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. He was faster than Newey and a returning Ralf Aron in Free Practice 2. In the opening practice session of the weekend Newey had beaten Schumacher and championship leader Joey Mawson. The MRF 1600 championship got underway as Ananth Shanmugam topped both practice sessions ahead of Anindith Reddy.

In the opening practice session of the weekend it was Felipe Drugovich who was the first to set a competitive time with 20 minutes remaining on the clock. He set a 1:54.345 to go top of the leader board. 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.

Free practice 2 saw the top drivers wasting no time in getting up to speed and Mawson was one of the front runners to go fastest with a 1:53.883. Newey continued to show impressive pace and immediately went faster with a 1:52.993. Schumacher looked to be comfortable as he navigated India’s only F1 circuit for the first time and dipped into the 51s with a 1:51.732. While drivers went faster no one was able to beat his time. Newey went 2nd fastest with a 1:52.111 but could never get close enough. Aron went 3rd on his last flying lap ahead of Mawson and Drugovich.

The MRF 1600 took to track for the first time this year as Round 1 of the championship kicked off. It was a straight fight between Shanmugam and Reddy as they traded fastest laps. With few minutes left on the clock Reddy went fastest with a 2:07.427 only to be beaten by 0.069secs by Shanmugam who ended up on top in the opening session. Arya Singh, Chetan Korada and Anshul Shah rounded off the top 5.

In the second session it was Shanmugam again who topped the session and this time by over half a second ahead of Reddy. The chasing pack was also closer this time as Nayan Chaterjee got more comfortable with the car to finish in 3rd place, ahead of Arya Singh and Anshul Shah.

Qualifying and Races 1&2 will take place on Saturday, January 28, with Races 3&4 taking place on Sunday, January 29.

MRF Challenge 2016, Round 3, New Delhi, Free Practice 1: 

Pos Driver Name Total Time
1 Harrison Newey 1:52.340
2 Mick Schumacher 1:52.630
3 Joey Mawson 1:52.917
4 Felipe Drugovich 1:53.012
5 Juri Vips 1:53.218

MRF Challenge 2016, Round 3, New Delhi, Free Practice 2:

Pos Driver Name Total Time
1 Mick Schumacher 1:51.732
2 Harrison Newey 1:52.111
3 Ralf Aron 1:52.615
4 Joey Mawson 1:52.621
5 Felipe Drugovich 1:52.635

MRF 1600, Round 1, Dubai, Free Practice 1:

Pos Driver Name Total Time
1 Ananth Shanmugam 2:07.358
2 Anindith Reddy 2:07.427
3 Arya Singh 2:11.055
4 Chetan Korada 2:11.078
5 Anshul Shah 2:11.983

MRF 1600, Round 1, Dubai, Free Practice 2:

Pos Driver Name Total Time
1 Ananth Shanmugam 2:06.440
2 Anindith Reddy 2:07.080
3 Arya Singh 2:08.131
4 Chetan Korada 2:08.146
5 Anshul Shah 2:08.730

About MRF Challenge

In its fifth year, the MRF Challenge will feature MRF Formula 2000 race cars, which have been made in India by JA Motorsport, who are based in Coimbatore. The Formula 3 style car has been built by JA Motorsport in technical collaboration with Dallara, and is considered to be the fastest of its kind in Asia. The new car is powered by a 2 litre Mountune Duratec engine with max power of 230 bhp and shod on MRF Z.L.O. tyres. The car will also feature advanced aerodynamics with underbody diffuser and a Hewland 6-speed sequential gearbox.

This year the grid has yet another promising line-up headed by the returning Newey and Schumacher. Joining them is 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.

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