the opening stages, then capitalized when the two leaders briefly ran off track on Lap 6. Anand took full advantage and sped to the victory, leaving Kumar to hold off Reddy by just over a half-second at the finish.

“Yeah, it was pretty close,” said a relieved Anand. “I started from pole but, after an off at Turn Two, slipped to third. However, I put in consistent laps to stay in touch with Sandeep and Anindith. I then regained the lead when the two went off the track. However, I was not able to sustain the pace since the track was a bit slippery, but managed to stay in front and win.”

Regulars Raghul Rangaswamy and Arjun Narendran completed the top five ahead of former Nissan GT Academy racer Abhinay Bikkani, making his MRF debut, and series leader Karthik Tharani, who had started the season with four wins on the trot but finished a distant seventh after starting last on the grid after his crash in qualifying. Consequently, he swapped cars with that of an absent Goutham Parekh, but was never in contention for a podium finish.    

Anand struggled in the second race on Sunday morning, finishing a distant sixth after a couple of off-track excursions while Hyderabad’s Reddy took the honors for his maiden open-wheel victory. Rangaswamy and Kumar finished well adrift in second and third, while Tharani earned some valuable points in fourth.

Anand managed to gather himself and win the third race for a double, finishing 3.9 seconds clear of Reddy. The consistent Rangaswamy notched his sixth podium finish in nine races, while Tharani rose to fourth despite having to start at the back of the field after the grid was set by each driver’s second fastest lap in qualifying.

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