Can Drugovich sparkle under lights?

Felipe Drugovich dazzled in Dubai last weekend with a double victory. It turned out to be extremely sweet for the Brazilian star as it further strengthened his lead (150 points) at the top of the table.

This time around, Drugovich may face a sterner test from those behind him when the third round of the MRF Challenge 2017 begins at the Yas Marina Circuit here on Thursday.   -  Special Arrangement

Felipe Drugovich dazzled in Dubai last weekend with a double victory. It turned out to be extremely sweet for the Brazilian star as it further strengthened his lead (150 points) at the top of the table. But this time around, he may face a sterner test from those behind him when the third round of the MRF Challenge 2017 begins at the Yas Marina Circuit here on Thursday.

The MRF F2000 returns to this circuit after two years but interestingly all the races, unlike the earlier rounds will be held under the lights. So the best in fray would quickly want to adapt to the new condition and deliver to their potential in this 5.5km long circuit that boasts of high-speed straights and technically tricky corners.

The MRF Challenge will take place along with the prestigious Gulf 12-hour race and this is also the first time that two back-to-back races will happen in the FIA-sanctioned championship.

"The Yas Marina is one the best new circuits in the world. It is our pleasure to race here again. The drivers also can't wait to race here,” said Arun Mammen, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of MRF Tyres.

He said the championship is shaping up nicely and this circuit will provide the drivers with the opportunity to further showcase their abilities. “Night races are always a treat to watch and am sure the fans will enjoy every moment of the F2000 cars under the lights."

The Yas Marina is a popular venue for motorsport enthusiasts as it plays host to the F-1 finale every year. The circuit was built with a permanent lighting system and is said to be the largest permanent sports venue lighting project in the world.

Coming back to the race, hot on Drugovich's heels are Indonesian driver Presley Martono (132 points) and Dutch driver Rinus Van Kalmthout (124 points). It will certainly be a battle between the three big names but only tomorrow will tell if those from behind pull out the best from their bag and shuffle the order before heading to Chennai for the fourth and final round in February next.

The MRF Challenge practise sessions will be held in the morning followed by the qualifying and the main race later in the evening.

(The writer is in Abu Dhabi at the invitation of MRF Tyres)

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