- Dylan Young, Bent Viscaal share honours
Sakhir (Bahrain), December 14: Dylan Young of Australia showcased his vast experience to chalk up a fluent win in the final race of the second round of MRF Challenge, a support-event for the FIA World Endurance Championship, at the Bahrain International Circuit, here today.
The 30-year old Young, a regular in the MRF Challenge, while scoring his second win in the championship following his success in the first round at Dubai last month, ended the Bent Viscaal-David Schumacher domination. Viscaal, from the Netherlands, had won the first and third races while Germany’s Schumacher, son of former F1 driver Ralf, had taken the honours in Race-2 under lights late last night.
The results notwithstanding, championship leader Michelangelo Amendola of Belgium, who had won three of the five races in Dubai, maintained his top position on the leaderboard despite a poor run here in Bahrain when he finished no higher than sixth. He took his tally to 143 points, followed by Young (127) and Joshua Mason (Britain, 115). The title will be decided in Chennai which will host the final round at the MMRT on February 14-16 next year with a six-race card.
The last race of the round today saw Viscaal and pole-sitter Amendola colliding. Viscaal was forced into retirement while Amendola limped home in seventh.
Up ahead, Young shot off the blocks as the lights went out to pass Amendola and kept his position for a victory. Behind him, battles raged up and down the field with positions being swapped on almost every lap. Eventually, Schumacher, who had started fifth on the reverse grid, came in third behind Jordan’s Manaf Hijjawi who gained two spots to finish behind Young.
Earlier, it was a comfortable win, his second in three outings, for Viscaal in Race-3 as he slipped past pole-sitter Schumacher immediately after the start and then put in two back-to-back fastest laps to effectively seal his win. He then clocked the fastest lap of the race in Lap-5 to further extend his lead over Schumacher who had to be content with a second place finish.
Behind the duo, 16-year old Indian-American Yuven Sundaramoorthy made good progress from P5 to P3 while Young who shot up from eighth to fourth eventually finished fifth behind Hijjawi who is in his first single-seater season.
“I had a pretty good start today and moved to P3, but couldn’t get past David (Schumacher). Overall, I am quite happy with my second podium of the championship. It’s been a good learning experience, especially racing with experienced F3 drivers. Everyone has been improving and so, the grid is getting more competitive,” said Sundaramoorthy who has his roots in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.
Late last night, in Race-2 that was run under lights and on reverse grid, Schumacher came out on top after having started fifth, in a hectic, nerve-wracking three-car finish as he took the chequered flag just ahead of Viscaal and Young. The trio went wheel-to-wheel to set up a thrilling finish with leader Young dropping two places in the last lap as first Viscaal and then Schumacher passing him. The two front-row starters, pole-sitter Reece Ushijima and Joshua Mason, eventually finished fifth and fourth, respectively, unable to match the pace of the top three.
The results (all 10 laps unless mentioned):
Race-2 (10 laps): 1. David Schumacher (Germany) (20mins, 24.266secs); 2. Bent Viscaal (Netherlands) (20:25.968); 3. Dylan Young (Australia) (20:25.994). Fastest Lap: Schumacher (02:00.732).
Race-3: 1. Viscaal (20:16.541); 2. Schumacher (20:17.306); 3. Yuven Sundaramoorthy (USA) (20:23.243). Fastest Lap: Viscaal (02:00.896).
Race-4: 1. Young (20:27.236); 2. Manaf Hijjawi (Jordan) (20:28.071); 3. Schumacher (20:29.810). Fastest Lap: Schumacher (02:01.302).