Felipe Drugovich qualifies on pole for Race 1 of MRF Challenge Abu Dhabi round
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Felipe Drugovich qualifies on pole for Race 1 of MRF Challenge Abu Dhabi round

Felipe Drugovich beat Julien Falchero for pole while his nearest rival in terms of MRF Challenge 2017 championship standings, Presley Martono, was fourth fastest.

other sports Updated: Dec 14, 2017 21:49 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Abu Dhabi
MRF Challenge 2017,MRF Challenge,Felipe Drugovich
Felipe Drugovich was fastest in all three sessions of the MRF Challenge Abu Dhabi round at the Yas Marina circuit on Thursday -- topping the two free practice rounds as well as qualifying for Race 1.(HT Photo)

Felipe Drugovich continued his strong run at the MRF Challenge 2017, dominating both the practice rounds, and the qualifying session for the first of the four races to be held at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

With a comfortable cushion of 18 points under his belt, championship leader Drugovich beat Julien Falchero by 0.455 seconds in the first practice session on Thursday morning, before edging the French teenager again in the second session, albeit with the difference cut down to 0.258 seconds. He topped the qualifying session for Race 1 with a timing of 2:10:637, the only driver to keep it under the 2:11:000-mark.

Despite the domination, not all was in Drugovich’s favour at Yas Marina, who admitted after the end of the session that his car’s bodywork had started to come off, making the slow corners a challenge.

“It was really hard out there as we were struggling with grip and some parts of the car. Julien (Falchero) was quick and it was fun to see us trading fastest laps. Starting on pole is always important so look forward to the race and hope to do my best,” he said.

Drugovich’s nearest rival in terms of standings, Presley Martono, had a modest outing and was fourth fastest. While the Indonesian clocked 2:11:518 in the morning session, his best showing in the second practice session fell to 2:11:758. In the qualifying session, things didn’t change much for Martono, although he did put up his best show and clocked 2:11:330 to start from the second row on the grid.

Both Drugovich and Martono clocked their best timings in the 11th lap of the qualifying session with the former setting pace in the 10th lap as well with a timing of 2:10:661.

Alex Karsosik from Poland finished third in the qualifying session, which had to be halted for a brief while after Dutch teenager Rinus van Kalmthout, third in the championship behind Drugovich and Martono, crashed out with 12 minutes to go in the session. He will start the race on Friday in 12th position.

Qualifying timings: Felipe Drugovich 2:10.637; Julien Falchero 2:11.128; Alex Karsosik 2:11.182; Presley Martono 2:11.330; Louis Gachot 2:11.645; Nazim Azman 2:11.849; Manuel Maldonado 2:12.009; Danial Frost 2:12.093; Henning Enqvist 2:12.507; Michelangelo Ameldola 2:12.281; Rinus Van Kamthout 2:12.507; Harri Jones 2:12.549; Pavan Ravishanker 2:12.877; Pedra Putra Minang 2:12.904; Robert Megennis 2:12.943; Kurt Hill 2:13.550; Richard Wagner 2:14.085.

First Published: Dec 14, 2017 21:49 IST