The MRF International Challenge series of 2016 went underway at the Madras Motor Race Track in Chennai with the Friday free practice sessions and qualifying rounds of the MRF Formula 2000, 1600 and Saloon cars.
Current F2000 championship leader, Piettro Fittipaldi, the grandson of former formula one champion Emerson Fittipaldi claimed pole ahead of the British driver Harrison Newey. Chennai's Karthik Tharanisingh, the defending champion set the quickest time during free practice on Friday in the MRF Formula 1600 class of the MRF National Racing Championship.
The weekend saw some impressive times set by Indian and international drivers. While Harrison Newey, son of noted F1 designer Adrian Newey, set commendable times in Free Practice, it was Fittipaldi who claimed pole. Both drivers will start from the front row in the first of four races this weekend.
Tarun Reddy, currently 6th on the championship standings, managed to put himself in 3rd place ahead of Mick Schumacher, son of 7-time former Formula One world champion, Michael Schumacher, who will start from fourth on the grid.
Fittipaldi said: “I decided to save my tyres for qualifying and focus on getting the balance right in practice. It paid off as the car felt really good in qualifying and I was able to push. The MMRT track is a very challenging circuit to drive on and a lot of fun. It is always best to start on pole position, so I hope to convert this into a win tomorrow.”
In the Saloon cars, the Junior Category saw Keith D'Souza from Goa and Dr. VJ Senthil from Trichy top a session each by setting the fastest times in category. while Alisha Abdullah and Veeresh Prasad were the quickest in the Super Stock category in respective sessions.
The qualifying sessions and races are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.