Melbourne racing driver Dylan Young has fallen just short of standing on the podium at Round 1 of the 2018 MRF Challenge, held at the Dubai Autodrome from November 15-17.
Young was consistently challenging for the top 3 all weekend and was immediately on the pace with 4th place in Free Practice 1. Remarkably, despite Young being out of the cockpit for over 8 months compared to his rivals who had mostly all been competing in Europe throughout 2018, Dylan was only 0.4s off the quickest time.
He was in 2nd for a large part of the qualifying session before having to settle for 4th and was confident of securing podiums across the five-race weekend.
In Race 1, Young got a great start to be challenging for 2nd place leading in to Turn 1, battling with Jamie Chadwick. The fastest car of the race, Danial Frost made a lunge on Dylan for 3rd place on Lap 2 and Young finished a strong 4th in the opening race of the weekend, but with full confidence more results would come in the remaining races.
Race 2 saw Young holding 3rd place on Lap 3 when unfortunately he and Belgian driver Michelangelo Amendola made contact, dropping both cars back with damage. It was declared a racing incident by the stewards but the biggest punishment for Young was that he dropped back to 6th in the scuffle and with damage and wasn't able to stay inside the top three.
The final day of the round was action packed with three races and Young made a bold move to try and save his final set of new tyres for the final race, on a vastly different strategy to the rest of the field.
On an old set of tyres in contrast to the drivers around him, Young was pushed back at the start with messy opening laps in both Race 3 and 4, and on the old rubber finished 8th and 7th.
Heading into the final race of the weekend, and with a fresh set of new tyres, Young was targeting a podium but again the luck didn't fall his way as for the third time in five races, Young had damage and was taken out on the first lap by a driver who hit him from behind. The damage effectively destroyed Dylan's race by dropping him to the rear of the field.
"I'm really proud of the pace I showed this weekend after being out of the car for a while" Young said.
"It was one of those weekends where the pace I had, constantly battling for the top 3 early on didn't translate to podiums due to so many incidents on track. That's extremely frustrating as I selected a strategy that I thought would really pay off in the final race, and sacrificed a bit of pace in the two races prior to that. The car felt awesome on the way to the grid for the last race and in the opening corners I could see I had huge pace compared to those around me but it all ended when I was hit from behind. I really wanted to walk away with podiums this weekend as I know we showed the pace was there but that's racing sometimes. I can't wait to give it my all the next time I'm back in the car!".
The next five races of the 2018 MRF Challenge take place at the Bahrain Formula 1 Circuit from December 6-8.
Dylan Young is proudly supported throughout his MRF Challenge campaign by:
Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat, IntelliTrac, Besser + Co Estate Agents, ORCA, Forum Group, Designsport, SEEK, Urban Maintenance Systems and Boost Mobile.