Phillip Island (Australia), Feb 24: India's first World Superbike team, Mahi Racing, began its World Supersport Championship campaign with a bang when its lead rider Kenan Sofuoglu of Turkey comfortably won the first race of the season here on Sunday.
Sofuoglu's triumph positioned Mahi Racing Team as one of the front runners for the title in this 15 round championship. The three-time world champion, who started second behind Sam Lowes of Yakhnich Motorsport, showcased the speed and reliability of the Kawasaki ZX-6R by taking the chequered flag 1.899 sec ahead of Lowes.
Sofuoglu stopped the clock at 23'32.480 and in the bargain also recorded the fastest lap timing of 1'33.283 on the 15th and final lap.
The Turkish rider had a see-saw battle with Lowes till the 12th lap but once he got past his challenger there was no stopping him.
"It was a near perfect race for us and I am very happy that me and the team have started the campaign on the winning note," said Sofuoglu after the race.
Sofuoglu's teammate Fabien Foret, however, failed to finish on the podium. The Frenchman, who started in the third position, slipped a spot in the race.
Chairman and Managing Director of the team, Arun Pandey, could not hide his elation and said such a performance will only give Motor Racing a huge boost in India.
"Despite finishing second and third in qualifying we knew that we had a very good chance to finish at the pole and Sofouglu was fantastic today," he added.
Result: (Top 4 Riders)
1. K Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India) 23'32.480
2. Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport) 23'34.379
3. Michael vd Mark ( Pata Honda World Supersport) 23'39.251
4. Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India) 23'43.575.