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Jamie Chadwick sets early pace in MRF Challenge Round 2

Shahid Salman
49   //    06 Dec 2018, 19:21 IST

#55 Jamie Chadwick
#55 Jamie Chadwick

Jamie Chadwick, the only female racer on the 12-car grid, set the early pace by topping both the free practice sessions which kick-started the second round of the MRF Challenge at the Bahrain International Circuit, here today.

Chadwick, 20, from Bath, England, clocked a best of two minutes, 01.002 seconds in the first session around the 5.412 Kms Grand Prix circuit and went even better in the next with a 02:00.923 to warm up nicely for the qualifying session scheduled for later tonight.

Chadwick came up with a late blitz in the first session putting in the fastest lap on her last flier to edge out championship leader Max Defourny (02:01.398) from Belgium and German Andreas Estner (02:01.944) who got into his stride late in the 30-minute session.

In the next session, it was Chadwick again who put the hammer down, recording her best timing of 02:00.923 on her last flying lap with Andreas Estner (02:01.388) second ahead of Czech Republic’s Petr Ptacek (02:01.553).

Reflecting on her two practice sessions, Chadwick said: “Just a couple of sessions. Now it is just a question of carrying the momentum into the qualifying. We missed out on pole last time and so this is our chance to get some points and go from there. Happy with the pace. I know my around the track as I had raced here a few years ago, but in an Aston Martin GT4 which is a lot of different. Today, I wanted to learn by way around the track quickly again.”

For Defourny, also 20 and a graduate of the Formula Renault Euro Cup, it was an up-and-down outing. He was third quickest in the first session, but slipped a slot to fourth in the second outing.

Defourny said: “For the moment, it was mixed. Not too great to be honest. We were trying a few things around the car. Happy with the balance of the car. Even if it feels good, the time is a bit slower. Now we go back and think what we can do to get back our pace. We hope to go quicker in the qualifying. Our target is to get most points as possible and increase the lead in the championship.”

India’s Chetan Korada, though last on the time sheets in both the sessions, showed improvement in his lap timings. “I am more confident and comfortable with the car. This car is very tricky and suitable for fast corners and fast track. I see myself cutting down on time. I was not taking much of pressure and trying to learn. Now that I am getting comfortable with the car, it is a question of learning the track,” he said.

The results:

Free Practice-1: 1. Jamie Chadwick (UK) (02:01.002); 2. Max Defourny (Belgium) (02:01.398); 3. Andreas Estner (Germany) (02:01.944). Free Practice-2: 1. Chadwick (02:00.923); 2. Andreas Estner (02:01.388); 3. Petr Ptacek (Czech Republic) (02:01.553).