X1Racing: Frey gets another podium, Mann wins team's relay for Mumbai
After two more hectic races in the newborn Indian X1 Racing League, Rahel Frey brought home a P3 in the first leg, while Pippa Mann contributed to the Mumbai Falcons' victory in the relay race amidst penalties, with Alice Powell also making to the podium.
The second day at Buddh International Circuit was huge crowd success: the former F1 venue hosted the final day of the opening X1 Racing Series under the eyes of a full grandstand and the increasing hype for a series that managed to involve big names in international motor racing.
W-Series driver Alice Powell, driving for team Chennai, performed well in the first day but could not capitalize on a podium finish.
"In [Saturday's] qualifying we got the tyres pressures wrong, but I was happy with my performance in my stint in the race, going from P8 to P5, before handing over." - she told us after the first day. "I then took the car from last to P4 in the second race. Still work and fun to be had tomorrow!".
Unfortunately, the Brit talented lady had another difficult second qualifying, as her teammate missed the weight-bridge and was disqualified from the session, Therefore, Powell had to take the start again from the last row.
If Saturday's races weren't hectic enough, the third and fourth races featured a lot of on-track action and even more plot twists in the stewards room, with the classify being revised more than once by post-race penalties.
In Race 3, Arjun Maini lost the lead to Kush Maini and he got passed by the car of Krishnaraaj Mahadik and Rahel Frey. Towards the end of the stint, Arjun passed Krishnaraaj to get P2 and after the driver swap, Oliver Webb (Bangalore) and Mikkel Jensen (Mumbai) had a naughty battle for the lead and after some desperate defending, Jensen kept the lead.
Rahel Frey finished in P3 and Michelle Gatting in the other Bangalore car drove home to P4.
"What an intense day we had starting steady with P3 in quali and in race 1, then even fighting for the victory in race 2 before we got stopped by the alternator. Nevertheless thank you Delhi, X1 Racing and DG Races for an unforgettable experience." - commented Rahel Frey at the end of the day. It was her second podium finish in two days.
The second Delhi car, heavily affected by technical troubles throughout Saturday's schedule, saw a sudden change of line-up: Mathias Lauda and GT ace Christina Nielsen apparently dropped out of the event and, as far as we know, from the championship altogether.
Indian lady Mira Erda, who was at the Delhi racetrack competing in a support category, was called to fill in for Nielsen at a short notice.
The fourth and final race of the weekend featured a revised format: instead of the 12 cars grid, each team lined-up one single entry, with every driver having to alternate behind the wheel of the formula car throughout the 40 minutes + 1 lap competition.
Team Mumbai and Ahmedabad cars stormed to the lead at the start and created a big gap from the rest of the field. However, with 23 minutes left, Arjun Narendran of Team Hyderabad had a technical issue with the car stopping to a halt on the main stretch soon after he started his stint.
This called for a Safety Car that bunched the pack up and the drivers seemed to be struggling for grip in the final race. Towards the end, Sohil Shah of Mumbai made an error at the Parabola (T10), losing rear-end grip and spinning around after hitting the kerb on the exit.
However, he wasn't passed by the chasing Ahmedabad car which, at the same time, suffered an alternator issue. As Sohil pitted, the Bangalore car took the lead and didn't let go of it, eventually winning the race. Team Mumbai came home in second and Team Delhi finally got a podium, quietly driving to a third place only for it to be taken away when they were ready to climb on the podium due to a penalty (the reason remains unknown). Team Chennai were then elevated to P3, with Alice Powell claiming her first podium finish in the series.
Late in the day, it is believed that also the Bangalore team was handed a penalty: Pippa Mann and her Mumbai Falcons team thus inherited the win, as confirmed by the British driver on her social feeds. The rest of the classify remains uncertain.
"Yesterday another team got a post-race infraction, so instead of finishing second in the relay race, we actually won. It’s never the way you want to win, but after what happened to us two days ago, I’ll admit, this kind of feels like karma!" - Pippa wrote.
X1 Racing will be back on track next weekend in Chennai, for its second and last weekend of its inaugural season.
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Cover photo credits: X1Racing