Kerpen (Germany): Young Indian driver Jehan Daruvala jumped into the lead of the German Karting Championship with a double podium finish here.
With a full 50-points loot for two third place finishes over the weekend, Daruvala rises to 147 points, 12 ahead of his Dutch rival with one round left in the Championship.
The two worst results for each driver will be dropped, meaning the gap between the two remains small: all is set for a grand finale showdown in Genk (Belgium) on October 3-5.
The fourth round of the calendar, running on the track that saw Formula One World Champions Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel hone their skills as young drivers, marked an excellent weekend for the Indian racer, who was quick from the get-go, qualifying third in a very competitive field of 32 drivers.
Starting on the dirty side of the track alongside Championship leader and main rival Martijn van Leeuwen, Daruvala dropped some position at the start of the first heats, but a solid display of racing saw him move all the way up to third by the flag.
The Force India Academy driver's recovery drive was even more aggressive in the second race of the weekend, when he had to claw his way from 10th after the first corner to claim another third spot at the line. This was crucial as it guaranteed the Indian a good position on the grid for the first final - third and on the ideal side of the track.
With van Leeuwen able to get off cleanly at the start, Jehan took the first few laps of Final 1 to clear all other opponents and throw himself in the leader's pursuit. Despite the large gap, Daruvala clawed away second after second and managed to put a move for the lead by the halfway mark.
A fierce, but clean, fight ensued, with the two Championship protagonists exchanging positions several times; finally, with three laps to go in the 23-rounds race, claimed the lead and took good defensive lines to hold back his rival until the chequered flag.
Final 2 promised to be another tight battle between the two drivers, but fate had other plans. With most of the field, unlike Daruvala, on fresh tyres, the race appeared to be very close for the top seven; on lap three, as the Mumbai boy was leading and van Leeuwen was trailing in third place, the Dutchman's kart ground to a halt.
The remainder of the event, however, wasn't going to be straightforward for Daruvala either, as he fell to sixth, behind drivers mounting fresh tyres. As that advantage faded, he set out to relentlessly close the gap and, one overtake after the other, he regained the lead of the drivers eligible to score points.