Eighteen years old Toby Sowery
was crowned MRF Challenge 2014 Champion after finishing on the podium in Race
3 at the finale at the MMRT in Chennai.
Sowery is the third Champion of the MRF Challenge and at 18 years, the youngest
as well. Ryan Cullen won his first race of the weekend ahead of Sowery and
Oscar King in Race 3 while King took his first win of the series ahead of
Matthew Solomon and Gustava Myasava. Arjun Narendran won his first MRF FF1600
race ahead of Goutham Parekh in another thrilling race with the top 2 finishing
less than a second apart from each other.
Sowery finished on top of the
standings with 221 points with Cullen in 2nd place with 174 points. Raj Bharath
finished in 3rd place, making him the highest Indian finisher in the MRF
Challenge. Kyle Mitchell, who missed the final round, had 112 points with Tarun
Reddy finishing 5th in the Championship with 87 points.
According to a company press release, in Race
3 of the MRF Challenge 2014, Cullen took the lead into the first corner ahead
of Sowery and Gustavo Myasava. For the first time this weekend all drivers got
through the first few corners safely. Behind the top 3 was King leading the Indians
Tarun Reddy and Raj Bharath. Cullen and Sowery pulled away from the rest of the
field while Myasava had a battle on his hands holding off King and Raj after
Reddy was forced to retire with a fuel pump problem. On lap 7 both King and Raj
got past Myasava but the top 2 were too far ahead. Cullen made up for the
disappointment of the previous day to take his first win this weekend ahead of
Sowery and King. Raj finished in 4th place with Myasava and Matthew Solomon in
5th & 6th places respectively.
In Race 4 of the MRF Challenge 2014, Matthew
Solomon started on reverse grid pole alongside Myasava. Solomon held on to the
lead with Myasava and King right behind him as they finished the first lap. The
top 6 drivers were closely bunched up for the first half of the race with
Myasava applying constant pressure on the leader. On lap 8 as Solomon tried to
defend against Myasava, King pulled off the overtaking move of the weekend as
he drove around the outside of the two drivers to go into the lead. King pulled
away from the pack to take his first ever win in the series. Solomon managed to
finish in 2nd place, taking his first podium in the series as well. The battle
for 3rd was a 4-way battle with Myasava getting the final podium spot ahead of
Cullen, Sowery and Raj.
MRF Challenge 2014 Champion
Toby Sowery commented, "It is just an unbelievable feeling to win this
title. It felt great to fight with such good drivers in what was a highly
competitive field. A big thank you to MRF and the organizers for doing such a
great job and giving me such a good car to fight with. Every race every round
has been a challenge so am happy to come away with the title. Driving in
Chennai has been unbelievable and from the first session I have felt
comfortable on this circuit and am happy to win the title here. I hope to use
this experience to help me in my next season as well. ”
In the MRF FF1600 Race 2,
Arjun Narendran starting on reverse grid pole, led into the first corner ahead
of fast starting British driver Hamish Robinson, who jumped into 2nd place from
5th on the grid. Race 1 winner slotted in into third place and quickly passed
Robinson and set off after the leader. Advait Deodhar also passed Robinson and
joined Parekh in catching the leader. As in Race 1 there was nothing to choose
from the top 3. Narendran crossed the line to take his first win with Parekh
finishing in 2nd place and Advait in 3rd.
Karthik Tharani Singh survived a first lap crash which damaged his front
wing to finish in 4th position, ahead of Robinson and Anshul Shah.
Arjun Narendran was delighted
to take his first win in the category and third win of the weekend after
winning the two Indian Touring Car races as well. He commented, "This
weekend has been perfect for me with 3 wins. I was happy to be so competitive
in the MRF FF1600 category as I was not happy with the races I did here last
year. These cars are really good and the competition is so close and fierce
that it is really enjoyable to battle with these guys."