Melbourne racing driver, Dylan Young completed the final round of the 2016/2017 MRF Challenge Championship with a host of strong points finishes and a best place of 6th in Race 3 of the weekend.
Races 13-16 were held at the bumpy MMRT circuit in Chennai, India on February 17-19 where Young finished in 12th place (after contact whilst running 7th), 9th, 6th and 7th across the four races.
The strong weekend cemented 9th place in the Championship for Young out of a field of 22 drivers from across the world, beating a host of names including the 2016 Japanese National Formula 3 Champion, Yoshiaka Katayama.
Dylan’s pace was evident immediately as practice got underway on Friday afternoon when he posted 5thon the time sheets for the opening session.
However, a set up problem led to drastic understeer for Young in qualifying which left him 10th and 9th on the grid for Saturday and Sunday.
In Race 1, Young had a huge opening lap, going straight up to 7th place after going wheel to wheel with Felipe Drugovich through the fast kink. Young was holding the position strongly for the opening laps of the race until Drugovich made an extremely late dive on lap 7. Young was then forced onto the marbles and spun alongside Neil Verhargen after brief contact with Drugovich. This dropped Young way down the order and with damage to his front wing he finished in 12th place.
The Race 2 grid meant Young had to start in the finishing position from Race 1 but he managed another great start and passed his way up to 9th place to secure the first points of the weekend.
It was Races 3 and 4 on Sunday where Dylan felt most comfortable with the car after some notable set up changes. Young finished a strong 6th in Race 3, ahead of the talented Verhagen who has just been selected as one of five drivers globally into the Red Bull Junior team, the same programme that propelled Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel to F1 stardom.
In previous rounds of the series, finishing 6th in Race 3 would have given Young reverse grid pole for the final race but the rules were changed with the final race grid being set by the fastest laps within the races. Young then brought the car home strongly in 7th for Race 4 to finish just shy of 8th place in the overall Championship and a strong 9th out of 22 drivers overall.
“Firstly, I really want to thank all my team for this season including Danny my engineer, my lead mechanic Les and all the MRF mechanics for all the hard work they constantly put in,” Young said.
“I also want to extend a huge thank you to my army of sponsors and investors who are riding the journey with me and I also want to thank my management team as I wouldn’t be able to chase my dream without all the people back home supporting me.”
“Overall I’m quite pleased to finish strongly in the Championship against a lot of big names who have much larger budgets and resources than me. It was tough sitting on the sidelines for a lot of the year due to budgetary constrains but I think I’ve shown yet again that when given the opportunity I have what it takes. I’m just itching to be given the chance to go up against these guys on equal footing and fly the Aussie flag.”
“I’m really excited for 2017 and beyond. I hope that I can announce some plans shortly with my sponsors so that we can fully attack the front of the grid and have all the pieces of the puzzle in place to go from a strong consistent 2016 season to fighting for wins and podiums in 2017.”
Plans for Dylan Young’s 2017 season will be released after meetings with his management team and sponsors shortly.