Sixteen-year-old Deepak Paul Chinnappa of Bangalore zoomed to victory in the Asian Zone National Karting Championship final of the MRF-MAI Formule Mondiale Championship 2003, co-sponsored by IndianOil and Briggs and Stratton at the Acres Club, in chembur, Mumbai, on Sunday.
Chinnappa, who also finished second in the India National Karting Championship, now leads the overall points standing in both categories.
Chinnappa, who began the AZNKC in second position on the starting grid behind Pune's Rayomand Banajee, jumped into the lead at the start itself. Though he had local driver Ameya Walavalkar breathing down his neck for most of the 35 laps, he managed to hold on to his lead and take the flag ahead of Walavalkar and Banajee, in that order.
Chinnappa, who had only managed a sixth place in the first round of the AZNKC at Chennai, heads the leaderboard with 13 points, ahead of Jigar Muni (10). Muni, who had won the opening round at Chennai, could only manage 10th position here.
Chinnappa had made his intentions clear in the Indian National Karting Championship itself when he had the crowd up on its feet with his bold driving. The current overall leader, who began in eighth place on the starting grid, flew off the blocks, and got past fancied Abbas Ghadially and Walavalkar, to fit in nicely behind top qualifier Banajee. However, he could not dislodge Banajee though he came close on several occasions during the 29 laps.
The experienced Banajee had to use all his driving skills to block out the teenager from Bangalore and just fractions of a second separated the two when they crossed the finish line.
Chinnappa, who got eight points for his second spot finish, continues to lead the championship after four rounds with 34 points, ahead of Banajee (33).
In the Kadet-Indian National Karting Championship, it was Chennai's Ashwin Sundar who extended his overall lead with yet another victory, followed by Kolhapur's Chittesh Mandody.
AZNKC (35 laps): 1. Deepak Chinnappa (Bangalore) 18 mins, 46.982 secs; 2. Ameya Walavalkar (Mumbai) 18:57.898; 3. Rayomand Banajee (Pune) 18:59.943.
INKC (29 laps): 1. Banajee 15:54.512; 2. Chinnappa (Bangalore) 15:54.597; 3, Walavalkar 15:54.840.
K-INKC (16 laps): 1. Ashwin Sundar (Chennai) 9:20.693; 2. Chittesh Mandody (Mumbai) 9:25.186; 3. Ajay Kini (Chennai) 9:34.672.
KCT (21 laps): 1. Alok Shah (Pune) 11:26.877; 2. Rajesh D'Souza (Mumbai) 11:44.950; 3. Tuhin Mehta (Mumbai) 11:49.496.