Lankan drivers proved too good for some of the champion Indian drivers as a magnificent combination of man and machine raised the adrenaline levels of spectators who were present at the Sri Lanka Karting Circuit in Bandaragama last weekend. The giant-killing took place during the first round of Six-hour Endurance Karting Championship 2015, organized by the Asian Motor Racing Club, Single Seater Formula Motorsports Association and Sri Lanka Karting Circuit.
Team Raptor Racing, comprising Aamir Ghaffoor, Taffy Alahakoon, Charith Gunawardena, Navindu Dewaka, S Lahiru and Jacqueline Bocks was a winning combination, displaying superb coordination and good racing strategy, and planning their pit stops at just the right moment. They completed the most number of laps – 557 – during the Formula-One-style six-hour endurance race, Sri Lanka's first karting event this season.
First runners-up BKMS Racing also put on an excellent performance when they bounced back after lagging behind almost six laps to catch up with the others during the last three hours of the race. BKMS racers were a “family affair”, consisting of five members of the Perera family, namely Brayan Perera, Kevin Perera, Ushan Perera, Saman Perera and Shanaki Perera, apart from Lucky Chaminda and Sumal Marco. They persevered and finished the event with the same lap count as the champions, but were trailing by a small margin at the end of six hours. Incidentally, Brayan Perera recorded the fastest lap time among all the drivers.
Intek Racing, the second runners-up, was the only team with two drivers, namely Eshan Pieris and Kyle Crosland who were both experienced racing drivers with foreign exposure while Hapugodage Rohana, Laksiri Wasana Premarathna and Saman Gamage made up the supporting crew. Fourth-placed Gunners, comprising Ayesh Bandara, Adeeb Gazalli, Clement Senarathne, Malinda Gunasekera, S.M.K. Sankalpa Senevirathne and H.L.A. Chathuranga Rukshan, gave them a good fight.
MECO Racing, the Indian team which took part in the event with a strong outfit of experienced drivers, could not cope with the pace of some of the youngsters on karts and had to settle for the fifth place. MECO Racing depended highly on their key driver, Armaan Ebrahim, a former Formula LGB Champion and the first and only Asian driver to sign up for the rebirth of FIA Formula Two in 2009. Armaan took the responsibility into his hands towards the end of the race and drove for almost three hours by himself. The Indian team also included Sandeep Kumar who is a former VW Polo R Cup Indian National Champion, Vishnu Prasad - a VW Polo R Cup driver - and Raghul Rangasamy who was the MRF National Racing Champion in 2013 and also the J K Racing Champion last year.
However, their presence gave much needed impetus to the budding Lankan drivers at the Sri Lanka Karting Circuit, owned and managed by David Pieris Automobiles Ltd which is part of the David Pieris Group of Companies, once again proving that it is the ideal breeding ground for young drivers who are looking forward to making it big in the racing arena.
A festive atmosphere prevailed at the venue with a papare band and a DJ outfit adding more colour to the event, which was well put together and professionally executed.
Janashakthi Insurance was the main sponsor with Standard Chartered Bank, Laugfs Gas PLC and Hawk Helmets as the associate sponsors.
The second round of the four-leg championship is scheduled for May.
Champions: Raptor Racing (Jacqueline Bocks, Aamir Ghaffoor, Taffy Alahakoon, Charith Gunawardena, Navindu Dewaka, S Lahiru)
First runners-up: BKMS Racing (Brayan Perera, Kevin Perera, Ushan Perera, Lucky Chaminda, Sumal Marco, Saman Perera, Shanaki Perera)
Second runners-up: Intek Racing (Eshan Pieris, Kyle Crosland, Hapugodage Rohana, Laksiri Wasana Premarathna, Saman Gamage)
Third runners-up: Gunners (Ayesh Bandara, Adeeb Gazalli, Clement Senarathne, Malinda Gunasekera, S M K Sankalpa Senevirathne, H L A Chathuranga Rukshan)
Fourth runners-up: MECO Racing (Armaan Ebrahim, Sandeep Kumar, Vishnu Prasad, Raghul Rangasamy, Kapila Indrajith Perera)
01: Raptor Racing
02: BKMS Racing
03: Intek Racing
05: MECO Racing
06: SLR Motorsports
07: Forza Racing
09: Panol Racing
10: Cranky Piston Racing
11: RHC Racing
12: Thunderbolt Racing