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Banajee bags honours

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Pune's Rayomand Banajee of Team Valvoline emerged champion in the Formula LGB category, the premier event at the end of a gripping seventh and final round of the JK Tyre National racing championship at the MMST track at Irungattukottai on Sunday.

No matter the difficult racing conditions brought about by rain, it could not have been a better finish with Banajee and close rival Sarosh Hataria tying on 98 points each.

After turning a non-starter in the first race along with another contender Ameya Walvalkar, and also with Sarosh Hataria starting off from pole position, Banajee had to finish among the top three. Starting seventh in the grid for the 12-lap race, Banajee grabbed the third place by the third lap when Gaurav Gill went for a spin and retained that spot. Hataria however was the day's hero, winning both the races in this category. As it happened, Banajee had five first-place wins and three second-place finishes, while Hataria had five first-place wins and two second-place results and that broke the tie.

Banajee earlier had a disastrous start in the Formula Maruti event, with the drive shaft of his vehicle falling in the first lap. Having started as leader with 81 points, he finished third overall leaving the focus on Amitrajit Ghosh (Team Valvoline) of Kolkata and Gaurav Dalal of Chennai. The former led the latter by one point at start and the end-result remained that way with the two splitting the two-race competition, Ghosh winning the first (reduced to nine laps because of heavy downpour) and Dalal taking the next.

In the Esteem category, which was completed on Saturday itself, Ayub Khan (124 pts) of Chennai was overall champion with his citymates K.E. Kumar (113) and Saran Vikram (68) finishing second and third respectively.

Later in the evening, JK Tyre's technical director, V.K. Misra gave away the prizes.

The results: Formula LGB: Race I: 1. Sarosh Hataria (Chen) 16:21:837; 2. Gaurav Gill (Del); 3. Sahil Shelar (Mumb); Race II: 1. Sarosh Hataria 16:38:821; 2. Gaurav Gill; 3. Rayomand Banajee (Pune); Overall: 1. Rayomand Banajee 98 pts; 2. Sarosh Hataria ; 3. Ameya Walavalkar. Formula Maruti: Race I: 1. Amitrajit Ghosh (Kol) 13:13:228; 2. Gaurav Dalal (Chen); 3. Amanpreet Ahluwalia (Del); Race II: 1. Gaurav Dalal 17:29:014; 2. Amitrajit Ghosh; 3. Varun Sharma; Overall: 1. Amitrajit Ghosh 95 pts; 2. Gaurav Dalal 94; 3. Rayomand Banajee 86 pts. Esteem: Race I: 1. K.E. Kumar (Chen) 1;42.614; 2. Saran Vikram (Chen) 3. Sivaramakrishnan (Chen); Race II: 1. K.E. Kumar 09;14.312; 2. Ayub khan; 3. Saran Vikram.

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