Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Circuit Racers from India


L-R: Mira Erda, Sneha Sharma, Neha Dabas, Ria Dabas

The Indian motorsport scene is growing rapidly. In the past two or three years, female drivers have been part of this, in both single-seaters and saloon racing.

Alisha Abdullah – best known for racing motorcycles (she is one of India’s only professional bike racers), but started on four wheels, and still competes in cars occasionally. Between 2010 and 2012, she raced in the Indian Volkswagen Polo Cup, with a best overall finish of eighth, in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, she scored her first podium. After a few years of racing bikes almost exclusively, she travelled to Thailand for a women’s race, part of the 2014 Toyota Vios Cup. She won the race outright. In 2016, she planned a return to four-wheeled competition, but this did not seem to happen. She spent a lot of time running and promoting her women's riding academy. 

Neha Dabas – the elder of the Dabas racing sisters. In 2015, she competed in the Volkswagen Vento Cup in India. This was her first season of racing. Her best overall result was eighth, in the second round at Coimbatore. In 2016, she was selected again by Volkswagen India as one of its twenty drivers for the Vento Cup, but she did not make the final grid. She was previously, as a teenager, a national-level basketball player for India.

Ria Dabas – the younger of the Dabas racing sisters. Her first season of racing was in 2015, when she was chosen as one of the drivers for the Volkswagen Vento Cup in India. Previously, she raced motorcycles, and was India’s youngest female superbike racer. Despite her track experience, she was not quite as fast as her sister, and had a best finish of thirteenth, at Buddh.

Mira Erda – Indian racer who is the youngest Indian woman to race cars. She was only fourteen years old when she made her debut in Formula 4 in 2014. She continued to race in Formula 4 in 2015, as part of India’s JK Tyre Racing Championship. Previously, she was active in karting all over Asia. Race results for Mira are proving very hard to track down, although she is said to have scored podium positions in 2015. She won one Rookie class race in 2016, at Coimbatore. 

Sneha Sharma – races in Formula 4 in India, as part of the JK Tyres Racing Championship. She began in 2013, after several years of karting, which gave her several notable wins. The Indian Formula 4 championship is not sanctioned by the FIA, and finding its race results has proved impossible. Sneha has also raced in the VW Polo Cup and the Toyota Etios one-make championship, and got into the final twelve of a Mercedes driver development challenge, in India. In 2016, she continued in the JK Tyres series, and was tenth in the championship. Despite only being 23 years old, she works as an airline pilot.

(Image copyright M. Periasamy)

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