MRF Challenge: Defourny wins two races to lead standings after Round 1 in Dubai
The 2018/19 MRF Challenge series kicked started at Dubai Autodrome as Belgian's Max Defourny left Round 1 as the points leader with two wins in the weekend.
The Belgian started the weekend on a fine note with a pole from Jamie Chadwick with Andreas Estner and series veteran Dylan Young forming row tow. It was a dominant performance from Defourny to win Race 1 at ease in the 10 laps.
Chadwick was second with Daniel Frost making the most to complete the podium after having started eighth. Young was fourth from Michelangelo Amendola, Petr Ptacek, Sebastian Estner, Valdemar Eriksen, Joshua Mason, Chetan Korada and Andreas Estner.
The Race 2 had Frost on the top step after a superb start from fourth. The Singaporean had it under control then with reverse-grid pole-sitter Ptacek taking second from Defourny, who climbed to third from sixth on the grid.
Chadwick followed Defourny to fourth with Amendola in fifth from Young, Andreas, Patrick Pasma - who retired in Race 1 - Estner, Mason, Eriksen and Korada as the 12 runners to end the first day of racing.
The second day saw Defourny having a troubled start in Race 3 to drop to fourth from pole as fourth placed Andreas shot into the lead where he finished to score the win as Chadwick finished second from Defourny - returning on the podium.
Ptacek was fourth from Amendola with Pasma in sixth, followed by Sebastian, Young, Eriksen, Mason, Frost and Korada. The sixth place gave Pasma a reverse-grid pole for Race 4 which he fully used to his advantage to win despite late charge from Defourny.
The Belgian had to fight through Andreas and Amendola to get to Pasma who had built a solid lead by then. Amendola cleared Andreas to fourth with the latter losing more ground to be sixth after Frost and Chadwick passed him as well.
Young finished seventh from Sebastian, followed by Mason, Ptacek, Eriksen and Korada. The weekend ended with a win for pole-sitter Defourny in Race 5 as the Belgian left Round 1 as the leader of the championship.
Defourny had a comfortable time with Chadwick nearly 10 second behind while Frost completed the podium - the three remained the most consistent runners in the first round. Pasma was fourth in the close fight with Andreas.
Ptacek finished sixth as he fended off Sebastian until the final lap with Eriksen a distant eighth, followed by Amendola, Young, Mason and Korada. "I think, I could have done better and won a couple of more races," said Defourny.
"I made a few mistakes, but more important was that I picked up points at the start of the championship. My win in Race 5 was far more satisfying than that in Race 1. I won more comfortably and on tyres that I had used in the previous four races."
[Note: This story was also written by me on Formula Rapida]