Greater Noida, 27 Jan 2017: Mick Schumacher struck back in Free Practice 2 to go fastest ahead of Harrison Newey at Round 3 of the MRF Challenge 2016 at the Buddh International Circuit here on Friday. He was faster than Newey and a returning Ralf Aron in Free Practice 2.
In FP1, Newey beat Schumacher and championship leader Joey Mawson. The MRF 1600 championship got underway as Ananth Shanmugam topped both the practice sessions ahead of Anindith Reddy.
In the opening session, Felipe Drugovich set a competitive 1 min 54.345 sec with 20 minutes remaining on the clock. Newey then began a string of fastest laps which saw him going fastest with a 1:53.012. With 5 minutes to go, he again went fastest to finish with a 1:52.340. Schumacher gradually went faster as the session went on and put in a time of 1:52.630 to slot into 2nd place ahead of Joey Mawson and Drugovich. Juri Vips and Pedro Cardoso rounded off the top 6.
Mawson was one of the front runners in FP2 with a 1:53.883. Newey too was impressive as he went faster at 1:52.993. Then Schumacher looked comfortable as he navigated India’s only F1 circuit for the first time and dipped into the 51s with a time of 1:51.732 and it stayed on top. Newey was 2nd fastest with a 1:52.111 and Aron was 3rd fastest ahead of Mawson and Drugovich.
As the MRF 1600 championship 2017 kicked off with Round 1, it was a straight fight between Shanmugam and Reddy. Reddy went fastest with a 2:07.427 only to be beaten by 0.069secs by Shanmugam in FP1. Arya Singh, Chetan Korada and Anshul Shah rounded off the top 5.
In FP2, Shanmugam again topped the session ahead of Reddy. The chasing pack was also closer this time as Nayan Chaterjee finished 3rd, ahead of Arya Singh and Anshul Shah.
Qualifying and Races 1 and 2 will take place on Saturday, January 28, while the last two races will be held on Sunday. Apart from Newey and Schumacher, this year the grid has German F4 Champion Joey Mawson, 2015 Italian F4 Champion and F3 race winner Ralf Aron, Japanese F3 Champion (National Class) Yoshiaki Katayama and Manuel Maldonado, cousin of former F1 race winner Pastor Maldonado.
Results: MRF Challenge 2016: Round 3, Free Practice 1: Harrison Newey 1:52.340; Mick Schumacher 1:52.630; Joey Mawson 1:52.917; Felipe Drugovich 1:53.012; Juri Vips 1:53.218.
FP 2: Mick Schumacher 1:51.732; Harrison Newey 1:52.111; Ralf Aron 1:52.615; Joey Mawson 1:52.621; Felipe Drugovich 1:52.635.
MRF 1600, Round 1, Dubai, Free Practice 1: Ananth Shanmugam 2:07.358; Anindith Reddy 2: 07.427; Arya Singh 2: 11.055; Chetan Korada 2: 11.078; Anshul Shah 2:11.983.
FP2: Ananth Shanmugam 2: 06.440; Anindith Reddy 2: 07.080; Arya Singh 2: 08.131; Chetan Korada 2: 08.146; Anshul Shah 2: 08.730.
MRF Challenge 2016 Calendar:
Round 1: November 17-19, 2016, Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuit (WEC Support Race)
Round 2: December 7-9, 2016, Dubai, Dubai Autodrome
Round 3: January 27-29, 2016, New Delhi, Buddh International Circuit
Round 4: February 17-19, 2016, Chennai, Madras Motor Race Track