Chennai, Feb 16: Rupert Svendsen-Cook, the 23-year-old from Britain, emerged champion in the 2013 MRF Challenge series here Sunday with two podium finishes. The Londoner took home a purse of Rs.25 lakh, the most in Indian motorsport.
In a thrilling finish to the Formula 2000 series run on Renault engine, Svendsen-Cook, who led Tio Ellinas of Cyprus by nine points going into the final day, finished third in the first race and second in the final outing to finish with 215 points after having started the fourth and concluding round 22 points behind Ellinas.
On his part, Ellinas did well to finish ahead of Svendsen-Cook in the first race, but came in behind the Londoner in the next to end up with a tally of 213 points that fetched him a prize of Rs.15 lakh while Belgium’s Sam Dejonghe with two wins in three races this weekend, was third in the championship with 142 points, going home richer by Rs.10 lakh.
While the title clash was raging, Indian ace Narain Karthikeyan thrilled the crowd with a superb win in the first race. Lying fourth at one point in the 15-lap race, Karthikeyan pulled out all stops and gained three places in the final laps to emerge winner ahead of Ellinas and Sevendsen-Cook.
In the next race, however, Karthikeyan and Harry Ticknell came together. The Indian lost track position and was not classified.
Meanwhile, 16-year-old Chennai lad Tarun Reddy, winner of the first race Saturday, completed a double in the 2014 MRF Formula Ford 1600 championship with another last-lap overtaking in the second race Sunday.
Reddy, who has signed up for British Formula Renault series this year, started fourth in the reverse grid formation, but managed to move up the grid in the 10-lap race and eventually finished second behind Vikash Anand.
MRF Challenge F2000: Race -1 (15 laps): Narain Karthikeyan (India) 1 (26mins, 47.015secs); Tio Ellinas (Cyprus) 2 (26:48.706); Rupert Svendsen-Cook (UK) 3 (26:49.071); Sam Dejonghe (Belgium) 4 (26:50.954). Gaurav Gill, Raj Bharath, Vikash Anand (all India) not classified.
Race-2 (15 laps): Sam Dejonghe (Belgium) 1 (26:57.825); Rupert Svendsen-Cook (UK) 2 (27:04.476); Tio Ellinas (Cyprus) 3 (27:09.499). Gaurav Gill (India) 5 (27:12.891); Vikash Anand (India) 8 (27:19.635); Raj Bharath (India) 11 (27:25.260). Narain Karthikeyan (India) not classified.
MRF Formula Ford 1600 (10 laps): Tarun Reddy 1 (18:39.170); Vikash Anand 2 (18:39.626); Advait Deodhar 3 (18:47.370).