Home MRF Challenge Svendsen-Cook seizes MRF Challenge lead on penultimate day of season

Svendsen-Cook seizes MRF Challenge lead on penultimate day of season

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
Photo: MRF Challenge

Photo: MRF Challenge

Two victories and a podium in three MRF Challenge races on Saturday allowed Brit Rupert Svendsen-Cook to seize the championship lead from GP3 race winner Tio Ellinas coming into the final day of the season at Madras.

Svendsen-Cook started the first race of the round on front row behind Ellinas and managed to defeat the Cypriot in a race-long fight for victory. Narain Karthikeyan, having started from third, fell behind Oscar King during the opening lap but managed to make his way back onto the podium as the race went on.

Single-seater returnee King finished fourth, ahead of compatriot Harry Tincknell, Gustavo Myasava and Raj Bharath. Asia-Pacific Rally Championship title holder Gaurav Gill took eighth, with Ryan Cullen and Sam Brabham rounding out the top ten.

Ellinas’ title ambitions were struck a huge blow in race two when he retired after tangling with Bharath on lap nine. Up ahead, the race wound up contested between Svendsen-Cook, Tincknell and Sam Dejonghe.

The Belgian, who largely sat out the 2013 junior single-seater season, came out on top in the final laps, with Tincknell taking second and Svendsen-Cook settling for third. Cullen and Dylan Young made up the top five, ahead of Autosport’s Ben Anderson, Brabham, Max Marshall, Laura Tillett and Abdulla Al-Thawadi, who completed the points in a retirement-heavy race.

Anderson got reverse-grid pole for race three but was ruled out of contention right away with a drive through penalty for a false start. Meanwhile, Svendsen-Cook and Tincknell charged their way to the front and finished the race more than 30 seconds ahead of the rest of the pack, with the former taking the victory.

Australian racer Young started the race from front row and managed to keep a number of drivers behind to take his maiden podium in the series. King and Ellinas fought their way up to finish just one second off the podium, ahead of Cullen, Dejonghe and Myasava. Local racers Vikash Anand and Bharath completed the top ten.

Svendsen-Cook leads the standings with 185 points to Ellinas’ 176 coming into the final two races on Sunday.

Race one results
Pos. Driver Time/Gap
1 Rupert Svendsen-Cook 15 laps
2 Tio Ellinas +1.431
3 Narain Karthikeyan +3.666
4 Oscar King +7.087
5 Harry Tincknell +9.335
6 Gustavo Myasava +17.104
7 Raj Bharath +19.660
8 Gaurav Gill +34.761
9 Ryan Cullen +39.666
10 Sam Brabham +50.275
11 Max Marshall +50.792
12 Dylan Young +1:05.725
13 Laura Tillett +1:10.577
14 Benjamin Anderson +1:15.130
15 Abdulla Al-Thawadi +1:26.612
16 Sam Dejonghe +2:02.716
Not classified
Vikash Anand +7 laps
Race two results
Pos. Driver Time/Gap
1 Sam Dejonghe 10 laps
2 Harry Tincknell +1.646
3 Rupert Svendsen-Cook +9.414
4 Ryan Cullen +22.374
5 Dylan Young +23.925
6 Ben Anderson +24.377
7 Sam Brabham +24.894
8 Max Marshall +32.393
9 Laura Tillett +36.152
10 Abdulla Al-Thawadi +37.344
11 Vikash Anand +51.060
12 Tio Ellinas +1 lap
13 Raj Bharath +1 lap
Not classified
Oscar King +7 laps
Gustavo Myasava +7 laps
Gaurav Gill
DNS Narain Karthikeyan
Race three results
Pos. Driver Time/Gap
1 Rupert Svendsen-Cook 15 laps
2 Harry Tincknell +0.723
3 Dylan Young +34.493
4 Oscar King +34.996
5 Tio Ellinas +35.317
6 Ryan Cullen +36.414
7 Sam Dejonghe +38.179
8 Gustavo Myasava +39.682
9 Vikash Anand +43.135
10 Raj Bharath +43.553
11 Sam Brabham +45.641
12 Ben Anderson +1:03.348
13 Max Marshall +1 lap
14 Laura Tillett +4 laps
Not classified
Gaurav Gill +6 laps
Abdulla Al-Thawadi +11 laps
DNS Narain Karthikeyan