Reddy, Sowery, Myasava, Mr18 year old Toby Sowery stormed his rivals in the MRF Challenge 2014 finale as he took two out of two wins in the final round at the MMRT in Chennai. Sowery finished ahead of young Indian Tarun Reddy & Brazilian Gustavo Myasava in Race 1 before triumphing again in Race 2 ahead of Myasava and Oscar King. Goutham Parekh won a thrilling opening race in the MRF FF1600 with the top 4 drivers being covered by less than 2 seconds as they crossed the finish line.

In Race 1 of the MRF Challenge 2014, there was chaos at the start as Oscar King, starting 3rd, hit Ryan Cullen who in turn hit pole sitter Sebastian Balthasar. Balthasar was out immediately as Cullen and King limped back to the pits and managed to get going again, albeit 2 laps down. There was more action at the back with Laura Tillett, Dylan Young and Freddie Hunt all crashing as well as they looked to avoid the stricken cars at the front. After 4 laps behind the safety car, championship leader Toby Sowery led away ahead of Tarun Reddy and Gustavo Myasava.

Sowery pulled away and had a 3 second lead with 5 laps to go. However a heavy drizzle at the back end of the circuit caught some drivers off guard and Reddy and Myasava were suddenly all over the leader. Sowery held on to win the race and extend his lead ahead of Reddy and Myasava, who finished less than a second behind the leader. Jordan Albert finished in 4th place on debut ahead of Raj Bharath and Vinicius Paparelli, who will start on the front row for the reverse grid Race 2. Indian driver Lee Keshav and Mahaveer Raghunathan finished in 7th & 8th positions respectively.

In Race 2 of the MRF Challenge 2014, Vinicius Paparelli started on reverse grid pole along with Raj Bharath. Raj took advantage of a slow start from Paparelli to take the lead into the first corner. Paparelli retired on Lap 2 to put Sowery in 2nd place with Myasava right behind him in 3rd. Raj, who was pulling away from the rest of the pack, went off on C1 on lap 3 thereby giving Sowery the lead. King passed Reddy on lap 5 to move into 3rd position with the top 2 drivers too far ahead. Freddie Hunt and Laura Tillett had a scary crash that sent Tillett into a roll but luckily both drivers walked away unhurt. Sowery crossed the chequered flag to win the race with Myasava & King. Reddy finished in 4th place ahead of a charging Cullen with Raj in 6th place. Lee Keshav was once again in the points with a 9th place finish.

Toby Sowery in actionToby Sowery commented, “It feels just fantastic to win here in Chennai and I just can’t get enough of this brilliant circuit. Both races were really tough but am happy that I was able to move ahead and stay there. The first race was close with rain at the back of the circuit which made me a little cautious. Reddy and Myasava caught me but managed to hold them off. Race 2 was easier after Raj went off and then it was just a matter of keeping Gustavo behind me. Tomorrow will be an important day for me so looking forward to it.”

In the MRF FF1600, Goutham Parekh, who started on pole managed to hold on to the lead ahead of Advait Deodhar and Karthik Tharani Singh, with Arjun Narendran in 4th position. Karthik Tharani made a bold move to pass Advait and go after Goutham. It was a 4-way battle with almost nothing to choose from with Goutham leading Karthik, Advait and Arjun. It finished in the same order with Karthik unable to find a way past and finishing 0.652secs behind the leader. At the end of the race the top 4 were separated by 1.864secs. Tomorrow’s Race 2 promises to be a thriller with the top 4 starting in reverse order.

Goutham Parekh was delighted to take his first win in the category after a hard fought race. He commented, “It was one of the hardest races I have been in and a great way to start to the championship. Karthik put a lot of pressure on me in the last few laps so am happy to have held him off. There was almost nothing to choose between the 4 of us so hope we can battle like this the whole year.”