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Series Report: MRF Challenge 2016


Dubai, UAE, 8 December 2016: Harrison Newey, son of legendary F1 designer Adrian Newey, comfortably topped both practice sessions for Round 2 of the MRF Challenge 2016 at the Dubai Autodrome. He was faster than Felipe Drugovich and Juri Vips in FP1. In FP2, he was ahead of Drugovich and Joey Mawson. Newey set a blistering pace going half a second faster than his nearest rival in both sessions. His lap time is 3 seconds faster than the times in practice last year showing a vastly improved MRF F2000.

In the opening practice session of the weekend it was newcomer Mawson who was the first to set a competitive time with 20 minutes remaining on the clock. He set a 2:01.345 to go top of the leader board. Newey then began a string of fastest laps which saw going fastest with a 1:59.772. With 5 minutes to go, he again went fastest to finish with a 1:58.231. Brazilian Drugovich was half a second slower with a 1:58.771. He was followed by Juri Vips, Mawson and Kimi Schramm. Championship leader Mick Schumacher had a quiet session and finished down in 6th position.

Free practice 2 saw Mawson wasting no time in getting up to speed and was again one of the front runners to go fastest with a 1:59.883. Newey continued to show impressive pace and immediately went faster with a 1:58.976. Newey once again proved to be too fast as he was the only driver to dip into the 1min 57sec lap when he set a 1:57.942 to go fastest. Drivers behind him continued to improve but the closest anyone could get was Drugovich again with a 1:58.642, albeit a full six tenths off the pace. Mawson finished in 3rd place ahead of Schumacher and Van Kalmthout. Indian driver Parth Ghorpade finished at the back of the grid as he spent time familiarizing himself with the car, after being out of a racing car for more than a year.

Harrison Newey commented afterward, “It was a real pleasure to drive out there. The car felt really good and quick. This circuit [Dubai Autodrome Grand Prix] is quite challenging for the drivers so it is important to concentrate the whole time. We have to ensure that we carry this momentum tomorrow as starting in front will be critical. I will now work with the engineers to make sure we have the best possible setup for tomorrow.”

Qualifying and Races 1&2 will take place on Friday, December 9, with Races 3&4 taking place on Saturday, December 10.

MRF Challenge 2016, Round 2, Dubai, Free Practice 1:

Pos Driver Name Total Time
1 Harrison Newey 1:58.231
2 Felipe Drugovich 1:58.771
3 Juri Vips 1:58.795
4 Joey Mawson 1:58.838
5 Kimi Schramm 1:59.269


MRF Challenge 2016, Round 2, Dubai, Free Practice 2:

Pos Driver Name Total Time
1 Harrison Newey 1:57.942
2 Felipe Drugovich 1:58.673
3 Joey Mawson 1:58.738
4 Mick Schumacher 1:58.969
5 Van Kalmthout 1:59.074


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


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