newsGerman driver Mick Schumacher got his MRF Challenge 2016 off to the perfect start by winning two races and taking the championship lead after Round 1 in Bahrain. Schumacher finished ahead of Joey Mawson and Ralf Aron in Race 2. Aron struck back in Race 3 to win comfortably with Schumacher taking the win in Race 4. Schumacher leads the championship with 75 points ahead of Aron (72) and Mawson (61).

In Race 2 Schumacher started from the front row alongside Brazilian rookie Felipe Drugovich, who was on the reverse grid pole position. Schumacher had a great start and took the lead going into Turn 1, with Drugovich managing to hold off Race 1 winner Newey and Aussie driver Mawson. It was just a matter of time before both drivers passed Drugovich, while Aron recovered from a poor start to also quickly start catching the lead bunch of drivers. Schumacher pulled away while Newey had Mawson all over him and on Lap 3 the he passed him to move into 2nd place. Aron set some fast lap times to close in on Newey. Schumacher crossed the finish line comfortably in 1st place to take his maiden MRF Challenge win ahead of Mawson. Aron was on Newey’s tail and overtook him on the last lap to take the final podium spot, with the pair being separated by a mere 0.016s. Drugovich finished in 5th place ahead of Kimi Schramm and Dylan Young.

In Race 3 Pole-sitter Newey had a torrid start and got jumped by the chasing pack heading into the first corner. Mawson took the lead with Aron in 2nd and Schumacher 3rd. Schumacher pulled off a brilliant overtaking move into turn 9 to get past Aron but the latter struck back down the main straight to get back into 2nd place. Newey was forced to retire on lap 1 bringing out the Safety car for the first time this season. At the restart, Aron wasted no time in overtaking Mawson and then pulled away, winning by a margin of 6.566s. Schumacher came under late pressure from Drugovich, but the German managed to hold on to 3rd position by a mere 0.248s. Juri Vips took 5th place ahead of Pedro Cardoso and Schramm.

In Race 4 Schumacher got the jump on pole-sitter Cardoso to slot into second place behind Vips. It was turn 9 again that Schumacher pounced and got past Vips to take the lead and pull away. Behind, it was a battle between Joey Mawson and European F3 regular Ralf Aron for fourth and they were soon joined by Harrison Newey, who made up eight places to sixth in the opening few laps. Newey managed to go past Aron at Turn 1 on Lap 4 to move into the top five and later was gifted fourth after Mawson’s mistake. Schumacher crossed the line in 1st place ahead of first time podium winner Vips and Cardoso.

Mick Schumacher was happy to get his challenge off to to a great start. He said, “I am happy with the overall start to the championship. In the last race I felt it was important to get past Juri soon in order to get the win. The circuit was enjoyable to drive on and I now look forward to the next race in Dubai.”

Ralf Aron was pleased to get his first win under his belt. He commented, “I managed to get a good start and then after that the car felt great. I am really happy to take my first win in the series. In Race 4 my tyres were old while the others had new ones so it was not as easy. Anyway to go away with three podiums is a good start.”

MRF Challenge 2016, Round 1, Bahrain, Race 2:

Pos Driver Name Total Time
1 Mick Schumacher 20:18.365
2 Joey Mawson 20:20.243
3 Ralf Aron 20:25.917
4 Harrison Newey 20:25.933
5 Felipe Drugovich 20:31.973
6 Kimi Schramm 20:36.912
7 Dylan Young 20:48.811
8 Bruna Tomaselli 20:50.304
9 Manuel Maldonado 20:51.572
10 Pavan Ravishanker 20:52.861

MRF Challenge 2016, Round 1, Bahrain, Race 3:

Pos Driver Name Total Time
1 Ralf Aron 21:09.925
2 Joey Mawson 21:16.493
3 Mick Schumacher 21:20.470
4 Felipe Drugovich 21:20.718
5 Juri Vips 21:23.848
6 Pedro Cardoso 21:24.067
7 Kimi Schramm 21:25.016
8 Dylan Young 21:29.378
9 Yoshiaki Katayama 21:30.515
10 Bruna Tomaselli 21:32.410

MRF Challenge 2016, Round 1, Bahrain, Race 4:

Pos Driver Name Total Time
1 Mick Schumacher 20:20.843
2 Juri Vips 20:23.145
3 Pedro Cardoso 20:24.452
4 Harrison Newey 20:25.027
5 Ralf Aron 20:27.138
6 Joey Mawson 20:28.716
7 Kimi Schramm 20:29.246
8 Felipe Drugovich 20:30.369
9 Dylan Young 20:36.502
10 Yoshiaki Katayama 20:39.558