Calcutta: For the sponsors it was more of an occasion to showcase Brian Lara and the crowd lapped it up with vigour. The city-leg of the MRF-MAI Formulae Mondilae championships was reduced to the background as the West Indies skipper hogged all the limelight during his hour-long stay at the go-karting track in the outskirts of the city on Sunday evening.
“I like the crowd here… Calcutta is one of my favourite cities in India,” Lara’s comments sent the spectators into raptures. Going by popular demand, Lara also made a couple of rounds of the 3.5km track on the kart.
He started off at a slow pace and even hit the side barrier once, but he soon gained in confidence, picked up speed and finished with aplomb. “I never felt tense. I had the experience of go-karting once in the past and not an entirely new experience for me,” he said.
“I plan to get more involved with go-karting once I quit cricket,” he said after watching keenly the KCT final, the first of the three events slated for the day.
Goa’s Audember Hede won the 22-lap race with a timing of 9:59.131. City boy Amitrajit Ghosh (10:05.698) came second followed by Amar Patil (10:09.352) from Pune.
Having handed over the prizes, Lara also joined in the celebrations, forcing a not-too-eager Hede open his bottle of champagne on the victory podium.
Pune’s Raymond Banerjee won the showpiece event, the INKC final. Banglaore-based Deepak Pal Chinappa was second and Fazal Khan third. Last year’s Asian zone champion Preetham Muniappa was fourth.