It’s undergone a name change since we last reported on it, but the Polo R Cup India 2011 (formerly the Volkswagen Polo Cup India 2011) is still essentially the same formula as before. While the name may owe something to the 300bhp Polo R WRC world rally championship car announced back in May (and possibly lend even more credence to the Polo R road car rumours), the Polo R Cup India racers are essentially unchanged from the 2010 cars. That means 130bhp, 1.6-litre TDI engines, and a low 1090kg weight, in addition to body styling modifications and racing technical upgrades.
The first rounds of the 2011 championship kicked off the season on 19 June at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore. It was a perfect weekend for Vishnu Prasad, winning both races. The first victory was straightforward enough, taking the chequered flag from pole position, while the 19 year-old Chennai driver took the podium in the second race starting from eighth position and worked his way up the 20-strong grid. Mihir Dharkar and Saif Mir took second and third places respectively in the first round.
A reverse grid for the second race gave Alisha Abdullah – the only female driver – a pole position which she held on to for 10 laps. Pressure from her charging rivals Prasad and Mihir Dharkar ousted her from the top spot, but a third place and a step on the podium was reward enough. It was also the first podium finish for a female driver on the Volkswagen Polo R Cup India. Prasad goes to the next rounds (once again at the Kari Motor Speedway at Coimbatore) on 15 July with a six-point lead over Dharkar.
Prithviraj Siddappa, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport India, said of the second race: ‘It was one of the most exciting races I have experienced as we kick off the second season of Polo R Cup. It was a spectacular race and I am very happy to see Alisha on the podium. The driving witnessed today is proof that we have the crème of the young Indian motorsport talent as part of our programme. I am really thrilled to be a part of their journey as they develop as drivers over the course of the Polo R Cup 2011.’