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Presley Martono, Rinus van Kalmthout dominate free practice in MRF Challenge Dubai round

Indonesia’s Presley Martono and Dutchman Rinus van Kalmthout dominated Thursday’s free practice session in the MRF Challenge 2017 round at the Dubai Autodrome and both drivers have heaped praise on the nature of the track

other sports Updated: Dec 07, 2017 18:56 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, Dubai
MRF Challenge 2017,MRF Racing,MRF Challenge
Indonesia’s Presley Martono in action during the free practice session of the MRF Challege 2017 second round at the Dubai Autodrome on Thursday.(HT Photo)

Indonesia’s Presley Martono and Dutchman Rinus van Kalmthout were the stars during the free practice session of the MRF Challenge 2017 round at the Dubai Autodrome on Thursday.

Van Kalmthout dominated the first session in the afternoon with a time of 1:57:046 while Martono ended second with 1:57:101. The tables were turned in the second and final session with the Indonesian clocking 1:56:996.

Martono, the winner of the Rotax Max Challenge Asia Karting Championship in 2011, said the Dubai Autodrome makes him feel comfortable. “I am enjoying the Dubai Autodrome. It has more banking. In my local kart track, there are plenty of high banking corners which makes me comfortable,” he said.

“As long as I am the fastest in qualifying, I will be happy,” added the Indonesian,currently second in the 2017 MRF Challenge after finishing second in two of the four races in Bahrain (opening round).

Brazil’s Felipe Drugovich, who finished third in the first session and seventh in the second session, leads the MRF Challenge championship standings with 80 points, 17 clear of Martono.

‘Need luck

The hot and cold start to the MRF Challenge continued for van Kalmthout during free practice in Dubai. After leading the first race in Bahrain, he retired, while he finished fifth in the second. In the third race, he secured the top spot in qualifying and went on to win the race but in the fourth, Van Kalmthout was passed on the last lap by France’s Julien Falchero and ended second.

“I definitely need a little more luck. There can be some improvements. I can be a little more smoother. This track is a bit more bumpy than Bahrain,” said Van Kalmthout, who is currently fourth in the championship.

The qualifying session will be held on Friday, followed by the first two races.

Timing (Free practice):

FP1: Free Practice 1: 1. Rinus van Kalmthout 1:57.046; 2. Presley Martono 1:57.101; 3. Felipe Drugovich 1:57.290; 4. Julien Falchero 1:57.406; 5. Alex Karkosik 1:57.481

FP 2: 1. Presley Martono: 1.56.996; 2. Rinus van Kalmthout 1.57.202; 3. Alex Karkosik 1.57.245; 4. Julien Falchero 1.57.257; 5. Danial Frost 1.57.464

First Published: Dec 07, 2017 18:49 IST