Bharath and Sowery share the spoils in MRF Challenge Round 1

Bharath and Sowery share the spoils in MRF Challenge Round 1

20th Oct 2014 11:03 am

Sowery was dominant right at the outset, setting the pace through practice and qualifying.

Briton Toby Sowery and Indian Raj Bharath emerged as the best drivers of the weekend after the conclusion of the opening round of the 2014 MRF Challenge held under the lights at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

Sowery was dominant right at the outset, setting the pace through practice and qualifying with Bharath as his closest challenger, although some traffic on his fastest lap dropped Bharath to fourth on the grid at the end of qualifying.

Things took a turn for worst for the Indian as he failed to make his way out of the pits in time for the opening race due to a mechanical snag, which meant he had start from the pitlane.

Sowery went on to secure a dominant win while Bharath could only manage ninth after having started from the pitlane.

The second race saw Tarun Reddy on pole thanks to the reversed grid for the top six finishers from race one. He went on to clinch a pole to flag win with Russian Nikita Mazepin finishing second with Sowery managing to climb his way up to third after having started sixth.

Race three saw Sowery on pole with Bharath alongside, with the driver's second fastest qualifying laps deciding the grid. Both drivers were slow off the line but the Indian managed to recover slightly better to take the lead, only to lose it to GP3 driver Ryan Cullen a few corners later. Kyle Mitchell also sailed past, along with Sowery - which meant that Bharath was fourth by the end of lap one.

However, with strong pace in the bag - the 19-year old managed to climb his way up during the course of the 15-lap race and even eked out a sizeable advantage at the end of it, winning his first race in the MRF Challenge. Mitchell and Sowery took the remaining podium spots.

The final race of the weekend was slated to be the most exciting one, with Bharath and Sowery starting sixth and fourth respectively with Mathias Lauda was on pole. At the start, Ryan Cullen slotted into second, with Brazilian Pedro Cardoso in third. A fast starting Tarun Reddy was fourth behind them, having started seventh.

Sowery and Bharath meanwhile had only average starts but started carving their way up the field and were third and fourth respectively at the half-way mark. Sowery jumped Cullen to take P2 and subsequently passed Lauda as well to take the lead on lap 10. Bharath followed suit close behind, and set off to catch the British driver – who was three seconds up the road with three laps remaining. In his pursuit, the Indian became the first driver to dip under the 2:00 mark (in lap time) as he set a string of fastest laps to reel his rival in but fell short by just two-tenths at the line. Cullen took the final podium spot some way behind.

Results:

MRF Challenge Round 1
Losail International Circuit

Race 1:

Pos

Driver Name

Country

Total Time

1

Toby Sowery

GBR

30:19.592

2

Ryan Cullen

GBR

30:38.305

3

Kyle Mitchell

RSA

30:40.009

Race 2:

Pos

Driver Name

Country

Total Time

1

Tarun Reddy

IND

30:26.545

2

Nikita Mazepin

RUS

30:28.200

3

Toby Sowery

GBR

30:31.038

Race 3:

Pos

Driver Name

Country

Total Time

1

Raj Bharath

IND

30:33.379

2

Kyle Mitchell

RSA

30:33.705

3

Toby Sowery

GBR

30:34.591

Race 4:

Pos

Driver Name

Country

Total Time

1

Toby Sowery

GBR

30:28.285

2

Raj Bharath

IND

30:28.497

3

Ryan Cullen

GBR

30:33.088

 

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