Season Review: Reddy beat Singh to Vento cup crown

With podium finishes in all but one race, Hyderabad’s Anindith Reddy won the inaugural Volkswagen Vento Cup title at Buddh circuit last weekend. Rachit Thukral reflects back on his championship winning year.

2015 marked the beginning of a new chapter for Volkswagen Motorsport in India.

The German manufacturer replaced the Polo R Cup with the Vento Cup this year, with the popularity of saloon car racing in Europe stated as the prime reason behind the change.

There were marketing benefits too, with Vento being exclusively manufactured in India and exported to 32 countries around the world.

As far as the championship was concerned, it was jam-packed with action, with safety car becoming a regular feature of this touring car series.

Anindith Reddy eventually emerged on top, trouncing chief rival Karminder Singh by just 10 points in a season spanning four rounds and 10 races.

Ishaan Dodhiwala finished third in the standings after scoring seven podiums, while 2010 Polo Cup champion Sailesh Bolisetti failed to pose a persistent challenge to the title contenders, despite three victories to his name.

Closely matched in opening rounds

Singh and Reddy were neck-to-neck in the first two rounds of the season at Coimbatore.

While Singh took the championship lead after winning two reverse-grid races, Reddy was there or thereabouts with one victory and three further podium finishes.

At this point, the duo were separated by just four points at the top of the standings.

Reddy takes advantage in round three

The table turned in Reddy’s favour after the triple-header at the Buddh International Circuit in October.

The Hyderabad-based driver cruised to two victories and scored another fourth place to take his weekend tally to 154 points.

Although Singh managed to stand on the top step of the podium once, a third and a fourth place result in the other two races did him little favours.

Title showdown

Reddy went into the final round with 16 points advantage over Singh along with Dodhiwala in the mix too albeit with an outside chance.

With a total of 180 points on offer over the three races scheduled for that weekend, it was anyone's game to get their hands on the title.

The onus was on Singh to put in some dominant performances in the form of race wins, for Reddy was consistently notching podium finishes.

As it turned out, New-Delhi based driver could only manage one win over the course of the weekend, handing the title to Reddy, who finished second, third and third respectively in the three races.

"It feels absolutely great to win the championship in my first year in the senior category," Reddy told Motorsport.com.

"Last year as a junior itself I knew I had the pace as I had qualified on pole in one round and in the top 5 after that.

"So going into this season I was definitely gunning for the title. It is even more awesome as it is the first time the junior champion has won the senior title in the following year," he added.

Contrasting fortunes for Dodhiwala and Bolisetti

While Singh and Reddy were the protagonists of the championship, Dodhiwala remained in the title hunt on the back of a strong run of podium finishes.

However, he remained eluded of a race win and, hence, never emerged as a serious threat to the aforementioned drivers.

Meanwhile, Bolisetti notched three dominant wins over the course of the year, illustrating how international racing experience can add to the skills of an Indian driver.

However, a costly DNF in round two and a few sub-par results meant that he finished the season some way behind the top three runners in the standings.

Final top four standings:

Pos.

Driver

Rd 1

Rd 2

Rd 3

Rd 4

Total

Podiums

Wins

1

Anindith Reddy

96

100

154

128

478

9

3

2

Karminder Singh

100

100

134

134

468

8

4

3

Ishaan Dodhiwala

62

96

144

128

430

7

0

4

Sailesh Bolisetti

90

32

106

154

382

5

3

Vaidyam takes junior title

In his first year of competitive racing, Mumbai’s Pradeep Rao Vaidyam clinched the junior Vento Cup title, earning a free drive in the senior category for next season.

He will be looking forward to emulate Reddy, who followed his junior triumph with a championship win in the senior class.

"This was my first year of competitive racing. Volkswagen Motorsport helped me from the basics of racing to being able to fight with some of the best in the country," he said.

"With this Junior Cup title under my belt, I will continue striving further for my upcoming racing career which just got a major boost!”

Dabas sisters wrap-up season

Ria and Neha Dabas completed a successful season in the Vento Cup, accumulating 116 and 102 points respectively over the 10 races.

With more experience behind the wheel, the two are expected to give their male counterparts a run for their money.

Other notable performances

Apart from the aforementioned drivers, other notable performances came from Delhi’s Sahil Gahuri, another Delhi-based Raghav Sharma, and Rithvik Thomas from Bangalore.

Each of them consistently finished in the top 10 and are likely to fight for podiums and race victories next year.

"An exciting first season of Vento Cup came to a thrilling end with the champion being crowned only after the last race out of the 10 we had this year," Head of Volkswagen Motorsport, Sirish Vissa said.

"Nail-biting action was witnessed throughout the season. The best part the season was the fact that all the drivers showed progress through the year and improved their driving race after race," he added.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Touring
Drivers Anindith Reddy , Sahil Gahuri , Karminder Singh , Raghav Sharma , Ria Dabas , Pradeep Rao , Sailesh Bolisetti , Neha Dabas , Ishaan Dodhiwala , Rithvik Thomas
Article type Analysis