Jamie Chadwick from Bath, England, scripted history in the MRF Challenge by becoming the first female driver to win the championship in seven seasons. She finished the third and final round of the international series with a triple crown, including two back-to-back wins, at the MMRT here on Sunday.
While Chadwick ended the championship with 280 points, including two bonus points for the fastest lap in the last race, Belgium’s Max Defourny, who came into the final round here with an 18-point advantage, failed to consolidate and ended up with 243 points. Pasma took the third spot in the championship with 186 points, ahead of German Andreas Estner (181).
An elated Chadwick said: “It (winning the championship) hasn’t sunk in yet. I would like to thank my team too and am happy that everything came together this weekend. In the last race, I made some mistakes which cost me a bit of the lead, but I quickly composed myself and made sure I won.
“I came into the MRF Challenge for some experience and exposure and not to win the championship. But after winning three races in Bahrain, I realised I was in with a chance and so went for it this weekend.”
Earlier, Pasma (Finland) had to work hard for his second win of the weekend in Race-3, which was briefly interrupted by a Safety Car period after Joshua Mason spun and blocked the track in the seventh lap. Pasma, starting from pole position, built up a comfortable, if not commanding lead, over Belgian Michelangelo Amendola before the pack bunched up behind the Safety Car. On re-strart, Pasma was harried all the way by Amendola, but managed to hang on and post his second win of the weekend. Finishing third behind Amendola was Swede Linus Lindqvist, the 2018 British F3 champion.
However, from the championship title perspective, the focus was on the battle between Chadwick and Defourny, with the British youngster managing to finish ahead of the Belgian in fifth position. Defourny came in seventh, which helped Chadwick to extend her lead by five points with two races remaining. Chadwick expanded her championship lead over Defourny to 18 by winning Race-4, that was stopped and restarted following two incidents in the very first lap leading to retirement of three cars and the race distance reduced to 18 laps from scheduled 20. Chadwick had a fine start from P2 on the grid, moving past pole-sitter Jack Doohan (Australia) and then defended her position to chalk up her second win of the weekend. Defourny registered his best finish of the weekend by coming home fourth behind Chadwick, Amendola and Doohan.