Vishnu Prasad was a perfect four for four on his return to JK Tyre’s premier single-seat racing series in Coimbatore.
One left the opening round of the 2017 JK Tyre Euro JK 17 series at Coimbatore’s Kari Motor Speedway with two takeaways. One, that Vishnu Prasad is mighty fast no matter what he drives and who he drives against as far as the current crop of Indian-based racing drivers are concerned. Two, that 16-year-old Mira Erda is very brave to enter the same series that not only features Prasad, but also the defending Euro JK champion Anindith Reddy Konda and the MRF FF1600 champion Vikash Anand as well as former national karting champion Ricky Donison, who is currently competing in America’s F2000 series. Former national championship level karter and a contender in last year’s Euro JK season Nayan S Chatterjee was also part of the competitive field.
Putting yourself up for scrutiny against such a field at such a young age is highly commendable and although Erda didn’t quite light the timesheets on fire, she got the track time in racing conditions needed to start working on what needs to be done to get faster.
Prasad In Charge
Driving in the top single-seat category of the JK Tyre National Racing Championship after giving it a miss in 2016, Vishnu Prasad took a clean sweep of four wins.
Prasad’s wins came in varying fashion. The first was just 0.500 seconds ahead of Konda with Chatterjee finishing 2.115 seconds behind in third place.
Chatterjee and Konda swapped places in the second race but ultimately both finished over six seconds behind Prasad who put in a dominant performance over 15 laps of racing. The second and third placed drivers provided entertainment by fighting among themselves and were separated by just over four tenths of a second at the finish line.
The third race on day two saw a much closer affair with Anand putting aside his issues to challenge for the win before a mistake on the start-finish straight saw him run wide and surrender the lead to Prasad who had been fast making up time on him. Ultimately, Prasad finished 1.033 seconds ahead of Akash Gowda with Anand a further 0.344 seconds behind.
The final race of the weekend had Prasad finishing 1.557 seconds ahead of Konda with Chatterjee 2.623 seconds behind in third.
Watching Prasad dominate after a year away, one has to wonder what could have been for the 24-year-old had he managed to find the funds needed to compete in Volkswagen’s Scirocco R Cup way back in 2012 after winning the Polo R Cup in India.
It is apparent that his talent reserve is enough for him to be racing in a prominent international touring car series or championship, at the very least.
But if that is too far out of reach, it would be interesting to see him compete in the MRF Challenge. It could maybe even serve to bring together the two opposing camps in Indian circuit racing as well as give Prasad a new challenge.
After all, if the FF1600 champion can compete in the Euro JK series, then why can’t the standout performer from the JK ladder test the waters in the other camp?
Erda Easing In
Testing the waters is exactly what the other big talking point of the weekend involved as Mira Erda became the first female competitor in JK Tyre’s premier single-seat category.
A battery issue in the opening race and getting shunted from behind in the second race compromised her running on Saturday. However, on Sunday, the 16-year-old was able to drive in largely incident-free races that allowed her to lap at a consistent rhythm and achieve her goal of getting used to driving a wings-and-slicks single seater in racing conditions.
Her one-lap pace had her a second behind Prasad around the short, 2.1 km, Kari circuit. That is a lot of time to make up, but she has the advantage of time on her side along with on-board video and telemetry. Hopefully a better showing is on the cards for round two.