Seventeen-year-old Brazilian Felipe Drugovich got his 2017 MRF Challenge campaign off to a perfect start by winning both races in the season opener yesterday, held as part of the WEC weekend at BIC.
Drugovich pulled off a last lap move on Manuel Maldonado, cousin of former F1 racer Pastor Maldonado, to win race two. Presley Martono also passed Maldonado on the run-up to the chequered flag to beat the Venezuelan by 0.010s and take second spot.
In race one, Drugovich benefitted from race leader Rinus van Kalmthout’s retirement to win ahead of Martono and Dylan Young.
Earlier in the day, van Kalmthout was dominant in qualifying to put his car on pole position by almost half a second
The season got underway with van Kalmthout having the perfect start from pole to lead into the first corner. Drugovich followed him in second place with Dylan Young jumping from seventh to third after getting a brilliant start. Drugovich managed to stay with van Kalmthout for the first few laps before the Dutch driver started pulling away at the front.
It was heartbreak for van Kalmthout as he was forced to retire from the lead with two laps to go due to a mechanical problem. Drugovich held on to win the first race of the season. Young crossed the line in third place to take only his second podium in championship.
In the reverse grid based race two, Maldonado jumped Falchero to lead into the first corner. Drugovich had a strong start from sixth to slot into third behind the fast starting Karkosik.
On the last lap, Drugovich out braked Maldonado to take the lead, with Martono close behind. Coming out of the last corner and heading into the start-finish straight Martono managed to get his nose ahead to beat Maldonado by 0.010secs. It was heartbreak for Maldonado who slipped from first to third on the last lap.
Another two races will be held today.