Monthly Archives: February 2017

The MRF Challenge championship went down to the last 5 laps

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The MRF Challenge is a 4 round 16 race championship that takes place throughout India and the Middle East. The competition offers young drivers a chance to prepare themselves during the off-season and the 2016-17 title was hotly fought between F3 graduates Harrison Newey, Joey Mawson, and Mick Schumacher. Interestingly the trio used to be teammates at Van Amersfoort in the 2015 German F4 championship and know each other very well. Mawson was comfortably the strongest of the three back in 2015 but he no longer enjoys the same advantage. They all went into the final round of the MRF season in Chennai with a shot at winning the championship.

Mick Schumacher had the fewest points so had to take the most risks. With that in mind his championship chances ended against the barriers in the penultimate race leaving Newey and Mawson in a straight fight for the championship in the final.

Mawson held a narrow points lead so could guarantee himself the title with first or second. He was looking good when he assumed the lead from pole position but with 5 laps to go the championship fight turned on its head. Newey had been piling the pressure on Mawson from second place and here he describes the crucial turning point.

“I think he dropped one wheel on the dirt but just didn’t have the best exit. Obviously I was close to him always but it just put me a bit closer. He half defended and thought I was too far back so he came back out of it, and when he came back out I just went for it and obviously went quite deep into the corner which allowed Mick to get past as well.”

Taking the lead wasn’t enough for Newey – even with Mawson dropping to third – because he also required two bonus points for fastest lap to make up the deficit. This created an interesting situation where Newey had to push to the limit all the way until the finish and the championship wouldn’t be decided until everyone had seen the chequered flag.

When the dust settled, Newey and Mawson finished on the same number of points, but Harrison was crowned champion courtesy of taking more wins throughout the series. It is his first major trophy. Mawson was understandably gutted but there is no doubting Newey was a deserving champion.

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WRC: Thierry Neuville has endured a horror start to 2017

Thierry Neuville has endured a nightmare start to 2017 after crashing out of the lead in both the Monte Carlo AND Swedish Rallies. Even worse is that both accidents were the result of tiny mistakes (whilst bigger errors from his rivals went unpunished). Those 2 lost wins, and the 50 lost points, may come back to haunt Neuville later in the season.

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The 2017 Toyota Racing Series was a thriller

The Toyota Racing Series crams 15 races into a 4 week tour of New Zealand and finished with a championship thriller. The top 3 in the title chase started the final race separated by just 2 points, which is ridiculously tight when there’s 75 points available for a win. The 3 contenders ran nose-to-tail early on, but Thomas Randle passed Pedro Piquet after a safety car restart to win a topsy-turvy 2017 championship battle.

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There was a touching moment during the Bathurst 12 Hour weekend

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There was a nice moment during the Bathurst 12 Hour weekend on the Saturday when Maranello Motorsport won the Allan Simonsen Trophy for claiming pole position. Allan Simonsen drove for Maranello Motorsport before his tragic death in 2013 and was close to several people in the team, including Toni Vilander who set the pole time. Team boss, Mark Coffey, said “I’m sure he was watching us. I have had phone calls from the family already today, it is really important. It is a really special day for our team.”

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There was a high quality field in the Bathurst 12 Hour

Drivers from 19 different countries competed in the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour and they made up a hugely competitive field.

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Leaders collide near the end of the Daytona 24Hr

There was late drama in the Daytona 24 Hour race on the weekend when the two leaders collided with just 7 minutes remaining. Filipe Albuquerque, who was on the driving team that lost out, suggested the winners should be “ashamed” but officials deemed it a racing incident and took no action. Judge for yourself.

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