MRF Challenge: Martono, Ashish Ramaswamy on pole

Indonesian driver Presley Martono pipped season leader Felipe Drugovic to seal the pole position on Friday.

Presley Martono clocked 1:30.017 to clinch the pole position, ahead of championship leader Felipe Drugovic, on Friday.   -  Special Arrangement

Indonesian driver Presley Martono got his second pole position of the MRF Challenge 2017 season at the Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) in Chennai. Martono came very close to beating 1min30 mark but just felt short and will start alongside championship leader Felipe Drugovich for the first race of the weekend.

Drugovich was the first to set a competitive time before Pavan Ravishankar and Louis Gachot both went faster. Rinus van Kalmthout then set a 1:30.628, only for Martono to go even quicker seconds later. The Indonesian driver clocked 1:30.017 to confirm his pole position. Drugovich could only manage a 1:30.377 and finished second. Van Kalmthout and Julien Falchero will start on the second row with Ravishankar and Danial Frost locking out row 3.

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Earlier, Bengaluru’s Ashish Ramaswamy of Arka Motor Sports team set the benchmark by qualifying for pole position among saloon cars in the first round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Racing Championship.

Ashish, who had finished third in the championship last year, enjoyed a virtually trouble-free run through the day as he was the quickest in the free practice sessions before putting the hammer down in the qualifying, where he clocked 01:53.520, well clear of second-placed team-mate V. Nikanth Ram from Coimbatore (01:55.816).

The results (qualifying – top 3):

MRF Challenge: 1. Presley Martono (Indonesia) (01min, 30.017secs); 2. Felipe Drugovich (Brazil) (01:30.377); 3. Rinus van Kalmthout (Netherlands) (01:30.468).

Saloon cars: 1. Ashish Ramaswamy (Arka Motor Sports) (01:53.520); 2. V Nikanth Ram (Arka Motor Sports) (01:55.816); 3. B Vijay Kumar (Prime Racing) (01:56.741).