MRF Challenge 2017: Presley Martono, Felipe Drugovich dominate on day 2 in Dubai

Presley Martono of Indonesia and Felipe Drugovich dominated day 2 of the MRF Challenge championship in Dubai, with Drugovich extending his advantage in the championship over Netherland’s Rinus van Kalmthout.

other sports Updated: Dec 10, 2017 12:23 IST
Siddharth VIshwanathan
Siddharth VIshwanathan
Hindustan Times, Dubai
MRF Challenge 2017,MRF Challenge,Presley Martono
Presley Martono and Felipe Drugovich celebrate at the MRF Challenge 2017 in Dubai.(HT Photo)

Felipe Drugovich of Brazil registered his fourth win while Presley Martono finally converted a good start into a victory as both drivers dominated the Saturday races of the MRF Challenge 2017 Championships at the Dubai Autodrome circuit.

It was an incident-packed 10 laps in race 2 with Martono starting from second position behind Holland’s Rinus van Kalmthout. The Indonesian got a good start and managed to overtake van Kalmthout on the opening lap. However, the safety car intervened after an accident on turn 1 involving Danial Frost.

After being behind the safety car for three laps, Drugovitch, who was in third position, built the pressure. The Brazilian managed to overtake van Kalmthout with just a couple of laps remaining. Despite some pressure from Drugovich towards the end, Martono held his nerve to register his first win.

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Speaking to Hindustan Times, Martono said the safety car period almost proved to be disastrous. “The driver in the safety car was driving very slowly. It was hard getting the heat on to the tyres. I was signaling to the race stewards that he must go faster. It was not good for the engine as it was overheating. Fortunately, I had a good restart,” Martono said.

The Indonesian admitted the team struggled with pace on race day despite good qualifying. “I have had a problem with my starts but I enjoyed racing today. My performances showed that I can compete with the top guys,” Martono said.

‘Senna my idol’

For Drugovich, it was ‘Super Saturday’ for he managed a second place finish in addition to victory in the first race to extend his lead in the Championship.

In the first race, he overtook Martono on the second lap and built a decent lead. van Kalmthout, who had won the second race on Friday, was in third and looking good for a podium finish. However, disaster struck on the third lap as his car suffered from gear-changing issues and he slipped down to 17th.

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The Brazilian teenager’s dominant display in the MRF Challenge has continued the country’s rich contribution to motorsports. His aim now is to win consistently and hopefully race in Formula One in the near future.

“Aryton Senna is my idol. I also admire Felipe Massa, who is my good friend. Shame for him that he cannot drive in F1 anymore,” Drugovitch said .

The next race of the MRF Challenge 2017 Championship begins in Abu Dhabi on December 14 and December 15.

First Published: Dec 10, 2017 12:23 IST