The weekend was being run along with the MRF 2000 International Challenge. Narain Karthikeyan competed as a guest driver in the F2000 category. He won a race as well. I had a great race engineer and mechanic this weekend. Thomas Farquhar & Nathan Shattell. Both highly experienced in British single seater racing. We managed to qualify in P2 for race 1 after a very tight qualifying session.
We managed to get a superb start and led the race from the start! By driving absolutely on the limit, I managed to open up a 9 second lead over the second car! I made the biggest mistake of my entire career in that race. Thinking I was well clear with a 9 second lead , I slightly backed off the pace in the last 2 laps, not knowing there was a fast approaching car in second place. With only my right mirror working correctly, on the last lap, 4 corners to go, I noticed car No.2 tucked up right behind me and ready to overtake. It was too late, I had been had. I hold myself completely responsible for letting that win go. However, I take this as a massive opportunity to learn from and to never ever ever repeat it! Flat out till the very end! We finished 0.4 secs away from each other! The Times of India very correctly pointed out my mistake.
Feeling absolutely gutted after the race. Lost what would have been an incredible win & stood on the 2nd step of the podium for this race. Massive congratulations to Tarun Reddy for his win and Karthik Tharani for 3rd.
MRF really took it up a level with some incredible hospitality at the circuit and an A-grade after party at the ITC Grand Chola in Chennai. I finally got to meet one a world class driver who I really look up to. Tio Ellinas from Cyprus. Marussia F1 young driver, who will compete in the GP2 series this year. He won the MRF International Challenge 2013 -2014.
With the top 4 positions being swapped for Race 2 , we started in P3. We were on old tyres since we had used up all the provided sets. We managed to jump into second place at the start , but an accident brought out the safety car on lap 2. The safety car was out for just a lap and it was flatout right after! After some hard racing despite being on old tyres, we managed to finish 3rd in Race 2, whilst matching the lap time set by the first two cars who were on new tyres! Congratulations to Tarun Reddy for winning again and to Vikash Anand for finishing 2nd. We stood on the podium in both races this weekend! Great start to 2014!
Post weekend testimonial by my race engineer.
“I was massively impressed by Advait’s clear natural ability behind the wheel of the MRF 1600 cars. When you take into consideration his relative lack of experience compared to some of his competitors, his achievements over the weekend were remarkable. He has to be one of the most enthusiastic drivers I have ever worked with in my career and also responded very well to changes to the car and gave constructive feedback after each session which is exactly what any engineer needs. I have no doubt that with more experience and if the right opportunities fall at his feet then he can move forward in the world of motorsport with ease. If he can focus his enthusiasm and emotions and chanelize his energy in the right direction , then he’ll easily become a more complete driver and can truly reach great heights on an international level. I’d just like to say what an absolute pleasure it was to get to work with Advait and how great it is to see that there are drivers with real potential coming out of India.” - Thomas Farquhar
Thank you for your support. A massive thank you to FEI Cargo for their 2014 sponsorship & David Mason London for their support.-Advait Deodhar