X1 Racing League: Mumbai Falcons' Mikkel Jensen talks on duel with Bangalore Racing Stars' Oliver Webb, hails 'amazing crowd'

  • The first leg of the inaugural edition of the X1 Racing League came to an end on Sunday in Greater Noida's Buddh International Circuit

  • Bangalore Racing Stars and Mumbai Falcons emerged the two dominant sides in the first leg of the competition.

  • Team Bangalore, comprising Arjun Maini, Oliver Webb, Vishnu Prasad and Michelle Gatting, emerged the leading side in front of the 35,000-strong crowd in the first leg of the franchise-based competition

Greater Noida: The first leg of the inaugural edition of the X1 Racing League came to an end on Sunday in Greater Noida's Buddh International Circuit, with the Bangalore Racing Stars and Mumbai Falcons emerging the two dominant sides in the competition.

Team Bangalore — comprising Arjun Maini, Oliver Webb, Vishnu Prasad and Michelle Gatting — emerged the leading side in front of the 35,000-strong crowd in the first leg of the franchise-based competition, a first in the world of motorsports that follows the footsteps of cricket's Indian Premier League (IPL).

 X1 Racing League: Mumbai Falcons Mikkel Jensen talks on duel with Bangalore Racing Stars Oliver Webb, hails amazing crowd

Bangalore Racing Stars' Oliver Webb and Mumbai Falcons' Mikkel Jensen stand on the podium at the end of the first leg of the X1 Racing League. Image credit: Twitter/@JKTyreRacing

The first leg of the X1 Racing League took place along with a host of other motorsporting events such as the Formula LGB-4 and the Suzuki Gixxer Cup in the JK Tyre Festival of Speed in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Team Mumbai, which includes Arjun's brother Kush Maini along with Mikkel Jensen, Pippa Mann and Karthik Tharani, fought valiantly and had taken the top spot in the first race of the day — in which Jensen and Webb were neck-and-neck in a two-horse race until the former managed to maintain his lead till the wave of the chequered flag. However, the Bangalore team fought back to win the second race before winning the relay race, the final event of the day.

Danish driver Jensen recollects his duel in the first race with British rival Webb in a chat with Firstpost after the conclusion of the day's events, along his views on the Buddh International Circuit, acclimatisation to local conditions and more. Here are the excerpts:

What was going through your mind in the pitched battle with Oliver Webb during the first race of this leg of the X1 League?

I think we started a little bit high on tyre pressure so towards the end of the race, it was too high for me. Started to struggle, and once you start sliding on the tyre, it gets even worse and worse. Oli (Oliver Webb) was right on my back and I think when you are within two seconds of the car here in this circuit with the long straight, you simply can’t put away. We saw it with Kushan in the beginning of the stint, that Arjun his brother was catching up, and then it was my time in the second stint to have that. So you really have to stay focused and do your lines and really do no mistakes. But I’m happy we brought it back home.

How are you planning to take things forward to the second leg in Chennai? Any new strategy that you want to develop?

I don’t know. For sure, we learnt it’s a really different race format to what we’re used to. So there’s a lot of tactics, also in terms of you gaining some points by doing the fastest lap; pole position is important (as) you get a point as well. It’s also important to choose which car is going to start and which car is the fifth driver in for this fourth race which we’re also going to have at the end of Chennai. So it’s really important to clear everything up. It’s been a difficult week mentally because there’s a lot of new things to learn with the regulations and everything. So it’s been cool, a good experience, and always super cool to come back to where the roots were in the formula cars.

How has your experience been like so far in India and what do you feel about the Buddh International Circuit?

It’s a very nice circuit. I would say it’s really a shame it’s not used for bigger events anymore since the Formula One in 2013. So it’s six years without racing on this circuit for very big events, which is a shame. The track is really, really good, and I’m surprised by the good condition of the track not being used so long. I don’t know if a lot has been done to the circuit, but it’s in very good condition, and I’d say it just needs some better races here in the future. The crowd is amazing; they really have the spirit here. It’s not a boring crowd that you normally find in the Formula One race in Monaco (where) everything has to be so nice. Here it’s really just cheering. They love to be here and love to see nice cars, and was a great crowd today.

Was it challenging to get used to the cars and the climate here in India?

The air is very different here, but I travel a lot around the world. I mean I’ve been to Japan and China this year as well so it’s a bit in this area, this direction here. So for me, it’s pretty normal. Time zone is not far off, so it’s been okay.

First time in India? How’s the experience going so far for you?

Everything’s been great. I’m very sad to see how things also look when we drive from here to the hotel. So I hope it’s something improving for the future, for the country as well. But the people are very happy, which is nice to see. So I think, to have a good life doesn’t mean of how wealthy you are, and stuff. If you’re satisfied with what you have, then that’s what I think you should appreciate.

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Updated Date: Dec 02, 2019 18:44:14 IST