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The first round of MRF Challenge was held at Dubai Autodrome and 20-year old Belgian driver Max Defourny won two races out of five. The other three wins were taken by Andreas Estner, Patrick Pasma and Daniel Frost. Defourny won the first and last race of the first round and finished on podium in the other three races, amassing 106 points overall. Great Britain’s Jamie Chadwick, the only female racer on the grid, is second overall with 78 points. He finished the first, third and fifth races in second position. Daniel Frost from Singapore is third with 70 points. He won the second race and finished the first and fifth races on the podium.
Max Defourny won the first race without any challenge as he started from pole position and built a good lead. Jamie started second on the grid but slipped on a couple of occasions. However, she recovered quickly and finished the race in second. Daniel Frost started from P8 on the grid and went on to finish on the podium. Chetan Korada, the only Indian to take part in the race, finished the first two races in 10th and 12th positions. He started Race-1 from the pitlane following an engine change.
The second race started in reverse grid position. Daniel Frost won the race followed by Petr Ptacek (Czech Republic) and Defourny, who rounded off the podium after starting from sixth position on the grid. In the third race, Andreas Estner got off to a great start, as he moved from P4 to P1 at turn 1, overtaking everyone. Despite starting on pole position, Defourny didn’t have a good start and he dropped down the order. Jamie Chadwick climbed to P2 and defended her position from Defourny. Estner built a good lead and won the race, followed by Chadwick and Defourny.
The fourth race started in reverse grid position and Patrick Pasma took full advantage of his pole position to build a good lead. Defourny gave a tough competition as he moved from fourth to second, breathing fire down Pasma’s neck. But Pasma defended his position and crossed the chequered flag first, followed by Defourny. Fellow Belgian racer Michelangelo Amendola took the third place. The final race of the first round of the MRF Challenge saw Defourny starting from pole position. Capitalising on his pole position, he built a good lead and kept on increasing the gap between himself and the rest of the pack. Meanwhile, Chadwick was engaged in a tough battle midfield to get to the top. She managed to cut through the field and slot herself behind Defourny, who went on to win the race. She outsmarted Daniel Frost to finish second; Frost had to settle for a third place finish.
After the first round of MRF Challenge, Defourny said, “I think, I could have done better and won a couple of more races. I made a few mistakes, but more important was that I picked up points at the start of the championship. My win in Race 5 was far more satisfying than that in Race 1. I won more comfortably and on tyres that I had used in the previous four races.”
On his debut MRF Challenge, Chetan Korada said, “I am gradually getting used to the car and this is reflected in my ever-improving timings. I hope to have a better outing in Bahrain next month and hopefully, by the time we get to Chennai in February, I should be more competitive and fighting for mid-grid positions.”
The MRF Challenge heads to Bahrain (Dec 6-8) for the next round before moving to Chennai (Feb 8-10) for the championship finale.
Here are the results:
Qualifying (30 minutes): 1. Max Defourny (Belgium) (01:56.819); 2. Jamie Chadwick (UK) (01:56.937); 3. Andreas Estner (Germany) (01:57.502); 4. Dylan Young (Australia) (01:57.730).
Race-1 (10 laps): 1. Max Defourny (Belgium); 2. Jamie Chadwick (GBR); 3. Danial Frost (Singapore).
Race-2 (10 laps): 1. Frost; 2. Petr Ptacek (Czech Republic); 3. Defourny.
Race-3: 1. Andreas Estner (Germany); 2. Jamie Chadwick (GBR); 3. Max Defourny (Belgium). Fastest Lap: Defourny (01:57.038).
Race-4: 1. Patrick Pasma (Finland); 2. Defourny; 3. Michelangelo Amendola (Belgium). Fastest Lap: Max Defourny (01:58.729).
Race-5: 1. Defourny; 2. Chadwick; 3. Danial Frost (Singapore). Fastest Lap: Jamie Chadwick (01:59.402).