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2017/18 MRF Champion Felipe Drugovich signs off with two wins in Chennai

66   //    06 Feb 2018, 01:26 IST

Felipe Drugovich
Felipe Drugovich

Brazilian driver Felipe Drugovich had the perfect ending to the 2017/18 MRF Challenge when he won the final two races at the MMRT in Chennai. This gives him 10 wins for the season out of a total 16 races. Both races saw Presley Martono and Rinus van Kalmthout finish on the podium. Martono beat van Kalmthout to second in the championship by seven points.

In Race 3, Martono again had a good start and led into the first corner with Drugovich and van Kalmthout slotting right behind. There was action again heading into turn two with Kurt Hill and Nazim Azman both retiring on the spot after colliding. The safety car came out for two laps before the racing started again.

With Martono struggling on cold tyres, Drugovich pounced and went around the outside of the Indonesian driver at Anand’s corner on lap two to take the lead. With van Kalmthout also trying to find his way past, Drugovich pulled away at the front. Behind them both Danial Frost and Louis Gachot got past Julien Falchero with the French driver having a horrible first lap.

With the championship wrapped up the fight for second place continued between Martono and van Kalmthout. With two laps to go van Kalmthout tried to pass the Indonesian into turn seven but could not make it stick. Drugovich comfortably won with Martono fending off van Kalmthout for second place. Frost finished in 4th place ahead of Gachot and Falchero.    

L to R Martono, Drugovich, Kalmthout, MRF Tyres Vice Chairman & MD Arun Mammen
(L to R) Martono, Drugovich, Kalmthout, MRF Tyres Vice Chairman & MD Arun Mammen

The final race of the season saw van Kalmthout start on pole alongside Drugovich. Van Kalmthout got bogged down at the start, allowing Drugovich to get a better start and lead into the first corner with Martono slotting in behind.

Drugovich pulled away at the front and van Kalmthout and Martono battled for second. He comfortably crossed the finish line in first to cap a brilliant season for the young Brazilian. Van Kalmthout finished in second place ahead of Martono. . American driver Robert Megennis had his best finish this season finishing in fourth place, with Harri Jones right behind. Frost finished in sixth position.

The top three drivers also battled for fastest lap with Martono coming out on top. Martono set a 1:29.538 to set the fastest ever lap at the MMRT, four tenths faster than van Kalmthout’s time from yesterday. 

2017/18 MRF Challenge Champion Felipe Drugovich said, “Today was just a perfect day. The car felt great and I had a good start in both races. There is something about this track that makes it very challenging. It’s important to get the right balance and we did that today. Chennai is a great city and we felt very welcome here. Thank you to my team and everyone at MRF for this win.”


MRF Challenge 2017, Round 4, Chennai, Race 3, 20 Laps:

  1. Felipe Drugovich - 33:09.353
  2. Presley Martono - 33:20.422
  3. Rinus van Kalmthout - 33:21.398
  4. Danial Frost - 33.,22.478
  5. Louis Gachot - 33:24.040

MRF Challenge 2017, Round 4, Chennai, Race 4, 20 Laps:

  1. Felipe Drugovich - 30:08.812
  2. Rinus van Kalmthout - 30:13.094
  3. Presley Martono - 30:16.118
  4. Robert Megennis - 30:25.864
  5. Harri Jones - 30:26.481

Final Championship Positions:

  1. Felipe Drugovich - 333
  2. Presley Martono - 254
  3. Rinus van Kalmthout - 247
  4. Julien Falchero - 194
  5. Alex Karkosik - 122
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