Marcus Thunder dominated the Mahindra Race of India, winning from pole position having never relinquished the lead. The Formation Competition driver was imperious in the New Delhi heat as he stroked his Jaguar-powered car home.
Off the start, Thunder got a blistering getaway and was completely clear of second-placed Lewis Ellington into turn one, and didn’t look back. Third placed Felipe Cesar bogged down and was leapfrogged by Dino Palma and Will Taylor into the first turn, while for the rest of the field it was a remarkably clean getaway. Later on the first lap, Cesar ceased the advantage at the end of the back straight to divebomb Taylor and regain fourth, and soon set about getting in front of Palma. Further behind, big movers from the start included Keith Murphy, who jumped from 13th to 10th, and Keith Boston, who plummeted from 8th to 11th.
On lap 11, Taylor’s pace was exposed to all as he hunted down Palma. Into turn 14, he dived inside to take the position, and a great piece of reactive driving meant Felipe Cesar also snuck through past the unsuspecting Palma to take fourth.
Meanwhile, Thunder was pulling away from the field at an imperious rate. By the end of lap 16, he held a 10 second lead over second placed Ellington, who himself held an advantage of 5 seconds due to the squabble that was occurring over third position.
On lap 19, Brock Kidd showed the form that has seen him hold the championship lead going into round 5 with a stunning move for 6th place in the high speed section at the far end of the Buddh circuit. He swarmed over Jamie Gerrard, and in one foul swoop took the position around the outside of the fast turn 14. Gerrard then had a spin in the final corner which dropped him to 9th, while Kidd continued to make progress - on lap 26, he easily dispatched Dino Palma for 5th.
Lap 27 saw Jawa Ahmad’s Toyota engine expire, then on lap 29, Keith Boston’s day got worse when Nick Addison tried to divebomb him at the end of the back straight for 11th, but misjudged the move terribly, spearing into the Grip driver’s car and ending both drivers’ races on the spot. The safety car was deployed, wiping out Thunder’s 14 second margin and closing the field up.
Off the restart on lap 33, Thunder shot off once again, but this time was followed a little bit more closely by Ellington. Drake Davies took full advantage of the compressed field, moving up from 7th to 4th in the next few laps, including a great move on Kidd into the first turn. Out front, Thunder couldn’t completely shake off Ellington who was within 4 seconds, but it never felt like the Downton reserve was under pressure, as was proven when he set a series of quick laps, including the fastest lap of the race on lap 41. Mikko Heininen spun on lap 43 in the turn 6-7 chicane, rejoining in 16th position, while Pedro Costa retired one lap later with front left suspension failure.
As the race entered the final stages, Thunder, Ellington and Taylor were all running their own races with gaps of 4 and 7 seconds between them respectively. Behind however, Davies, Kidd and Cesar were all within 4 seconds of each other. Kidd made yet another bold move on lap 58, but this time it didn’t work – while pushing Davies wide, he also outbraked himself, which allowed Cesar to pass both drivers, and Davies also stayed ahead. Luck was cruel to Grip, as their other driver Hugh Dwyer also suffered a retirement, this time due to another Toyota engine failure.
However, out front it was Thunder who took the plaudits, winning comfortably ahead of Ellington, Taylor, Cesar, Davies, Kidd and Palma.
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