Fittipaldi extends championship lead

Pietro Fittipaldi, the grandson of Formula One champion driver Emerson Fittipaldi, beat Alessio Picariello of Belgium and Nikita Troitckii of Russia in the fourth race of the MRF Challenge to extend his championship lead to 16 points.

Pietro Fittipaldi of Brazil put on an impressive display and won the fourth race of MRF Challenge 2015 at the Dubai Autodrome here on Saturday. Fittipaldi, the grandson of Formula One champion driver Emerson Fittipaldi, beat Alessio Picariello of Belgium and Nikita Troitckii of Russia to extend his championship lead to 16 points.

Earlier in the day, Picariello won the third race, which was red-flagged on the seventh lap. Racing on a very challenging track that tested the finesse and ability of the drivers, Picariello won ahead of Troitckii and Fittipaldi. On the overall count, Fittipaldi now has 168 points, with Troitckii in second with 152 points while Tatania Calderon of Colombia is in the third position with 147 points. Picariello is further 13 points away in fourth place. The Dubai leg saw the completion of 10 out of the total 14 rounds as the championship moved into the final phase, which will be held in Chennai from January 29 to 31.

In the first race of the day held in the morning, pole-sitter Picariello kept his lead in the first corner. Troitckii moved into second position with Fittipaldi and Calderon close behind. Dylan Young of Australia crashed on the second lap which brought out the Safety Car for two laps. Following the restart, Troitckii continued to put pressure on Picariello and found a way past in the sixth lap. The race was red-flagged on the same lap when Arjun Narendran of India and Mathew Draper of Great Britain collided. The race was stopped thereafter, handing Picariello the win.

In the fourth race, Harrison Newey of Great Britain took the lead from reverse-grid pole man Walkinshaw. Fittipaldi got past Sean Walkinshaw of Great Britain and started putting pressure on Newey, who was then penalised for a jump start and then black-flagged for not coming into the pit-lane straight away. Fittipaldi won comfortably ahead of Picariello. Troitckii held off Calderon to take the final spot on the podium, with fellow Russian Nerses Isaakyan finishing in a strong fifth.

Tarun Reddy penalised, loses second race:

Indian driver Tarun Reddy, who was initially named as the winner on aggregate points ahead of Tatania Calderon in the second race on Friday, lost his position after third-placed driver Nikita Troitckii lodged an appeal against the result. Troitckii complained of being pushed off the road by Reddy in their fight for second place. The Russian’s appeal was upheld resulting in a 20-second time penalty for Reddy, which pushed him down to 12th place. Calderon was declared the winner of the race.