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All set for MRF Challenge

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The Indian campaign in the MRF Challenge 2015 season, which gets going with the first round at the Yas Marina circuit here on Friday, will be led by Tarun Reddy, Arjun Narendran and Karthik Tharani. The qualifying rounds are also scheduled for Friday.

Karthik will have a feel of this Challenge for the first time having won the 2015 MRF 1600 championship. He will be joined by second runner-up Arjun and the 2014 champion Tarun Reddy.

The FIA-sanctioned event, the only Indian-based motorsport series to continuously race internationally, next moves to Bahrain (November) and Dubai (December) before culminating at Chennai in January next year.

Prize money of Rs. 65 lakh is at stake.

MRF MD Arun Mammen believes the MRF Challenge provides a great opportunity for young drivers to make a name and the chance to race on some of the famed Formula One circuits.

“The series this time around will go one step ahead by running on the GP2 and GP3 cars in Bahrain. The schedule of this edition confirms our commitment to promote motorsport not only nationally, but internationally as well,” he said.

The line-up is headed by GP2 driver Nobuharu Matsushita, a teammate of GP2 champion Stoffel Vandoorne, and he will be joined by two-time F1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi’s grandson, Pietro Fittipaldi, who won the Protyre Formula Renault Championship in 2014.

Jake Dennis, who finished third in this year’s FIA F3 Europe championship with six wins, is expected to be one of the favourites this weekend. The other big name is Harrison Newey, son of famed Formula One engineer Adrian Newey. Three women drivers — Tatiana Calderon, Alice Powell and Laura Tillett — are also in the fray.

India’s first-ever Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan says it is great to see the MRF passion for the sport only increase season by season. “I expect the cars to be around 1.5 seconds quicker this year which will bring them closer to the European F3 cars,” he pointed out.

The Challenge will feature 16 MRF Formula 2000 race cars, which have been made in India by JA Motorsport in collaboration with Dallara, the world’s largest racing car manufacturer, and Jayem Automotives Ltd.

“The MRF Challenge is slowly becoming a popular destination for European drivers. This is a testament to the commitment from MRF Tyres to make this series one of the biggest in Asia. We continue to push the boundaries by targeting new circuits year after year,” said JA Motorsport MD J. Anand.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 10:08:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/all-set-for-mrf-challenge/article7819324.ece

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