Motorsports: Podium for Raj Bharath

Zhuhai (China), May 11 (IANS) After clinching a stunning pole position on his debut in the Formula Masters series, India’s 18-year old Raj Bharath secured his first podium finish of the season here Saturday as he came in third in the first race and followed it up with a sixth in the next outing.

Driving for Meco Motorsport, the Bangalore-based Bharath said: “We did a few changes which we thought would make the car better on slicks, as the qualifying was wet.

“Although there was some improvement, it wasn’t perfect. But it’s not a bad result. All of us are still learning the car and especially the tyres which are quite difficult to figure out,” he said.

Despite lacking outright pace in the car, Bharath didn’t give in without a fight and ultimately crossed the line just 0.9 seconds behind second-placed Ren Nabaguchi and 1.6 seconds behind race winner Afiq Yazid.

The strong result came on the back of a sterling qualifying where an inspired call by the team to let Bharath stay on wet tyres while others switched to slicks paid off handsomely.

There is one more race remaining for the weekend and Bharath starts 10th after things didn’t go according to plan in the second qualifying session where he finished 10, some 4.1 seconds off pole.

“We’ve seen the data and know there is more scope for improvement. I’ll be starting out of position, so it’ll definitely be a busy race Sunday and I’ll push to get a solid haul of points and cross the line in one piece,” said Bharath on his strategy for the final race of the weekend.

Formula Masters, the erstwhile Formula Pilota China, has undergone a major revamp this year including support from Volkswagen China with the new car being powered by the German marquee’s Formula 3-spec engines and gearboxes.

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