X1Racing: Michelle Gatting second in Delhi race 2
The second race from Buddh International Circuit provided plenty of action and saw Michelle Gatting taking second after an extraordinary first stint. Rdest was 4th, few tenths away from the podium.
The brand-new X1 Racing League had just completed its first ever race when, few minutes after, the former Formula BMW cars already lined up on the grid for the second Delhi leg of the weekend.
The freshly launched Indian series features 12 cars from 6 teams, branded as the major Indian cities. Two drivers compete in each car, every team lining-up at least one female racing driver.
Oliver Webb and F2 racer Arjun Maini won the inaugural race, while the best placed lady was Swiss Rahel Frey in second. After a delay in the schedule resulting from some of the cars picking up damages after the first competition, the grid was shaped by reversing the 1st round finishers. Webb thus took the start from 8th and former F1 driver Alex Yoong on reverse grid pole.
It was a messy rolling start though, with several drivers on the top rows struggling to see the green flag. Pippa Mann, on the other hand, had a stunning start and took the lead from fourth. The Indianapolis 500 veteran was then passed at turn 3 by Tarun Reddy, as the Black Birds Hyderabad driver made a clean move under braking to take the first place.
Michelle Gatting, who had a race to forget in the first leg as she was forced to retire for technical troubles, went on full attack and made up positions after positions. The Danish ELMS driver, already into fourth place after the first hectic laps, brought herself up to third.
W-Series driver Gosia Rdest, taking the start after the race 1 retirement of her teammate Tonio Liuzzi, recovered up until P6 in the opening laps.
Oliver Webb struggled slightly in the first stages but then advanced to the positions close to the podium, as he started an exciting fight with Rahel Frey for third.
When Webb got by after several attempts, Frey and Gatting had a very fierce yet clean battle, ultimately won by the Dane. At the half-way point it was Reddy, from Gatting, Webb, Frey, Gilbert, Rdest and Mann, who had dropped back dramatically after the very first laps.
With teams having to swap drivers in the 5-minutes pit-window, all the leaders took the way of the pitlane to perform the driver change. Akhil Rabindra went out on top of the standings, followed by Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Arjun Maini and Nayan Chattarjee.
Alice Powell jumped in the Superspeed Chennai car after her teammate Parthiva Sureshwaren completed the firt stint in tenth.
AD Racing, Delhi again not starting the race with one car (Mathias Lauda/Christina Nielsen), retired the second car as well after a messy stop with the Datta/Gill duo.
Kush Maini overtook Vitantonio Liuzzi, after the Italian was handed the car by Gosia Rdest in P6. The battle for the top positions then ignited, with Arjun Maini completing a great pass on Mahadik at turn one. He then immediately went into Rabindra's slipstream, stripping him of the race lead at turn 4. Rabindra fell into Mahadik's pressure soon after and both went wide the following lap, after a long side-by-side battle.
Rabindra, looking strong for a podium position, binned his chances after a second lock-up which resulted in a spin at the hairpin. The intense racing for second continued until the very end of a thoroughly entertaining race, with Arjun Maini checking out from the competitors.
His brother Kush Maini (Pippa Mann's teammate) joined the action at the front and firstly took third away from Mahadik, then relegated Chattarjee to the lowest step of the podium.
Alice Powell, who had started her stint in 10th, lapped strongly and recovered to eighth.
The Bangalore Racing Stars pitwall started to celebrate a double podium as time ran out, but by the 30 minutes + 1 lap format, Arjun Maini still had to complete one more lap around the Buddh International Circuit: the talented Indian driver successfully did so and took home the second win of the day, alongside his teammate Oliver Webb.
Kush Maini and Pippa Mann took second, but were later handed a penalty for a jump start and excluded from the classify. P2 went then to the Chattarjee/Gatting duo, after an outstanding performance by the Danish lady in her first stint. Mitch Gilbert and Yash Aradhya completed the podium. Liuzzi/Rdest were 4th, ahead of Powell/Sureshwaren in 6th and Mahadik/Frey in 7th .
Tomorrow's second day will see two more races, with a similar schedule to Saturday's racing action.
X1 Racing League coverage is made possible thanks to the cooperation with Soumil Arora
Ph credits: Iron Dames