Chennai, India, 16 February 2020: Michelangelo Amendola failed to win any of the three final races of the 2019-2020 MRF Challenge Championship but the Belgian driver picked up enough points, from two third-place finishes and a sixth, to be crowned champion at the Madras Motor Racing Track (MMRT) in Chennai, India.
Earlier,16-year old Indian-American Yuven Sundaramoorthy, with family roots in Madurai, gave the crowd plenty to cheer about by winning one race while British teenager Louis Foster and Australia’s Dylan Young took the honours in the other two races of the day.
A third-place finish in Race Five ensured the 18-year Amendola the title in his third attempt as he opened up an unassailable 34-point lead over his nearest rival Young, going into the last race of the day. Amendola finished with 247 points, including five wins over three rounds, to Young’s 223 (3 wins) while Britain’s Joshua Mason (176) was placed third in the championship.
Rejoicing his championship success with his immediate family, Amendola, who had scored a double yesterday, said: “I am absolutely delighted that I finally won the MRF Challenge championship in my third season. Last season, I finished fourth in the championship and in 2017, I was sixth. So, I was determined to win the title this time. Now that I have won it, I am looking at a few options, but all depends on budgets and sponsorship. Motor racing is not very popular in Belgium, but I am hopeful.”
The day began with Foster capitalising on a Turn-2 incident on Lap-1 that led to a brief Safety Car period, moving from third to first. Foster then hung on to finish ahead of Sundaramoorthy with Amendola in third place. Young’s championship hopes virtually ended when he lost two spots to come in sixth.
In the next race, Sundaramoorthy, starting on pole on the reverse grid, was off to a good start and though he lost a bit going into Turn 10, he managed to hold off Jordanian Manaf Hijjawi for his second win of the season with Young trailing home in third place.
“It feels great to win here in Chennai, virtually my home race! But I made it difficult for myself by making a couple of mistakes early in the race, especially when I went in too hot in Turn-10, went sideways and lost a bunch of space. I am absolutely delighted to score my second win this season after Dubai,” said Sundaramoorthy who turns 17 on February 22.
Young, starting from reverse grid pole, also won the day’s last race untroubled, comfortably nursing his early lead to chalk up his third win of the season.
Report & Photos: AP Media Communications (edited)