Raj Bharath posts his first win
Shanghai: Indian youngster Raj Bharath posted his first win of the 2013 Formula Masters championship in the final race at Shanghai International Circuit here on Sunday.
Backed by Bangalore-based real estate developer Embassy Group and driving for Meco Motorsport, Raj had started fifth on the grid with an inspired strategy in mixed weather conditions which paid off.
Afiq Yazid and Akash Nandy finished second and third respectively.
In the minutes leading up to the race, there was a faint drizzle but the entire field with the exception of Raj decided to stay on slick tyres as rain was expected to ease off in a couple of laps.
However, the team decided to put Raj on wet tyres, hoping that his pace advantage in the opening laps would help him get in the lead and build up a big gap by the time the rain eased off and drivers on slicks would be quicker once again.
The start didn`t turn out as planned though, since the race direction decided to go for a safety car start at the last minute, something which Raj wasn`t aware of as he didn`t have a radio in the car.
"I was thinking it was the formation lap when I suddenly saw everyone take off at the penultimate corner. Only after I came into the final corner that I realised it was a rolling start but I had already lost a place by then," said Raj.
Having gone backwards already, Raj began to charge hard trying to get back in the pack and was passing cars by the end of the first lap.
Three laps later, he was firmly in the lead and pushing further to build up a gap before the rain subsided, which happened soon after and the track dried up quickly, rendering his wet tyres gripless.
"The wet tyres wear out pretty quickly on a dry track as their tread is meant to displace water, so all of a sudden I had no grip but only oversteer and understeer," said Raj.