Home MRF Challenge Sowery clinches MRF Challenge title with double victory at Chennai

Sowery clinches MRF Challenge title with double victory at Chennai

by Aditya Banerjee
Photo: MRF Racing

Photo: MRF Racing

British driver Toby Sowery became the 2014-15 MRF Challenge champion with two races to spare after winning the first two races of the final round at Chennai.

The Briton was fourth on the grid for the first race, but was up into the lead after an incident befell the drivers ahead of him. Oscar King, who was third on the grid, hit championship contender Ryan Cullen on the rear, forcing the latter to hit polesitter Sebastian Balthasar.

The German retired on the spot, while Cullen and King were forced to pit, with the safety car being called out due to another incident which took out Freddie Hunt, Dylan Young and Laura Tillett.

Sowery led the race from thereon, but a light drizzle in the losing stages brought Tarun Reddy and Gustavo Myasava within striking distance. The 18-year-old F3 Cup champion was able to hold on, with Reddy and Myasava both finishing within a second of the leader.

BRDC F4 graduate Jordan Albert took fourth, leading Raj Bharath. Vinicius Papareli finished a rather lonely sixth ahead of Lee Keshav, who held off fellow Indian Mahaveer Raghunathan for seventh. King and Cullen completed the top ten.

The top six positions were reversed for race two, which meant that Papareli started on pole. The Brazilian, however, was slow off the line and lost his lead to Bharath.

Sowery meanwhile, stormed up to third from sixth, and that soon became second after Papareli retired from the race.

Bharath was pulling away initially, but he ran off the circuit on lap three, allowing Sowery to take the lead, which the Briton never relinquished. He also clinched the fastest lap, which gave him two extra points and put him out of reach of his rivals in the championship standings.

Myasava picked up a second straight podium finish in second, while King made amends for his mistake in race one by coming home third. Further behind, Reddy held off a train of cars to take fourth, ahead of Cullen, Bharath, Balthasar and Matthew Solomon. Keshav and Young rounded out the top ten.

While the title is decided, the fight for the runner-up spot will carry on through tomorrow, with Cullen and Bharath separated by just seven points.

Race one results
Pos. Driver Time/Gap
1 Toby Sowery 15 laps in 28:46.640
2 Tarun Reddy +0.513
3 Gustavo Myasava +0.935
4 Jordan Albert +8.198
5 Raj Bharath +9.111
6 Vinicius Papareli +14.221
7 Lee Keshav +25.181
8 Mahaveer Raghunathan +25.961
9 Oscar King +1 lap
10 Ryan Cullen +3 laps
Not classified
Matthew Solomon +12 laps
Freddie Hunt +14 laps
Sebastian Balthasar +15 laps
Laura Tillett +15 laps
Dylan Young +15 laps
Race two results
Pos. Driver Time/Gap
1 Toby Sowery 15 laps in 24:00.595
2 Gustavo Myasava +3.457
3 Oscar King +14.285
4 Tarun Reddy +29.270
5 Ryan Cullen +30.067
6 Raj Bharath +31.597
7 Sebastian Balthasar +32.889
8 Matthew Solomon +34.774
9 Lee Keshav +37.161
10 Dylan Young +38.858
11 Jordan Albert +39.452
12 Mahaveer Raghunathan +47.159
Not classified
Laura Tillett +10 laps
Freddie Hunt +10 laps
Vinicius Papareli +14 laps