Scraperia (Italy): The last time Gautam Singhania raced on Italy’s Mugello Circuit, his race was ended by a gearbox failure. In the race before that, he crashed out after colliding with another driver.
Gautam Singhania in action during qualifying for the Coppa Shell category of the Ferrari Challenge Series in Mugello, Italy yesterday
On Friday, cheered on by the likes of Member of Parliament Rajeev Shukla and Bollywood actor Dino Morea, Singhania erased those memories by winning his first ever race in the Coppa Shell category of the Ferrari Challenge Series EU 2015 at the iconic Italian circuit.
First time on pole
Singhania, who had claimed his first ever pole position earlier in the day with a timing of 1:54.377 secs, led the 36-car field from the lights to the chequered flag, with Ineco’s Erich Prinoth close on his heels. The Indian finished the race with a time of 31:20.683 secs with Italy’s Prinoth 0.242 secs behind.
Championship leader Jacques Duyver, who started second, fell behind to fourth by the third lap. However, he came back strongly to claim the last podium spot and cement his position as the winner of the championship with a timing of 31:32.056 secs. Duyver, who is Singhania’s teammate at Kessel Racing, now has 197 points to lead in the drivers’ standings while the Indian has 166 points. Prinoth is on 157.
India’s Gautam Singhania (centre) celebrates atop the podium after winning his maiden race in the Coppa Shell category of the Ferrari Challenge Series in Mugello, Italy yesterday
An emotional Singhania said the win would keep him in good stead going into the the next couple of days’ races.
"This win does a lot to my confidence going into the last race of the season tomorrow and the Finali Mondiali on Sunday. My last outing in Mugello was horrible. Yesterday too in testing, I was just not on pace, I was running 10th. So to get the pole this morning was good, and to lead from pole and win from pole, it’s fantastic," said the Chairman and Managing Director of Raymond Limited.
"I got a decent start, there was a lot of pushing and shoving at the start. It was difficult because Prinoth was right on my back. I just kept racing corner to corner and kept telling myself, 'just don’t make a mistake'. In Imola when Prinoth was chasing me, I made an error. That’s when I said 'never again'," he added.
The last race of the European season will be held tomorrow while the Finali Mondiali, the grand race featuring drivers from the European, North American and Asian competitions, will be held on Sunday.