Australian open-wheeler racing driver Dylan Young had an extremely unlucky final round in the 2014 MRF Championship held at the MMRT Circuit in India from January 23-25.
Young showed his pace at the previous round in Bahrain with the fastest practice time, qualifying on the second row and leading the 2nd race at the FIA WEC Support event before a mistake on lap 4 cost him dearly, dropping him to 5th. The strong Bahrain event had Young extremely optimistic for the final MRF round in India where last year he bagged two podiums and was eager to repeat this form to finish off the Championship in a strong position.
However, it wasn’t to be as Young faced a weekend marred by qualifying issues, accidents at the start of two races and the wrong set up on his car in another race.
Young was puzzled in qualifying after going 1.2 seconds slower than practice and he and his engineer were led to believe a bad tyre batch was the cause after data didn’t show that Young’s driving was drastically different to his practice lap.
For Race 1, Young got his trademark lightning start but contact between two drivers further up the grid led to many drivers darting around to avoid slower cars. As Dylan was moving so much faster than some of his rivals off the line, he had no time to react as a car moved to the right to avoid the carnage ahead which ultimately led to a big accident for Young that left him spinning in the middle of the pack. Luckily he escaped without injury but the car was damaged heavily in the start line accident only 200 metres after the lights went out that claimed up to 6 cars.
That meant Young had to start from the very back for Race 2 which is dictated by the finishing order of Race 1. Young managed to claw his way up to 8th again after a good start but immediately started to struggle from the first lap with colossal understeer. It was revealed after the race that in the rush to get Dylan’s car repaired for Race 2, the replacement front wing flaps were not elevated and therefore Dylan had an enormous loss of front-end grip but still managed to salvage 10th place.
In Race 3 Young again had to come from the back after the disaster in qualifying and was making a move for 8th place early in the race when he had to run wide to avoid hitting a car in front who had braked extremely early into the hairpin, dropping him back to 11th. Young then had to fight all the way back but caught up to 8th place at a rate of nearly a second per lap in the dying laps, falling short to finish in 9th place by just half a car length.
Young was then at least given a starting grid spot of 9th for the last race which he believed would allow him to push into the top 5 to at least gain something from an already disastrous weekend. However, his luck was about to get worse and after passing a car immediately into turn 1 to be in 8th place, Young was taken out by a driver using him as a brake in Turn 2 on the 1st lap, severely damaging the radiator where Young was forced to switch off the engine and retire immediately due to soaring temperatures.
“It really was one of those weekends where nothing went right,” Young said, reflecting on a nightmare finish to the Championship.
“I’ll put my hand up when I make a mistake like I did in the lead in Bahrain, but this was just a weekend that got worse as it went on and I felt like I basically didn’t even get a proper race in as I was out of 2 of the races immediately at the start and in another race we forgot to put the flaps up in the rush to get my car ready for Race 2 so the car was basically un-drivable. It’s just such a shame as the car felt awesome on the way to the grid for the final race and I just wanted to salvage at least a top 5 finish for my engineer, mechanics and myself but again it wasn’t to be as I just got hit stupidly from behind.”
“However, I want to thank all the boys for working so hard to get my car ready after the first race and for sticking by what was a tough weekend. Likewise it was great to have such a great bunch of guys to work with for the Championship so I can’t thank them enough. I’d also like to thank MRF for a great Championship along with my team of sponsors and investors for believing in me and I’m really excited about 2015!”
Young finished 7th in the 2013-2014 MRF Championship as the only Australian in the field and went into the final round in Chennai for the 2014-2015 Championship knowing that a round full of podiums like the previous year could see him take 5th in the Championship. However, with all the dramas leading to his lowest point scoring of the series, he dropped to equal on points with 10th in the Championship out of a total of 24 drivers.
Dylan will now look to secure plans for 2015 and has received a number of offers from teams in GP3 and Auto GP whilst also not ruling out another stint in the 2015 MRF Challenge Championship later this year.