Sakhir (Bahrain), Nov 18 (IANS) The MRF Challenge will head to the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) here this weekend with Round 2 set to take place as a support race for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) 6 Hours of Bahrain.
The MRF Challenge is one of four international and regional racing series that will be backing the headlining WEC. The GP2 Series, GP3 Series and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle are the others.
Challenge leader Nobuharu Matsushita will return to his GP2 duties with ART Racing team. Brazilian driver Pietro Fittipaldi and female F3 driver Tatiana Calderon will resume their battle for the championship with only seven points separating them.
Russian Nikita Troitckii and India’s Tarun Reddy will be hoping to mount a challenge and get themselves into championship contention. This will also be the first time MRF Challenge cars will race under lights in the last round of the WEC season.
Round 2 of MRF Challenge, however, will have 18 cars on the grid. Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Emmerson Fittipaldi’s grandson Pietro impressed with a win and two podium finishes in Round 1 in Abu Dhabi. Harrison, son of famed Formula 1 engineer Adrian Newey, will be hoping to make amends to a tough opening weekend.
The star of Round 1 was undoubtedly F3 driver Tatiana Calderon, who pulled off three brilliant overtaking moves on the last lap of three of the four races.
Former race winner Sam Dejonghe returns to the series and will definitely be one of the favourites. She will not be the only woman on the grid with Alice Powell and Laura Tillett also returning to the series.
The Indian contingent will be led by Reddy. Also joining him will be 2015 MRF 1600 champion Karthik Tharani Singh, who impressed on his first ever time in the MRF Challenge car. He will be joined by Arjun Narendran.
In its fourth year, the MRF Challenge will feature 16 MRF Formula 2000 race cars which have been made in India by JA Motorsport, based in Coimbatore, in collaboration with Dallara, the world’s largest racing car manufacturer, and also Jayem Automotives Ltd.
The MRF Formula 2000 is powered by a 2.0 litre 210 bhp Renault sport engine and will have a Hewland six-speed sequential gearbox.
MRF Championship standings:
1. Nobuharu Matsushita 80 points
2. Pietro Fittipaldi 68
3. Tatiana Calderon 61
4. Nikita Troitckii 53
5. Tarun Reddy 47