ADU7323-2Pietro Fittipladi, grandson of 2 time F1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, was crowned 2015 MRF Challenge Champion after a commanding win in Race 3 at the MMRT in Chennai. Fittipaldi won from pole position ahead of Harrison Newey and Nikita Troitckii. Fittipaldi finished on 244 points while Colombian Tatiana Calderon finished second with 199 points, just eight ahead of Russian driver Nikita Troitckii (191). Alessio Picariello made up for yesterday’s disappointment with a comfortable win in the second race of the day followed by the impressive Mick Schumacher and Tatiana Calderon.

In Race 3, Fittipaldi starting on pole position had the perfect start and lead into the first corner ahead of Newey with Troitckii in 3rd place. Nerses Isaakyan and Enzo Bortoleto collided in C2, bringing out the safety car for the first time this weekend. When racing resumed Fittipaldi and Newey pulled away from the rest of the pack as Troitckii had a battle on his hands with a fast charging Calderon. Behind them Schumacher who lost two positions at the start was battling with Picariello. Fittipaldi drove the perfect race to win and behind him Newey finished in 2nd place for the third consecutive race. Troitckii managed to hold Calderon to take 3rd position. Schumacher did a stellar job holding off Picariello for the entire race to finish in 5th position. Karthik Tharani ran eighth for most of the race keeping Max Fewtrell behind but the Indian went off, ending what looked like a promising run from the MRF 1600 champion. Debutant Aleksanteri Huovinen was 8th, Dylan Young 9th and Arjun Narendran taking a good 10th on the last lap from Laura Tillett.

In Race 4, Picariello starting on reverse grid pole, held off Schumacher at the start to take the lead into the first corner. Behind them Calderon managed to get ahead of Troitckii, with both drivers in a tight battle for 2nd place in the championship. Newly crowned champion Fittipaldi was upto 5th on lap 2 joining the train of cars ahead of him. Picariello pulled away at a dramatic pace while Schumacher, Calderon, Troitckii and Fittipaldi were stuck together all fighting for 2nd place. On lap 14, Troitckii ran wide and onto the grass handing Fittipladi 4th place. Fittipaldi piled the pressure on Calderon but could not find a way past. Picariello won to take his 5th win of the season ahead Schumacher and Calderon. Fittipladi finished in 4th place ahead of Troitckii and Fewtrell. Young finished in 8th place with Tarun Reddy in 9th.

Pietro Fittipaldi was happy to start the year with a championship win. He commented, “This is a great way to start the year. I am thrilled to win the title after a hard fought season. I would like to thank my team and sponsors for helping me and supporting me through this season. I really enjoyed driving at the MMRT and felt very welcomed here by the Indian people. I would like to thank J Anand and MRF for a great season.”

Tatiana Calderon finished second in the championship after a race long battle with first Troitckii and then Fittipaldi. She said, “I never expected to be fighting for the championship when we first started in Abu Dhabi. I have enjoyed every minute of this championship and this has helped make me sharper over race distances.

Mick Schumacher continued to impress with a stunning 2nd place against much more experienced drivers. He commented, “I am pleased and really happy to be in this environment, to drive against some good drivers who have a lot of International experience, so I am really happy to be second. It feels great to drive with the people who have experience, and to see I can complete with them is good. I hope to be back in India next year to race again.”

17 year old Indian Tarun Reddy’s wretched weekend continued as a throttle problem in the day’s first race pushed him to the back of the field and then finished ninth in the next outing. On Saturday, he was sixth in the first race and then was taken out in the next when in the lead.

Karthik Tharani Singh was unstoppable in the MRF championship winning both races. In the first race he won ahead of Goutham Parekh and Anindith Reddy. In race 2 he closely beat Raghul Rangaswamy and Anindith Reddy.

MRF Challenge 2015 Race 1:

1. Pietro Fittipaldi
2. Harrison Newey
3. Nikita Troitckii
4. Tatiana Calderon
5. Mick Schumacher
6. Alessio Picariello
7. Max Fewtrel
8. Aleksanteri Huovinen
9. Dylan Young
10. Arjun Narendran

MRF Challenge 2015 Race 4:

1. Alessio Picariello
2. Mick Schumacher
3. Tatiana Calderon
4. Pietro Fittipaldi
5. Nikita Troitckii
6. Max Fewtrell
7. Dylan Young
8. Harrison Newey
9. Tarun Reddy
10. Enzo Bortoleto

MRF Challenge 2015 Championship Standings:

1. Pietro Fittipaldi – 244 points
2. Tatiana Calderon – 199 points
3. Nikita Troitckii – 191 points

MRF Challenge

In its fourth year, the MRF Challenge 2015 will feature 16 MRF Formula 2000 race cars, which have been made in India by JA Motorsport, based in Coimbatore. The Formula 3 style car has been built by JA Motorsport in technical collaboration with Dallara, world’s largest racing car manufacturer,and is considered to be the fastest of its kind in Asia. The MRF Formula 2000 is powered by a 2.0 litre 210 BHP Renault Sport Engine and will have a Hewland 6-Speed sequential gearbox. The race car has also been crash tested to FIA F3 safety standards and will race with MRF ZLO slick and wet tyres.

The MRF Challenge has fielded a strong driver line-up in the last three seasons, with drivers going on to win races in GP2 and British Formula 3. The MRF Challenge Alumni include GP2 drivers like Jordan King, Nobuharu Matsushita, Arthur Pic, Tio Ellinas, Jon Lancaster, Conor Daly, GP3 drivers like Ryan Cullen and Carmen Jorda and British Drivers Harry Tincknell (WEC) and Rupert Svendsen-Cook.

MRF Challenge 2015 Calendar:

Round 1: October 29-31, 2015, Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuit
Round 2: November 18-20, 2015, Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuit (World Endurance Championship Support Race)
Round 3: December 17-19, 2015, Dubai, Dubai Autodrome
Round 4: January 29-31, 2016, Chennai, Madras Motor Race Track