18-year-old Toby Sowery was crowned MRF Challenge 2014 Champion after finishing on the podium in Race 3 at the finale at the MMRT in Chennai. Sowery is the third Champion of the MRF Challenge and, at 18 years, the youngest as well. Ryan Cullen won his first race of the weekend ahead of Sowery and Oscar King in Race 3, while King took his first win of the series ahead of Matthew Solomon and Gustava Myasava. Arjun Narendran won his first MRF FF1600 race ahead of Goutham Parekh in another thrilling race with the top two finishing less than a second apart.
Sowery finished on top of the standings with 221 points, with Cullen in second place with 174 points. Raj Bharath finished in third place, making him the highest Indian finisher in the MRF Challenge.
In the first race of the day, Cullen took the lead into the first corner ahead of Sowery and Gustavo Myasava. For the first time this weekend all drivers got through the first few corners safely. Behind the top 3 was King leading the Indians Tarun Reddy and Raj Bharath. Cullen and Sowery pulled away from the rest of the field while Myasava had a battle on his hands holding off King and Raj after Reddy was forced to retire with a fuel pump problem. On lap 7 both King and Raj got past Myasava but the top 2 were too far ahead. Cullen made up for the disappointment of yesterday to take his first win this weekend ahead of Sowery and King. Raj finished in 4th place with Myasava and Matthew Solomon in 5th & 6th places respectively.
In the final race of the weekend, Matthew Solomon started on reverse grid pole alongside Myasava. Solomon held on to the lead with Myasava and King right behind him as they finished the first lap. The top six drivers were closely bunched up for the first half of the race with Myasava applying constant pressure on the leader. On lap 8, as Solomon tried to defend against Myasava, King pulled off the overtaking move of the weekend as he drove around the outside of the two drivers to go into the lead. King pulled away from the pack to take his first ever win in the series. Solomon managed to finish in second place, taking his first podium in the series as well. The battle for third was a fpur-way scuffle, with Myasava getting the final podium spot ahead of Cullen, Sowery and Raj.
MRF Challenge 2014 Champion Toby Sowery commented, "It is just an unbelievable feeling to win this title. It felt great to fight with such good drivers in what was a highly competitive field. A big thank you to MRF and the organisers for doing such a great job and giving me such a good car to fight with. Every race every round has been a challenge, so I'm happy to come away with the title. Driving in Chennai has been unbelievable and from the first session I have felt comfortable on this circuit and am happy to win the title here. I hope to use this experience to help me in my next season as well."
MRF Challenge 2014
Madras Motor Race Track
1. Ryan Cullen 00:24:08.570
2. Toby Sowery 00:24:09.343
3. Oscar King 00:24:14.190
1. Oscar King 00:24:15.066
2. Matthew Solomon 00:24:18.042
3. Gustavo Myasava 00:24:19.282