Drugovich crowned MRF Challenge champion

Felipe Drugovich finished third and sixth in the two races of the day but that was enough to seal the 2017 MRF Challenge championship.

An elated Felipe Drugovic after winning the 2017 MRF Challenge on Saturday.   -  Special Arrangement

Brazil's Felipe Drugovich was crowned the 2017 MRF Challenge Champion at the Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) at Irungattukottai, near Chennai on Saturday. Drugovich finished third and sixth in the two races of the day but that was enough to seal the championship.

While Drugovich claimed the title, Rinus van Kalmthout dominated Race 1 ahead of Presley Martono and Drugovich, while Martono won an action packed Race 2 ahead of van Kalmthout and Danial Frost. The results took Drugovich’s tally to 283, well ahead of Martono (219) and Kalmthout (212).

Starting third on the grid behind pole-sitter Martono and Drugovich in the first race, Kalmthout got off to a brilliant start as he slipped past the front runners to take the lead in the very first lap. Thereafter, it was a virtual procession as the Dutchman scored his third win of the season Drugovich, who was subsequently docked 10 grid positions for the next race due to “fuel infringement”.

The second race was red-flagged after just one lap following three different incidents, including that involving reverse grid pole-sitter Alex Karkosik (Poland), who spun off the track. Upon the re-start, Singapore’s Danial Frost led much of the race, which was reduced to 15 laps, before he went off and dropped to third while Martono won.

Post his win, an elated Drugovich said, “It feels fantastic to win the championship. I have not been happy with the balance of the car today but I just did what I had to win the championship. This year has been great and consistency has been the main reason behind my title win. The weekend in Abu Dhabi stands out as the most memorable moment of this championship.”

Ramaswamy relaunches campaign

Later, Bengaluru's Ashish Ramaswamy (Arka Motorsports) destroyed the field in the saloon car race to launch his campaign in the Indian National Racing Championship in style.

The saloon car race was a one-horse affair as pole-sitter Ramaswamy never looked back after a flying start and finished some 30 seconds ahead of veteran B. Vijaya Kumar and V. Nikanth Ram, who kept exchanging track positions in the latter part of the 12-lap race.

Even as Ramaswamy pulled away into the distance, Nikanth opened a good lead over Kumar. However, in the second half of the race, Nikanth spun, conceding his advantage to Kumar, who caught up and moved into second spot. Nikanth then held on to his podium position with another veteran Vidya Prakash sitting on his tail on the last lap.

The results (Provisional):

MRF Challenge – Race 1 (20 laps): 1. Rinus van Kalmthout (Netherlands) (30mins, 22.676secs); 2. Presley Martono (Indonesia) (30:29.174); 3. Felipe Drugovich (Brazil) (30:31.552). Race 2 (15 laps): 1. Presley Martono (Indonesia) (22:50.733); 2. Rinus Van Kalmthout (Netherlands) (22:52.713); 3. Danial Frost (Singapore) (22:54.318).

National Championship (Saloon cars, 12 laps): Indian Touring Cars – 1. Ashish Ramaswamy (Arka Motorsports) (23:18.381); 2. B Vijaya Kumar (Prime Racing) (23:48.765); 3. V Nikanth Ram (Arka Motorsports) (23:56.477).

Indian Junior Touring Cars: 1. Prabhu AS (Arka Motorsports) (23:48.082); 2. Kamlesh Parmar (Team N1) (24:08.005); 3. Nikunj D Vagh (Team N1) (24:48.633).

Super Stock: 1. RP Rajarajan (Performance Racing) (25:04.844); 2. Srinivas Teja K (Performance Racing) (23:23.023 +1 lap); 3. Swajit Acharaker (Team N1) (23:42.600 +1 lap).

Esteem Cup: 1. Raghul Rangasamy (Performance Racing) (24:46.448); 2. Vinod S (Team N1) (24:58.109).

Vidiem Superbikes (Support Race, 8 laps) – 600cc: 1. Siddhanth Koundiya (Bengaluru) (15:32.243); 2. Vishwadev Muraleedharan (Coimbatore) (15:46.550); 3. Arthur Fernando (Tuticorin) (15:46.887). 1000cc: 1. Rish Agarwal (Bengaluru) (15:06.577); 2. Himanish Amla (Bengaluru) (15:32.545); 3. Yokeshwaran K (Coimbatore) (16:03.838).