After a difficult Round 2 where Shahan faced a gearbox issue along with a puncture in one of the races, he bounced back in Round 3 of the Indian National Racing Championship for the 2021 season at Madras Motor Race Track.
He left Round 2 being 21 points behind the MRF F1600 championship points leader Chirag Ghorpade. Entering Round 3, Shahan needed race wins to stay in contention for the title and he did so handsomely to lower the gap going into the final round.
Shahan started off the weekend well in the practice session after the mechanics changed the gearbox from last round. It was close in qualifying against Chirag as they went back and forth during the session, but Shahan had the last laugh taking pole by 0.124s after setting a 1m39.423s lap.
He clocked the second fastest time as well to secure pole for Race 3 as Shahan and Chirag were the only ones to break into the 1m39s barrier. The Race 1 was smooth sailing for Shahan in the #11 machine where he led from start to finish to open the weekend with a victory.
Chirag was second but didn’t manage to pass him. Having started Race 2 from eighth due to the Top 8 being reversed as per the format, Shahan made inroads during the race overlook Chirag at the start and was running third after making 5 places until he ran wide while fighting for second which sent him to the back of the field.
He recovered to finish seventh and needed a win in the final race to lower the points gap to Chirag. He did so in an intense Race 3 as the difference now sits at 13 points from the 21 which he started the weekend with. The final round to be held in second week February now will decide the championship.
“After a difficult Round 2 due to gearbox issues and puncture, it was crucial for me to score race wins in Round 2 to reduce the gap to Chirag and I am very happy that I manage to start on pole and win two races at the right moment or else the championship would have slipped away,” reflected Shahan. “A big thank you to my mechanics as well who changed the gearbox from last round which helped me to get back into the rhythm. The races were extremely close and intense and I am glad to have won two of them and score some valuable championship points.”