Abu Dhabi, 14 Dec 2017: Championship leader Felipe Drugovich dominated day 1 of the MRF Challenge 2017 at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi after topping both practice sessions and qualifying on pole position. His closes competitor was French driver Julien Falchero, who finished 2nd in all sessions. Alex Karkosik will start in 3rd place, ahead of Presley Martono and Louis Gachot.
The opening practice session of the weekend started with all cars going out in unison on the mighty Yas Marina circuit. With none of the drivers having even sampled the circuit, the session was spent gathering useful data. Drugovich wasted no time and immediately went fast with a 2:13.683. Van Kalmthout and Falchero then took turns exchanging times at the top. Drugovich set a time of 2:10.173 to go one second faster than the rest of the pack to end the session. Falchero came closest, albeit half a second off the top spot. Van Kalmthout was 3rd ahead of Martono and Sweden’s Henning Enqvist.
Free practice 2 saw the drivers concentrating on their race runs with the result being no different. Drugovich was still fastest, ahead of Falchero and van Kalmthout, with all drivers a second slower than the pace they set in the morning. Martono was once again in 4th place, ahead of Danial Frost and Alex Karkosik.
In qualifying, Karkosik set a 2:11.974 to move to the top of the standings only for Drugovich to beat him with a 2:11.509. The session was red-flagged with 12 minutes to go as championship contender van Kalmthout crashed. He will start from 12th place, dealing his championship hopes a big blow.
When the session resumed it was a straight fight between Drugovich and Falchero, who traded fastest laps till the last lap. Finally it was Drugovich who put in a 2:10.637 to claim pole position. Falchero will start beside him with Karkosik and Martono on row 2. Louis Gachot will start in 5th place after another impressive qualifying session.
Championship leader Felipe Drugovich, commented, “It was really hard out there as we were struggling with grip and some parts of the car. Julien (Falchero) was quick and it was fun to see us trading fastest laps. Starting on pole is always important so look forward to the race and hope to do my best.”
Julien Falchero, who was the only one close enough to challenge Falchero, commented, “Congrats to Felipe as he was too quick. I tried to stay close to him in qualifying but was having too much understeer. I am happy with 2nd and think we can challenge for the win tomorrow.”
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For more information please visit: www.mrfracing.in
MRF Challenge 2017, Round 3, Abu Dhabi, Free Practice 1:
|3.||Rinus VAN KALMTHOUT||2:10.929|
MRF Challenge 2017, Round 3, Abu Dhabi, Free Practice 2:
|3.||Rinus VAN KALMTHOUT||2:11.520|
MRF Challenge 2017, Round 3, Abu Dhabi, Qualifying: