Mick Schumacher continued his fine form from practice and qualifying to win the opening race of Round 3 of the MRF Challenge 2016 at Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida.
Schumacher won ahead of Felipe Drugovich and Harrison Newey. In Race 2 championship leader Joey Mawson extended his lead at the front with a convincing win in an action packed race. Estonian driver Ralf Aron finished in 2nd place ahead of Schumacher, who fought back from 8th on the grid. The opening race of the MRF 1600 championship saw pole sitter Ananth Shanmugam winning ahead of Anindith Reddy and Nayan Chaterjee.
Schumacher took his maiden pole in the championship after an intense battle with Newey. The 30 minute qualifying session saw Schumacher and Newey trade fastest laps before Schumacher did a 1:50.749 to seal the top spot, making it the fastest lap ever done by the F2000 at the BIC.
Starting on pole, the German driver got the perfect getaway to lead into the first corner, with front-row starter Harrison Newey losing out to Felipe Drugovich going into Turn 1. Drugovich started to apply pressure on Schumacher but could never get close enough to attempt a pass. Behind him, Newey and Mawson was all over the rear of Drugovich but could not find a way past. Schumacher managed to control the pace at the front to take his third win of the season. Drugovich finished ahead of Newey and Mawson. Rinus van Kalmthout equalled his best result of the season finishing fifth, ahead of Kimi Schramm and Aron.
In Race 2, Yoshiaki Katayama started on reverse grid pole position alongside Schramm. While all drivers had a clean start there was action at the third corner with Pavan Ravishankar colliding with Drugovich and bringing out the safety car in the process. When racing resumed, Mawson pounced on Schramm at the end of the long straight and took the lead. Schramm then lost a position to Aron and two laps later Schumacher and Newey also got by. Mawson pulled away at the front and comfortably took his second win of the season with Aron and Schumacher completing the podium. Newey finished in 4th with Schramm and Van Kalmthout rounding off the top 6.
Mick Schumacher was thrilled to win the opening race of 2017. He commented, “I am very happy with the win. I had a reasonable start and then it was important to control the pace. The circuit is very technical and very enjoyable to race on. I hope to continue this form for the rest of the weekend.”
In the opening race of the MRF 1600 championship, pole sitter Shanmugam had a dreadful start and dropped back to 3rd place with Reddy storming into the lead. Shanmugam first got past Nayan Chaterjee and then overtook Reddy to take the lead. He was unchallenged after that and crossed the finish line in first place to win on debut. Reddy settled for 2nd place with Chaterjee getting a podium spot also on his debut.
Qualifying and Races 1&2 will take place on Saturday, January 28, with Races 3&4 taking place on Sunday, January 29.
MRF Challenge 2016, Round 3, New Delhi, Race 1
MRF Challenge 2016, Round 3, New Delhi, Race 2