Motorsport: Podium for Raj Bharath

Shanghai, May 25 (IANS) India’s 18-year old Raj Bharath continued his charge in the Formula Masters championship as he clinched second place at round two of the series here Saturday.

Backed by Bangalore-based Embassy Group and driving for Meco Motorsport, Raj had qualified fourth on the grid and finished race one in the same position before following it up with a second place in race two.

The weekend had started on a difficult note as the team worked to find the right setup to suit the 4.6-kilometre layout.

Although Raj was able to muscle his way to the sharp-end of the grid in qualifying, he was unable to get close to pole position – a feat that he had achieved in Zhuhai two weeks back.

Race one turned out to be uneventful as Raj tried his best to gain positions from the second row, but after losing out in the opening sectors, he was unable to claw back the difference through the long straights of the final sector.

After a brief dice with Akash Nandy who went on to finish third, Raj decided to focus on lap times which would enable him to study how he could get himself in a better position for race two.

As lights went out for race two, Raj immediately managed to jump Nandy to slot himself in third at the start while his front-running rivals Aidan Wright and Afiq Yazid got away.

Slowly though, he began to haul in Wright who was running second and managed to get a good slipstream on the back straight before diving down the inside at the hairpin to relieve the Australian of second place.

After that Raj didn’t look back and put his head down to chase Yazid for the top spot, but it wasn’t to be as he fell short by two seconds at the finish line.

“Rain is expected for Sunday’s race so anything can happen, but I’m hoping for another podium which would help me stay in the top-three in the championship,” said Raj looking ahead to the third race on Sunday.

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