Dubai, November 23: Belgian teenager Michelangelo Amendola came up with two brilliant drives to win both the races on Friday (22 November) in the eighth edition of the FIA-approved MRF Challenge international series at the Dubai Autodrome.
The 17-year old Amendola displayed rare character to win both races from difficult positions. In the first race that he started form pole, he dropped to third after a wheel-spin as the lights went off before taking a win and in the next race, he made places from sixth on the reverse grid to take the checkered flag despite stalling his car at Turn-1 in the very first lap.
The race was marked by a Safety Car period following a collision between Aussie Dylan Young and Indian-American Yuven Sunderamoorthy in the first lap.
The Belgian youngster, despite the Turn-1 incident, put his head down and managed to carve his way through the field before passing leader Joshua Mason, the 17-year old from Great Britain on the final lap while Jordanian teenager Manaf Hijjawi came in third.
“I am happy to win both races today. In the morning, I lost places at the start due to a wheel-spin as I did not let go of the clutch, and then had to fight my way into the lead. In the second race, I started sixth on the reverse grid, stalled my car after someone made contact from behind at Turn-1 in the first lap. Luckily, I managed to start the car and then made places to win,” said a delighted Amendola.
In the first race, Amendola, was slowly off the blocks due to wheel-spin and fell behind as Mason and Young led the pack into Turn-1. Mason opened up a sizeable lead before tyre wear slowed him down while Young caught up with him, but could not pass. Meanwhile, Amendola recovered quickly and in the latter half of the race, got a jump on both the front-runners leaving Mason and Young scrap for the minor podium spots.
Behind the trio, the midfield witnessed close battles while India’s Chetan Korada finished ninth and last after a spin in the eighth lap even as he was putting in consistent laps. But in the second race, the Chennai-based Korada was running fourth, but conceded the advantage to finish seventh.
Earlier, in the qualifying session, Amendola came up with a late charge to grab pole position ahead of Mason, who briefly led the time sheets, and Young.
Race-1 (10 laps): 1. Michelangelo Amendola (Belgium); 2. Joshua Mason (Great Britain); 3. Dylan Young (Australia). Race-2: 1. Amendola; 2. Mason; 3. Manaf Hijjawi (Jordan).
Qualifying (top 4): 1. Amendola (01:58.409); 2. Mason (01:58.499); 3. Young (01:58.518); 4. Largim Ali (Denmark) (01:58.527).
Report & Photos: Madras Motor Sports Club