Euro JK: Tharani, Chatterjee share wins to start final weekend at Buddh circuit
The final weekend in the 2019 Euro JK Championship started with Karthik Tharani winning Race 1 from pole at Buddh International Circuit early on Saturday. The Chennai-born driver led from start to finish to keep himself in contention for the title.
His start was crucial which helped him bridge the gap between his rivals with title contender Nayan Chatterjee having to fight Arya Singh to finish second. The Mumbaikar started third but gained the place on Singh who then lost out to Bryan Perera in the closing stages.
The Sri Lankan as well kept his hopes alive as points leader Ashwin Datta could only manage a fifth place while being chased hard by Manav Sharma in the 10 laps race as they were only 0.434s apart on the finish line.
Sudarshan Rao was a distant seventh with Mira Erda finishing eighth ahead of Parth Ghorpade - who made his first appearance of 2018 in the series. Nirmal Uma Shankar and Yash Aradhya retired early on with JK Tyre's protege Kush Maini not starting the race.
The Top 6 reverse grid saw Sharma start on pole alongside Datta but both were handed a 10-second penalty for jump start. While Sharma managed to hang to his lead off the line, Datta lost momentum and dropped behind Singh as a result.
Chatterjee, meanwhile, fought against Tharani and Perera as the three had to score as many points as possible to keep themselves in the hunt. It was Chatterjee on the move though as he quickly made his way up to third behind the leading duo.
Datta lost further places to be sixth behind the fighting duo of Perera and Tharani. Up front, Singh passed Sharma for the lead with the Faridabad-based driver losing second to Chatterjee as well while Tharani moved to fourth after passing Perera.
It was the fight for the lead then as Chatterjee found a way past Singh to score a crucial victory as the Kolkata-born driver did well to hang on to second from Tharani who passed Sharma as well to complete the podium.
Sharma did finish fourth on the road but Perera inherited the position due to the penalty for Sharma who was classified fifth from Datta - despite the penalty - as Aradhya and Rao completed the eight finishers.
At the back, Shankar retired for the second successive race on the penultimate lap with Ghorpade joining him along with Erda.