Bahrain MRF Challenge: Schumacher leads the way in practice

Mick Schumacher and Ralf Aron topped the two practice sessions in the opening round of the MRF Challenge at Bahrain, on Thursday.

The first session of the Indian international FIA-sanctioned series was led by the European F3 duo as Aron finished ahead of Harrison Newey, with a time of 2m01.144s.

Schumacher was third in the order in FP1, but the German driver went quicker in FP2, leading the way with a time of 2m00.467s, bettering last year's time at this circuit by three seconds.

"It is my first time driving here so I spent the first few laps familiarizing myself with the circuit, which I really enjoyed driving at," Schumacher said.

"The car is step forward from last year’s car and I felt comfortable straight away. I was happy with how today went but now it is time to focus on qualifying and the race for tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, Aron was beaten to second by German F4 champion Joey Mawson in FP2, after the Australian ended up in seventh earlier in the day.

Newey was sixth in the second session, as Dutch rookie Rinus Van Kalmthout impressed with double top 10 finish at eighth and fourth respectively.

"The updated car is definitely a step forward. You can feel the engine and braking is much better," said Newey.

"The car is also lighter so finding a right balance is easier. I am happy with practice today and look forward to getting up there in qualifying tomorrow."

The 2014-15 MRF Challenge champion Toby Sowery was a late addition to the list and ended up at ninth and fifth in the two sessions.

Ex-F1 driver Pastor Maldonado's cousin Manuel improved his time by just over half a second from 11th in FP1 to finish seventh in FP2.

Whereas the Italian F4 rookie champion Juri Vips also had a good outing ending up fourth and ninth respectively.

FP1 results:

PosDriverTime/Gap
1  Ralf Aron 2m01.144s
2  Harrison Newey 0.119
3  Mick Schumacher 0.226
4  Juri Vips  0.555
5  Felipe Drugovich 0.566
6  Kimi Schramm 0.594
7  Joey Mawson 0.732
8  Rinus Van Kalmthout 0.984
9  Toby Sowery 1.329
10  Moraes Cardoso 1.936
11  Manuel Maldonado 2.023
12  Yoshiaki Katayama 3.135
13  Bruna Tomaselli 3.215
14  Dylan Young 3.543
15  Bobby Eberle 5.623
16  Christophe Mariot 8.308
17  Pavan Ravishanker 3m12.107s

FP2 results:

PosDriverTime/Gap
1  Mick Schumacher 2m00.467s
2  Joey Mawson 0.119
3  Ralf Aron 0.422
4  Rinus Van Kalmthout 0.497
5  Toby Sowery 1.032
6  Harrison Newey 1.162
7  Manuel Maldonado 1.250
8  Dylan Young  1.330
9  Felipe Drugovich  2.066
10  Juri Vips 2.169
11  Kimi Schramm 2.466
12  Yoshiaki Katayama 2.668
13  Moraes Cardoso 2.701
14  Bruna Tomaselli 2.933
15  Pavan Ravishanker 4.101
16  Bobby Eberle 4.959
17  Christophe Mariot 11.012

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About this article
Series Indian Open Wheel
Event MRF Challenge: Bahrain
Track Bahrain International Circuit
Article type Practice report