December 15, 2017: Brazilian driver Felipe Drugovich continued his unbelievable run at the MRF Challenge in Abu Dhabi by winning the first three races of the weekend. GP3 French driver Julien Falchero finished 2nd in two races and 3rd in the other but was no match for the flying Brazilian. Drugovich has a 71 point lead with 5 races still to go.

Race 1

Starting on pole position, Drugovich got the perfect start with Falchero losing out to Presley Martono. Rinus van Kalmthout’s weekend went from bad to worse when he collided with Robert Wagner putting both drivers out on the spot. This brought out the safety car. When the safety car went in on lap 4, Drugovich easily pulled away while Martono had his hands full with Falchero.

Behind them Louis Gachot and Alex Karkosik fought for 4th place. The safety car came out again when Michael Amendalo stopped in turn 9. With just two laps remaining, Drugovich coasted to an easy win with Martono holding off Falchero for 2nd. Gachot finished in 4th ahead of Karkosik and Danial Frost.

Race 2

In the reverse grid based Race 2, Frost made the perfect getaway with Gachot slotting into 2nd, ahead of Falchero and fast starting Drugovich. On lap 2 Gachot tried to pass Frost but ended up hitting him and putting him out at the spot. Falchero tried to take advantage and pass Gachot only for Drugovich to get past both drivers and storm into the lead. The safety car came out as Frost’s car was taken out of harm’s way.

Martono got past a recovering Gachot for 4th place, who was later given a 20 second penalty for his collision with Frost.. At the front there was no stopping Drugovich who took his second win of the weekend. Falchero finished in 2nd place ahead of Karkosik and Martono. Nazim Azman got his best finish of the season in 5th while van Kalmthout came from 17th place to finish 6th.

Race 3

For the third race in succession, Drugovich made the perfect start and led into turn 1 while Falchero lost out to Karkosik and Martono. On lap 3 Martono tried to pass Karkosik but both drivers collided, allowing Falchero to get past in to 2nd place. Karkosik was forced to retire and Martono, who suffered front wing damage, also retired later in the race. Van Kalmthout, who started in 16th place, was amazingly upto 3rd after 4 laps.

Drugovich pulled away to another win while Falchero came in 2nd, just ahead of a charging van Kalmthout. Amendalo came in 4th place ahead of Manuel Maldonado and Azman.

Championship leader Felipe Drugovich, commented, “The car just suits this circuit and I love driving here. The second race was more challenging than the other as I took advantage of the chaos in front of me and got to the front. After that it was all about maintaining the pace and ensuring we finished in front. A big thank you to my engineer and mechanics for making this happen.”

Julien Falchero was happy to finish on the podium in all the races. He commented, “Congratulations to Felipe (Drugovich) as he was the quickest this weekend. Our races were not as straight forward but we managed to get the maximum. There is one more race to go this weekend so hope I can get to the top step to finish off what has been a good weekend for me.”

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MRF Challenge 2017, Round 3, Abu Dhabi, Race 1:

S.No. Driver Name Total Time
1. Felipe DRUGOVICH 25:50.742
2. Presley MARTONO 25:53.085
3. Julien FALCHERO 25:53.605
4. Louis GACHOT 25:54.448
5. Alex KARKOSIK 25:54.885

MRF Challenge 2017, Round 3, Abu Dhabi, Race 2:

S.No. Driver Name Total Time
1. Felipe DRUGOVICH 25:52.221
2. Julien FALCHERO 25:54.098
3. Alex KARKOSIK 25:56.089
4. Presley MARTONO 25:57.277
5. Nazim AZMAN 26:00.283

MRF Challenge 2017, Round 3, Abu Dhabi, Race 3:

S.No. Driver Name Total Time
1. Felipe DRUGOVICH 21:58.696
2. Julien FALCHERO 22:12.174
3. Rinus van KALMTHOUT 22:13.195
4. Michael AMENDALO 22:26.080
5. Manuel MALDONADO 22:31.418