Doha: India’s Tarun Reddy came up with a dazzling show late on Friday to become the youngest winner in the MRF Challenge after clinching Race 2 of round one at the Losail International Circuit in Doha, Qatar. The 16-year-old reigning MRF 1600 champion braved a stiff challenge from Russia’s Nikita Mazepin and led the reverse grid race from start to finish.
Tarun took off brilliantly and was in command throughout the race. Though the second-placed Mazepin tried everything up in his repertoire to unsettle Tarun, the latter held his nerve admirably to emerge victorious. Mazepin, the youngest driver on the track, would rue the chance he missed in the ninth lap where he almost had the lead but couldn’t move the stick.
Prior to Tarun’s historic victory, 18-year-old Toby Sowery dominated Race 1 to notch up a clinical win ahead of Ryan Cullen and Kyle Mitchell. Sowery did a commendable job in Race 2 finishing third, courtesy piping the experienced Mathias Lauda by a mere 0.068 of a second. Fourth-placed Sowery threw everything in the final straight and went past Lauda in a thrilling last lap to put his step on the podium.
A jubilant Tarun expressed happiness in winning one of the most competitive races. “This is one of the hardest races I have ever been part of as all the drivers are evenly matched. Mazepin put a lot of pressure on me and was really quick but it was important to put my head down,” Tarun said.
The night proved to be a dampener for those who had made their way in anticipation of a fierce battle between Lauda and Freddie Hunt. Lauda , who finished fourth in both the races, was driving with consistency and control whereas Hunt looked a bit rugged.