Dubai, November 16: Danial Frost from Singapore and Belgian Max Defourny scored a race and a podium apiece to open their accounts in the first round of MRF Challenge at the Dubai Autodrome, here on Friday. Three more races are scheduled for tomorrow.
Frost, 17, in his second season in the championship, thus notched his maiden win by topping Race-2 after having finished third in Race-1 that Defourny, 20, won from pole position.
In Race-1, Frost made five places to come in third and in the next outing, climbed from fourth on the reverse grid to win. In contrast, Defourny dominated Race-1 with a lights-to-flag victory and in the next race, sliced his way through from sixth on the reverse grid to finish third behind pole-sitter Czech Republic’s Petr Ptacek who did well to hold off the Belgian over the last couple of laps.
“I had a good start and made positions in the very first lap before taking the lead. Thereafter, I consolidated my track position and it was quite comfortable in the end,” said Frost.
Earlier, Defourny put his pole position start to best use in Race-1 and was never seriously challenged even as he nursed his early lead though eschewing risk. Behind him, Jamie Chadwick, 20, who started second, slipped a bit, losing a couple of track positions, but recovered to regain her second spot while Frost drove well to finish third from eighth on the grid.
India’s Chetan Korada, making his debut in the championship, was placed 10th and 12th in the two races. He started Race-1 from the pitlane following an engine change, but said he was pleased to improve his lap times while getting used to the car.
After Race-1, Defourny said: “The race wasn’t too bad. Missed the fastest lap as I was trying to be a bit cautious on the tyres because it was the first race of the season. Was saving my tyres in the beginning and was expecting more track improvement as the race progressed. I opened a comfortable gap and did not want to make any mistakes, though I missed the fastest lap in the last two laps, wanting to save the tyres.”
Earlier, the qualifying session in the morning gradually developed into a two-way battle between Defourny and Chadwick who was provisionally on pole with just a few minutes left on the clock with a 01:57.177. The 20-year old Belgian’s response was a 01:56.819 which eventually ensured him the pole position. Chadwick, also 20, then replied with her best lap of the session, 01:56.937, but had to be content with the second spot on the grid.
“It was my first time out here and it was ok. We managed to get pole for Race 1 and Race 3. So we are positive. We had some issues with the gearbox leading to loss of speed, but we managed to sort it out. I already have two points for pole position and we hope to take as many points as possible from this round,” said Defourny.
Race-1 (10 laps): 1. Max Defourny (Belgium); 2. Jamie Chadwick (GBR); 3. Danial Frost (Singapore). Race-2 (10 laps): 1. Frost; 2. Petr Ptacek (Czech Republic); 3. Defourny.
Qualifying (30 minutes): 1. Max Defourny (Belgium) (01:56.819); 2. Jamie Chadwick (UK) (01:56.937); 3. Andreas Estner (Germany) (01:57.502); 4. Dylan Young (Australia) (01:57.730).