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MRF Challenge 2017: Drugovic extends championship lead, wins double podium in Dubai

57   //    12 Dec 2017, 12:55 IST

Podium L to R Drugovich, Martono, Kalmthout
Podium L to R Drugovich, Martono, Kalmthout

Brazilian driver Felipe Drugovich recovered from yesterday’s disappointment to take a win and 2nd place in Round 2 of the MRF Challenge 2017 in Dubai. Drugovich won Race 3 after overtaking Martono on lap 2. Martono finished in 2nd place with Karkosik in 3rd place. However, he struck back in race 4 to get his first win of the season ahead of Drugovich and Rinus van Kalmthout. Drugovich currently leads the championship with 150 points, ahead of Martono (132) and van Kalmthout (124). 

Martono finally got a good start off the line in Race 3 as he led into the first corner with Felipe Drugovich tucked up right behind him. Drugovich immediately piled on the pressure and got past the Indonesian driver with a daring move down the inside into turn 12. Behind them there was an action race between Harri Jones, Karkosik and Falchero. All drivers were given a warning for dangerous driving on track. Karkosik passed Jones to move into 3rd place. At the front Martono stayed with Drugovich but was unable to get close enough to attempt a pass. The Brazilian driver took his 4th win of the season.

Karkosik crossed the line in 3rd place. Danial Frost and Falchero finished in the 4th & 5th places respectively but both were disqualified due to technical infringements on their cars. Jones was promoted to the 6th place, only to be given a 20-second penalty for overtaking outside track limits. After all penalties, Robert Megennis, Michale Amendola and Manuel Maldonado finished in 4th, 5th and 6th places respectively. Championship contender van Kalmthout had a gear shift problem and dropped to last before recovering to finish in 9th position.

The final race of the weekend saw van Kalmthout starting on pole alongside Martono for Race 4. The Indonesian driver had another good start and took the lead as they headed into the first corner. There was trouble at the back as Maldonado and Frost collided, bring out the safety car. When the safety car came in on lap 4, Martono had both van Kalmthout and Drugovich on his tail. Drugovich managed to pass van Kalmthout to take 2nd place.

Drugovich then had Martono in his sights for the rest of the four laps, but the Indonesian just had enough to take his maiden win of the season. Van Kalmthout completed the podium with Karkosik in 4th. However, Karkosik was later disqualified for failing to serve a drive-through penalty, for a jump start. Jones finished in 4th place ahead of Falchero.

Championship leader Felipe Drugovich, commented, "Today was a really good day so I am very happy to extend my championship lead. Especially after we had that problem yesterday, today’s win was sweet. I really enjoy driving on this circuit.”

Presley Martono was thrilled to win his first race after showing great pace the whole weekend. He commented, “I have been having a problem with my starts but today in race 4 I really nailed it. When the safety car came out I knew I would have a tough time keeping the two guys behind me. But the car was good so to take my first win here feels good.”

MRF Challenge 2017, Round 1, Dubai, Race 3:

  1. Felipe DRUGOVICH - 19:45.535
  2. Presley MARTONO - 19:46.295
  3. Alex KARKOSIK - 19:52.310
  4. Robert MEGENNIS - 20:00.896
  5. Michelangelo AMENDOLA - 20:01.825

MRF Challenge 2017, Round 1, Dubai, Race 4:

  1. Presley MARTONO - 24:14.432
  2. Felipe DRUGOVICH - 24:15.133
  3. Rinus VAN KALMTHOUT - 24:16.045
  4. Harri JONES - 24:20.146
  5. Julien FALCHERO - 24:20.689

Championship Positions after Round 2 (provisional):

  1. Felipe DRUGOVICH - 150
  2. Presley MARTONO - 132
  3. Rinus VAN KALMTHOUT - 124
  4. Julien FALCHERO - 102
  5. Alex KARKOSIK - 71
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