Chadwick first female to win MRF Challenge
CHENNAI: Briton Jamie Chadwick scripted history by becoming the first woman to win the MRF Challenge title in seven seasons, signing off the third and final round of the 2018-19 season with a triple crown, including two back-toback wins, on Sunday.
The 20-year-old, who won three of the five races in the previous round in Bahrain, withstood a long day and 58 laps by winning two races with Finland’s Patrick Pasma taking the honours in the other at the Madras Motor Race Track here.
Chadwick ended the MRF Formula 2000 championship with 280 points, including two bonus points for the fastest lap in the last race. Belgian Max Defourny, who went into the final round with an 18-point advantage, failed to consolidate and ended up with 243. Pasma took third spot with 186.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet. In the last race, I made some mistakes which cost me a bit of the lead, but I quickly composed myself and made sure I won,” an elated Chadwick said. “I came to MRF Challenge for experience and not to win the championship. But after winning three races in Bahrain, I realised I was in with a chance and so went for it.”
Pasma had to work hard for his second win of the weekend in Race 3, which briefly saw a safety car period after Joshua Mason spun and blocked the track in the seventh lap.
Starting from pole, Pasma built a comfortable lead over Belgian Michelangelo Amendola before the pack bunched up behind the safety car. On re-start, Pasma was harried all the way by Amendola but hung on to post his second win of the weekend. Fin- ishing third was Swede Linus Lindqvist, the 2018 British F3 champion.
However, from the championship perspective, the focus was on the battle between Chadwick and Defourny with the Briton finishing ahead in fifth. Defourny came in seventh which helped Chadwick extend her lead by five points with two races remaining.
Chadwick took her lead to 18 points by winning Race 4 that was stopped and restarted following two incidents in the first lap that led to retirement of three cars and the race reduced to 18 laps from the scheduled 20.
Chadwick had a fine start from P2, moving past pole-sitter Jack Doohan (Australia), and then defended her position to chalk up her second win here. Defourny finished fourth behind Chadwick, Amendola and Doohan, his best this weekend. In the final race, Chadwick was again off to a superb start, squeezing into the lead from third, past pole-sitter Pasma and Defourny. She maintained her advantage till the end.
Winner Jamie Chadwick (centre) flanked by second-placed Patrick Pasma (left) and third-placed Michaelangelo Amendola in Chennai.