Euro JK: Datta, Tharani share wins to start Round 3 in Coimbatore
The first day in the penultimate round saw two different winners in two thrilling races.
Title contender Nayan Chatterjee started Round 3 in the 2018 Euro JK Championship in style with pole at Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore but Karthik Tharani and points leader Ashwin Datta were close behind in second and third.
A good start from Tharani in Race 1 meant he took the lead from Chatterjee with Datta in third from another title contender Brayan Perera behind. The fight for the lead continued on ahead with Chatterjee going after Tharani.
In the bid the reclaim the lead, the two almost made contact in Turn 2 but it was enough for Chatterjee to go off into a retirement as Tharani lost out to Datta who took over the lead with Perera moving into third - in a title-defining moment.
It was a good fight for fourth as well as Yash Aradhya and Nirmal Uma Shankar were at it but Sudarshan Rao wasn't far behind as well. Having started seventh, Rao made a slow start which dropped him back once in the rhythm, he started to make up positions.
With few laps remaining, Rao soon found himself behind the fight between Aradhya and Shankar. He managed to pass both by the end with Aradhya also losing out to Shankar in the midfield fight.
Up front, Datta eased into another win - crucial for his title hopes - with Tharani fending off Perera for second as the former battled through a damaged car until the end. Shankar was a lonely fourth from Rao and Aradhya.
The rest of places saw Mira Erda in seventh from Manav Sharma, Arya Singh and Chetan Korada as Chatterjee was the sole retirement from the race.
In a Top 6 reverse-grid formation, Aradhya started the second race on pole alongside Rao with Shankar and Perera in row two. It was in fact a good start from Aradhya who held on to his lead but Rao lost a place to Shankar with Tharani moving into fourth from sixth.
As Aradhya led from Shankar and Tharani battled Rao, it was Chatterjee on the move as he gained five places to be sixth already by midway in the race after the opening few laps were done behind the safety car due to oil spill from an earlier race.
In no time Chatterjee was behind Tharani but at the front Shankar and Aradhya collided when the former went for a move for the lead in the right-hander. It sent Aradhya into the grass run-off area as Shankar took the lead.
This unsettled Rao as he lost second to Tharani with Chatterjee also making move to take third. Tharani then cleared Shankar for the lead to win the race as Shankar managed to fend off Chatterjee by 0.075s to finish third - from 11th on the grid.
Rao hung on to fourth with points leader Datta doing all to keep Perera for fifth and extend his championship lead. Aradhya recovered to seventh after an off with Sharma in eighth, keeping Erda and Singh at Bay as Korada rounded out the 11 finishers.
It was a closely fought two races on Sunday with two different winners.