Chennai MRF: Drugovich takes title as van Kalmthout wins Race 1
Felipe Drugovich clinched the 2017/18 MRF Challenge title after finishing third behind Rinus van Kalmthout and Presley Martono in the opening race in Chennai.
At the start, van Kalmthout made a blistering getaway from third on the grid, picking Drugovich off the line and reeling in Martono at Turn 2.
He immediately established a healthy cushion of six seconds in the first five laps, eventually crossing the line with a winning margin of 6.498s.
While van Kalmthout was untouchable at front, Martono and Drugovich were involved in a feisty fight for the runner-up spot.
The two drivers were separated by less than a second until Drugovich made a mistake and ran wide at a corner, allowing Martono the breathing space needed to secure the runner-up spot.
Third place, however, was enough for Drugovich to seal his first single-seater title. The Brazilian has accumulated 275 points so far, 81 more than his nearest rival Martono.
If the Indonesian goes on to win the remaining three races as well as setting the fastest lap in each of them, and Drugovich scores no points, the Brazilian will still be able to win the title on the basis of more race victories.
Meanwhile, some way behind the leading trio, GP3 racer Julien Falchero crossed the line in fourth place, while Daniel Frost was less than a second adrift in fifth.
Alex Karkosik was next up in sixth and ahead of Harri Jones, Dylan Young and Henning Enqvist. The top 10 was completed by Michelangelo Amendola.
Kurt Hill and Louis Gachot were the only two retirements from the race, the latter having to park his car after being shown a black flag.
Drugovich favourite for MRF crown in Chennai finale
Chennai MRF: Martono wins crash-filled Race 2