Jamie Chadwick created history as she became the first female race to win the MRF Challenge series title for the 2018/19 season in Chennai.
Chadwick came into the final weekend with a 18 points disadvantage over Max Defourny in the final round of the 2018/19 MRF Challenge winter series at Madras Motor Race Track – a first time for both the drivers on the Indian circuit.
The Race 1 on Saturday had Patrick Pasma in the lead after 2018 British F3 champion and series newcomer Linus Lundqvist bogged down at the start with Michelangelo Amendola in second ahead of another newcomer Jack Doohan.
Crucially, Chadwick was fifth behind Andreas Estner in fourth as Defourny chased Dylan Young for sixth. The order stayed the same until the end with Pasma winning from Amendola and Doohan – the Red Bull junior scoring a podium on debut.
Estner ended up fourth with Chadwick in fifth from Young and points leader Defourny. Having dropped to last, Lundqvist fought back to eighth with Valdemar Eriksen in ninth and Glenn van Berlo rounding the Top 10.
Position 11-14: Sebastian Estner, Chetan Korada, Reema Juffali and Josh Mason. The Top 6 reverse-grid for Race 2 saw Young loose out to Chadwick at the start with Estner slotting in third from Doohan, Amendola and Defourny.
But the Belgian’s trouble only started when a wide moment on Lap 1 itself allowed for Lundqvist and Pasma to pass him as he dropped to eighth. The race at the front was settled pretty much with Chadwick winning from Young and taking over the points lead.
Estner had third in his hands with a late drop-off for Doohan allowing Amendola to finish fourth with Pasma in fifth and an off earlier on for Lundqvist meant Defourny ended up sixth. Lundqvist was seventh with Berlo eighth and Doohan ninth.
The Top 10 was rounded out by Eriksen. Position 11-13: Korada, Mason and Juffali. DNF: Sebastian. The Race 3 on Sunday had Pasma in the lead from Amendola and Lundqvist in the Top 3 with Estner, Chadwick and Defourny following on.
A safety car for Mason bunched the field together but Pasma led the way still from Amendola but Defourny started to look in some trouble with Doohan clearing the Belgian for sixth as Young looked to take him on as well.
The victory went to Pasma with Amendola in second and Lundvqist scoring his first podium in third. Fourth went to Estner with Chadwick in fifth from Doohan and Defourny. The Top 10 saw Young in eighth, followed by Eriksen and Berlo.
Position 11-14: Sebastian, Juffali, Korada and Mason. The Race 4 started on a frantic note with Chadwick taking the lead from Estner after a bog down from pole-sitter Doohan. Separate crashes for Sebastian, Mason and Eriksen called for an immediate red flag.
In fact, the incident between Sebastian and Mason damaged the safety barrier which needed immediate repair. A lengthy stop allowed for the drivers to re-group with a re-start once again going against Doohan as he lost out to Chadwick.
The Brit led the Australian with Lundqvist in third from Estner, Amendola and Defourny but Estner had an off moment which allowed Amendola, Defourny, Young, Eriksen and Berlo taking advantage of it.
Chadwick kept her lead to win and extend her points advantage as Amendola passed Doohan to take second with the Australian keeping third from Defourny, Young and Pasma. The Top 10 then saw Estner in seventh, followed by Berlo, Juffali and Korada.
The Race 5 was disaster for Pasma and Defourny with both losing out chunk of places at the start as Chadwick took the lead from Lundqvist with Pasma slotting in third as Amendola, Estner and Doohan rounded out the Top 6 with Defourny in seventh.
Lundqvist’s retirement allowed Pasma to take second from Amendola, Estner, Doohan and Defourny. The race settled in and despite late attacks from Pasma, Chadwick resisted it and not only won her sixth race of the season but also clinch the title.
She is the first-ever female winner of the MRF Challenge series after Tatiana Calderon nearly missed it out at her attempt. Amendola rounded out the podium with Estner ending up fourth from Doohan and Defourny.
The British racer took the title with 280 points from 243 for Defourny. Finn Pasma took third overall with 186 points as he beat Estner who scored 181 and Amendola rounding the Top 5 with 172 to his name.