MRF Challenge: Reddy finishes on top in chaotic race

Young Indian driver Tarun Reddy held his own in a race full of crashes and confusion to win the second race of Round 3 in the MRF Challenge 2015 at the Dubai Autodrome on Friday.

(From left): Tatiana Calderon, Former Formula One driver Jean Alesi, Tarun Reddy, and Nikita Troitckii at the podium.   -  Amitabha Das Sharma

Young Indian driver Tarun Reddy held his own in a race full of crashes and confusion to win the second race of Round 3 in the MRF Challenge 2015 at the Dubai Autodrome on Friday. The Indian national anthem played for the first time this season as Reddy beat female racer Tatiana Calderon of Columbia on calculations based on combined time of the race before the red flag and the last five laps of the race after that.

The race was red-flagged on lap-three when Guiliano Alesi of France crashed. Calderon crossed the finish line in first place after overtaking Reddy in the penultimate lap but the Indian driver was adjudged the winner on calculations that showed him faster by 0.260 seconds. Russian driver Nikita Troitckii got his second podium of the day with a third place finish in the second race.

The second race started with Max Fewtrell of Great Britain on reverse grid pole, alongside Reddy. The Indian got the jump on the former and moved to first place on the first corner. He was followed by Fewtrell, Troitckii, Calderon and Picariello. Alesi crashed at the end of lap-1 which brought out the safety car. The race was finally red-flagged on lap-3 to clear the car and fix the barrier. The race had to be restarted and made a five-lap encounter in the end. Picariello suffered a steering problem and was forced to the pit and start from there for the restart ending his dream run of winning three successive races.

Earlier in the day, Alessio Picariello of Belgium continued with his great form to win the first race after a three way battle with Pietro Fittipaldi of Brazil and Troitckii, who claimed the second and third place. The MRF Challenge is an open-wheel motorsport formula that consists of 14 races in four rounds in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai and Chennai. Friday’s action saw the completion of eight rounds leaving six more to happen, two of which will be completed here on Saturday before the final leg is held in Chennai in the last week of January.