Max Defourny extends the lead in MRF Challenge
Belgium’s Max Defourny continued his podium run as he scored a win and two second-place finishes in the three races of the MRF Challenge held here today at the Bahrain International Circuit.
The 20-year old Defourny was second to Germany’s Andreas Estner in the day’s first race and later finished behind winner Jamie Chadwick (UK) in the next before ending the day with a win in the third.
Having finished on the podium in all the eight races of the championship, organised by the Madras Motor Sports Club, including five in the first round at Dubai last month, Defourny consolidated his position on the leaderboard with 173 points, ahead of Chadwick (129). Two more races are scheduled for Saturday.
Defourny said: “It could or rather, should have been better this week. After qualifying for pole position last night, I made a mistake in the first race today and finished second. In the next race, I got hit from behind at Turn-1 when one of the competitors (Danial Frost of Singapore) spun. There was some damage to the car and I managed to finish second. In the third race today, after we repaired the visual damage to the car, there was a lot of vibration in the left rear, but I managed to pull away to win.”
Defourny was at his best in Race-3 which he started from pole position and won quite comfortably despite the vibrations, while Estner came in second followed by Patrik Pasma from Finland.
The damage to Defourny’s car was the result of a collision before Turn-1 immediately after the Race-2 start between reverse-grid pole-sitter Petr Ptacek (Czech Republic) and Singapore’s Danial Frost. The incident allowed Chadwick, who had started third, to get a jump on the pack, leaving Dylan Young (Australia) and Defourny to scrap for second and third spots. The Belgian finally moved past the Aussie, but by then, Chadwick was long gone. The trio held position to the finish. For Chadwick, it was her maiden win in the championship after three second places in Dubai round.
Earlier, the Race-1 was much closer than the results might suggest. Andreas Estner had a good start and rocketed past pole-sitter Defourny who messed up by dropping the revs which pushed him to third behind Chadwick, who, in turn, was later passed by Frost. Further back, there was hectic scramble for track positions, but was incident-free. Defourny managed to close down on Estner, but the German teenager had sufficient lead to take the flag for his second win in the championship.
Andreas Estner said: “It was pretty good. Had a good start and caught the leader. In the first few laps, I was able to pull a big gap. In the end, Defourny was a bit faster than me as my tyres wore out, but I managed to hold him off.”
Defourny said: “The race was quite bad to be honest. I had a bad start as I came too low in the revs, dropped to third, but passed (Jamie) Chadwick. By that time, Andreas had opened a gap. I struggled a bit, but in the end, I came back quite a lot. However, I never managed to get close enough without attacking. I did not want to take risks, keeping in mind the championship.”
The results (all 10 laps):
Race-1: 1. Andreas Estner (Germany) (Best Lap 02:00.792); 2. Max Defourny (Belgium) (BL 02:00.452); 3. Danial Frost (Singapore) (BL 02:00.865).
Race-2: 1. Jamie Chadwick (UK) (BL 02:00.974); 2, Max Defourny (Belgium) (BL 02:01.082); 3. Dylan Young (BL 02:01.734).
Race-3: 1. Max Defourny (Belgium) (BL 02:01.039); 2. Andreas Estner (Germany) (BL 02:01.499); 3. Patrik Pasma (Finland) (BL 02:01.873).
Qualifying: 1. Max Defourny (Belgium) (02:00.248); 2. Andreas Estner (Germany) (02:00.466); 3. Jamie Chadwick (UK) (02:00.885