Australian Joey Mawson shrugged off a wretched qualifying session to pull off a brilliant win and extend his championship lead over Britain’s Harrison Newey by 27 points in the final round of the MRF Challenge which headlined the second round of the MRF MMSC Fmsci Indian National Racing Championship at the MMRT track in Sripeumbudur, near here on Saturday.
While Mawson and Newey stole the day’s limelight, there were other impressive performances in the National championship that saw Karthik Tharani (MRF F1600), Prashanth K (Formula LGB 1300) and Narendran (Saloon cars) winning their respective races in contrasting styles.
Newey, starting from pole position, clinched the top spot in the MRF Challenge’s first race after an initial struggle. Mawson, who had qualified seventh, won the second outing quite comfortably after overhauling reverse grid pole-sitter Daniel Ticktum (Britain) at the start.
The results saw Mawson taking his championship tally to 250 points while Newey, who was fourth in the second race, has 223 and the other title contender Mick Schumacher (195) was in third position ahead of Sunday’s double-header.
Joey Mawson was thrilled to win the second race of the day and extend his lead, with only two races to go. He commented, “It was a great start and after that it was all about managing the pace. I even got the fastest lap which helps me increase my lead. It is going to be important to stay out of trouble tomorrow but am really looking forward to it.”
Tharani, who was placed second in the championship last season, put in a fine performance for a lights-to-flag victory after surviving some close attention from Anindith Reddy of Hyderabad who finished a second ahead of Raghul Rangasamy, who hails from the nearby temple town of Mahabalipuram.
It was a touch-and-go battle right through in the 10-car grid as Tharani made a good start from pole position and had to fight hard to nurse his spot despite being hounded by Reddy all through the eight-lap race.
The Formula LGB 1300 class had a combined grid of National Championship and the Rookie Cup categories. Prashanth K of Wallace Sports comfortably took the honours in the Championship class while team-mate Rithvik Thomas won in the Rookie Cup.
The 25-car grid of Saloon cars, comprising three categories of Indian Junior Touring Cars, Super Stock and Esteem Cup, proved extremely competitive. Narendran of RAD Racing (Esteem Cup) exchanged track position with Varun Anekar of Race Concepts (Super Stock) before pulling away to win the race while Anant Pithawalla of Team N1 (Esteem Cup) eased way into second spot. Anekar eventually finished third in the combined classification.
Anekar, however, topped the Super Stock class while Himam KP (DTS Racing) won in the Indian Junior Touring Cars class.
Races 3&4 will take place on Sunday, February 19. All the action will be streamed live this weekend and can be seen at www.mrfracing.in