Bent Viscaal sets the pace in FP1 (Dec 12)
  • Bent Viscaal, David Schumacher set early pace

Sakhir (Bahrain), December 12: Debutants Bent Viscaal and David Schumacher set the early pace in Free Practice session as the second round of the MRF Challenge, organized by the Madras Motor Sports Club and a support-event for FIA World Endurance Championship, got underway at the Bahrain International Circuit, here today.

Viscaal, the 20-year old from the Netherlands, fresh from his debut season in the Formula 3 championship, was the quickest in the first Free Practice session, clocking a best of two minutes, 01.191 seconds while Germany’s 18-year old Schumacher, son of former Formula 1 driver Ralf, was second best in 02:01.256, ahead of Denmark’s 16-year old Valdemar Eriksen (02:01.850).

David Schumacher during Free Practice (Dec 12)

In fact, the top five in the session, including fourth-placed Aussie Dylan Young (02:01.901) and championship leader Michelangelo Amendola from Belgium (02:01.915), winner of three races in the first round at Dubai last month, were covered by less than one second.

Viscaal, who was second Overall in 2018 Euroformula Open Championship, was quite pleased with his pace today, though he refrained from any predictions on his performance over the next two days when the qualifying and four races would be run.

“It went very well for me today. First time in MRF Challenge, first time in this car and learning the track. It’s been nearly two months since I drove a racing car. So, MRF Challenge will provide me with some winter mileage. The car is good and so also the tyres, I am really enjoying it here. I was quite happy with the pace, though you never know with quali (qualifying session) and races still to be run,” said Viscaal.

Valdemar Erikesen during FP1 (Dec 12)

Schumacher said he enjoyed the outing. “New car, new tyres and it was quite fun to drive. It was one of the best cars I have driven in practice session. I was missing half-a-tenths in the quickest laps. The track is really difficult and the temperatures were quite high. This car is pretty easy to drive compared to others. I chose the MRF Challenge to learn the track for next season. This week, I want to win all the races of course!”

The top five were followed by 16-year old Indian-American Yuven Sundaramoorthy (02:02.352), Jordanian Manaf Hijjawi (02:02.439), Japanese-American Reece Ushijima (02:02.507), Denmark’s Largim Ali (02:02.739), Britain Joshua Mason (02:03.146) and lone Indian entrant Chetan Korada (02:04.991).

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