Amendola clinches MRF Challenge crown

Chennai: Belgium’s Michelangelo Amendola despite not winning any of the three raced he competed today, picked up sufficient points from two third-place finishes and a sixth, to emerge the new champion in the FIA-approved MRF Challenge which concluded at the MMRT, here today.

A third-place finish in Race-5 ensured the 18-year Amendola the title in his third attempt as he opened up an unassailable 34-point lead over his nearest rival Young, going into the last race of the day. Amendola finished with 247 points, including five wins over three rounds, to Young’s 223 (3 wins) while Britain’s Joshua Mason (176) was placed third in the championship.
Meanwhile, Race Concepts drivers, Arjun Balu from Coimbatore and Bengaluru’s Rithvik Thomas notched a double each in the Indian Touring Cars and the Super Stock categories, respectively, of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Car Racing Championship (Round-1).

Rejoicing his championship success, Amendola, who had scored a double yesterday, said: “I am absolutely delighted that I finally won the MRF Challenge championship in my third season. Last season, I finished fourth in the championship and in 2017, I was sixth. So, I was determined to win the title this time.”

Meanwhile, Arjun Balu destroyed the combined 29-car saloon cars field for a grand double. The grid was a mix of ITC, Super Stock and the Volkswagen Ameo (support race) that took its final bow after three seasons to be replaced by the turbo-charged Polo in the next round this summer.

Balu, like in Race-1 yesterday, was simply unstoppable though he started eighth on the combined reverse grid. Within two laps, he sliced his way past six cars and then pole-sitter D Vidyaprakash of Prime Racing, who was disqualified for ‘technical infringement’, to take the lead.

“At the start, I was keen to get to the front and not get stuck in mid-grid. Once into the lead, I was able to extend the lead before I decided to ease off big time as there was no need to push any more. It was a fairly comfortable race for me, but again, thanks to Race Concepts for preparing such a great racing car,” said Balu.

The results:

MRF Challenge (all 15 laps unless mentioned)

Race-4: 1. Yuven Sundaramoorthy (USA) (22mins, 53.075secs); 2. Manaf Hijjawi (Jordan) (22:54.066); 3. Dylan Young (Australia) (23:03.255). Fastest Lap: Sundaramoorthy (01:30.323).
Race-5: 1. Louis Foster (UK) (25:38.368); 2. Sundaramoorthy (25:41.064); 3. Michelangelo Amendola (Belgium) (25:45.004). Fastest Lap: Foster (01:31.053).
Race-6 (14 laps): 1. Young (21:33.558); 2. Valdemar Eriksen (Denmark) (21:34.874); 3. Amendola (21:36.464). Fastest Lap: Sundaramoorthy (01:31.080).

Final Championship standings (top 3): 1. Amendola (247 points); 2. Young (223); 3. Joshua Mason (GBR, 176).

National Championship (12 laps) Indian Touring Cars (Race-2): 1. Arjun Balu (Race Concepts) (23:12.264); 2. Keith D’Souza (FB Motorsports) (23:28.371); 3. Sunil Ranjith (Race Concepts)
(+1 lap).

Super Stock (Race-2): 1. Rithvik Thomas (Race Concepts) (24:13.207); 2. Raghul Rangasamy (Performance Racing) (24:20.261); 3. Alisha Abdullah (Race Concepts) (24:51.419).

Support races MRF F1600 (Race-2, 10 laps): 1. Vishnu Prasad (Chennai) (20:17.408); 2. Raghul Rangasamy (Mamallapuram) (20:18.087); 3. Karthik Tharani (Chennai) (20:19.272).
Race-3: 1. Sohil Shah (Bengaluru) (16:35.718); 2. Raghul Rangasamy (16:42.174); 3. Vishnu Prasad (16:42.437).

Volkswagen Ameo Super Race (Race-2, 12 laps): 1. Anmol Singh Sahil (Ghaziabad) (23:19.588); 2. Anindith Reddy (Hyderabad) (23:22.637); 3. Dhruv Mohite (Kolhapur) (23:23.267).

NT Bureau