In his maiden appearance, Indian businessman Gautam Hari Singhania narrowly missed out on podium to finish fourth in the Coppa Shell category of the 2014 Ferrari Challenge European Union (EU) race 1, here today.
Held at the majestic Yas Marina Circuit, Singhania, a race enthusiast and CMD of Raymond, finished 12th overall, which also includes the Trofeo Pirelli series.
The 49-year-old Singhania had qualified 3rd on the grid earlier in the morning and was in third spot for a major part of the final race before being overtaken by Thomas Loeflad.
The pole position in Coppa Shell went to defending champion Massimiliano Bianchi of Italy while Dirk Adamski of the Netherlands finished second on the podium.
In the Trofeo Pirelli series, Philipp Baron of Austria won the top prize while Castantino Bertuzzi took the second spot. Italy’s Daniele Di Amato had to be content with the third position.
There were a total of 43 cars on the grid that included both Trofeo and Coppa Shell.
“It was a very competitive race and we just missed out. In the qualifying I had spin at 200 kms, but it happens. I just love racing and try to do it as well as I can,” Singhania, who has been successfully, heading the Raymond group for the past 14 years, said after the race.
Though it has been almost over three decades since his tryst with racing began, Singhania said he has a long way to go as far as competitions are concerned.
“I plan to compete in all the eight legs of the Ferrari Challenge, next year. I have raced here just twice this year whereas some of the other participants have been doing full seasons for past three years,” Singhania, the first Indian racer to compete in Ferrari Challenge, added.
Singhania, who is the co-founder of the Super Car Club (SCC), which has launched various activities to promote the popularity of motorsports in the country, said,”We are promoting the sport by organising drifting events for the past three years and we continue to keep improving.”
Singhania also holds the record for being the only Asian to have participated and triumphed in the amateur category of the All Stars European Drift Championship held at Malta in September 2012.
Singhania won the 2014 Ferrari Pirelli Open held at Brands Hatch in Great Britain, becoming the first and the only Indian to achieve this feat, while achieving a podium finish at the Britcar Championship at Oulton Park.
He had a double win in the NGK racing series at the Yas Marina circuit in November.