Australian racing driver Dylan Young secured points in each race of the final MRF Challenge round held at the MMRT Circuit in Chennai, India from January 29-31.
Young finished in ninth place in each of the first three races of the four-race weekend, struggling to find a proper set-up with his MRF F2000 car. Once he and his engineer rectified the set up, however, Dylan was instantly on the pace to finish seventh in the final race of the weekend, holding off the speedy Harrison Newey (son of Red bull F1 designer Adrian Newey) who had finished on the podium in the opening three races.
With its bumpy surface, the MMRT circuit in Chennai presented the MRF Challenge field with a vastly different test to the previous circuits the series had visited over the season.
Likewise, a star-studded grid was on hand with Mick Schumacher, the son of seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael, joining the series along with regular drivers including Harrison Newey, son of Adrian, and eventual champion Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time Formula 1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi.
Young was confident going into the final round having secured podiums at this track in the past, but the constantly changing conditions of the circuit left him chasing a set-up to give him the assurance to attack.
The birthday boy was left disappointed after not delivering himself a present in qualifying by being further up the grid, but the rest of the weekend’s races showed Young’s pace and race craft would overcome the initial set-up gremlins.
Race 1 saw Young finish in ninth place after a race long fight with Britain’s Max Fewtrell and this was backed up by another ninth place in Race 2.
In Race 3, Young was hit from behind by another driver who launched over the field and caused a Safety Car. With damage to his front wing, Dylan battled with balance issues but once again claimed a ninth-placed finish.
The final 20-lap race of the 2015-16 MRF Challenge Formula 2000 Championship season was held under sweltering temperatures and Young instantly got a great launch off the line gaining one position.
He then made up another place against Harrison Newey into Turn 2 before the fast charging Tarun Reddy, who had led the majority of Race 2, soon loomed in Dylan’s mirrors. But Young now had a car underneath him he was confident in and he was able to stabilize the gap to Newey and Reddy behind whilst closing in on sixth place in the dying laps.
“I really want to thank my engineer Rob for this weekend,” Young said. “I had a new engineer for this race and it can always take some time to gel together but Rob stuck at it and gave me a really well balanced car in the final race and I think it was a great way to finish the weekend.
“Overall, Round 1 in Abu Dhabi really impacted my season by not being up further in the points but I think as the season wore on, I started to showcase more where I should be, especially given I had the whole year off. I also want to thank my engineer for the opening 3 rounds, Matt, along with my engineer Les and all the team at MRF and JA Motorsport.
“Last but definitely not least, I wouldn’t be here racing without my sponsors and investors so I’m forever grateful to them all for joining my journey and being a core part of my team.”
The 2016 MRF Challenge Championship will see a huge upgrade with a new car featuring over 250bhp, paddle shift, improved brakes and aerodynamics whilst also weighing significantly less on the scales. The new car is expected to be a lightning five plus seconds a lap faster than the current car and Young wouldn’t rule out coming back for another season.
“I’m working with my backers now about plans for this season and I have some ideas about my program for this year but I’d love to come back and race this Championship again with the new car as it’s such a fantastic series with some of the best young talent out there to go up against so I can’t way to sample the new machine later this year when the next season kicks off.”
Images via MRF Tyres / Aditya Bedre