Chad­wick first fe­male to win MRF Chal­lenge

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - WORLD - Sandip Sik­dar

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.

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