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ITALIAN GRAND PRIX
Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. 23 August 2017
July 25, 2017
Published on tags: 2017 Formula Challenge mdr

 

As we are already half way through the mid-season break, the Formula Challenge rookie outfit, MDR Motorsports takes this opportunity to refect on their first half of the championship.

Soon after the 2nd round of the championship, the Russian Grand Prix, an opportunity arose for a new team to enter the grid for the Chinese Grand Prix until the end of the season, that team being the recently founded MDR Motorsports. Despite only existing since December 2016, MDR Motorsports had already entered teams in multiple series with strong driver line-ups, and yet seeking a further challenge to build their pofile up, in the form of the GPVWC Career Ladder. Despite the short notice, MDR Motorsports had completed their driver line-up within the 2 weeks build-up to the 3rd round of the championship. Their line-up consisted of GPVWC veteran Philipp Konig, and Formula Challenge rookie Konrad Bar. Despite the vast difference in experience between the two in the series, both have had very equal performance on track, even if the results show otherwise, with Konig currently sitting in 12th on 84 points whilst Konrad being a further 10 places down in 22nd on 29 points.

The season started with a double points finish in the teams first ever race at China with an 8th place for Konig and a solid 12th place for Bar, however race 2 was to have a different fortune for the Pole as he dnf'd 3 laps to the end, whilst his teammate Konig improved on his race 1 result with a 7th place. All in all, China proved to be a highly successful round for both the drivers and the team in general, providing MDR with the confidence that they can secure strong results throughout the remainder of the season.

Next up was round 4, the Spanish Grand Prix. With Konig having to sit out after issues unrelated to sim-racing, MDR Co-founder Josh Downard too the Philipp's seat last minute. However, Konrad's misfortunes followed him as round 4 began with a retirement just 5 laps into the race whilst Downard brought the car home in P14, and more importantly points in his first and only race to date as he was unable to attend the 2nd race of the event. With Bar being the sole car on the grid representing MDR, the pressure was on to put an end to his bad luck, which he did after finishing an important P9 in the sprint race. Overall, Spain saw MDR continue to impress, and furthermore demonstrate that they are a genuine contender for the midfield.

The Formula Challenge championship now moved onto the 5th round of the championship, hosted by the Red Bull Ring, the Austrian Grand Prix. This time its Bar which is unable to partake in the round, and with no emergency driver until the 2nd race, Konig had the pressure of the team relying on himself to bring home valuable points towards the championship. This however was not to be the case as Konig struggled to get the car to work for both races, resulting in 19th and 24th, and with emergency driver Miles Dixon also unable to finish in race 2, MDR saw their first non-scoring round of their 2017 Formula Challenge campaign.

Entering round 6, MDR signed the services of Finn Tuomas Koriala as reserve driver, and with Bar unable to attend the event again, Tuomas' was set to make his debut with he team imminently. Despite a lack of practice, Koriala's pace was strong, but a combination of the tracks unforgivable nature, and an inexperienced understanding of the car saw a retirement for the Finn in both races. Konig however saw the finish line in both races, with an unlucky P19 in race 1, but a respectable 11th in race 2.

Onto the Canadian Grand Prix for round 7, and this time it's Konig which was unable to make the race. With no driver for race 1, Bar was on his own to make up for the lack of points from Monaco, however unfortunately, Konrad retired on lap 11. Entering the second race, co-owner of MDR Jack Mayor filled in for the absent Philipp Konig. The changing track conditions saw a clear divide in strategy for all drivers. With the track beginning to dry out towards the end, many of the drivers including Mayor began to pit for slick compounds, however Bar stayed out in the greasy conditions. This payed off for the Pole as he crossed the finish line in a superb 8th place, whilst Mayor was unable to overtake off-line and as such, completed the race just outside the points in P17.

Up next was the teams most important race yet, the home race, the British Grand Prix. The even started with high hopes as Tuomas Koriala (standing in for Bar) took 2nd place on the grid, the teams best qualifying result yet. After an intense and controversial race, which saw Tuomas Koriala and Roy Schroten come together, the Finn came home in an impressive P5, whilst Konig finished in a solid P9. The second race has separate fortunes, as a lap 1 incident saw Konig spinning and resulted in a 17th place finish, and then changing conditions saw mistakes from Koriala, he then went on to finish in a decent 12th position. All in all, the 8th round had provided many positives again for the MDR Motorsports team to take away from the event.

Finally we reach the 9th round of the championship, the Hungarian Grand Prix. The first race saw a thrilling scrap between both Bar and Konig, before both cars crossed the line safely, with Konig finishing 4th, and Bar 5th. After this great result, race 2 was to follow, however, Bar's race was ended prematurely after a retirement on lap 3, however Konig impressed again with a second 4th place finish, rounding up the first half of the season on a high.

Team owner Jack Mayor had this to say:
"To be where we are at this point in the season is a great effort. Of course we naturally want to be higher in the championship, but with everything taken to consideration, such as our inconsistency of drivers attendance (of no fault of their own), and the fact we wasn't even apart of the entry list until China, I think to be in 12th in the teams standings on 102 points is a fantastic job by all the team. I believe we have the momentum now to build on our results, and so the target for the end of the season is 8th in the teams championship. Whilst this may appear ambitious to some from 12th place, I think that our recent on-track performance, along with consistent point's finishes, and now a double top 5 in Hungary, shows that the entire team is improving race by race, and as such, we are only growing stronger as an outfit. I would finally like to thank all drivers who have competed for MDR Motorsports so far in 2017, as without the drivers, the team simply couldn't exist as it is today. I'd also like to thank Tuomas again for all his efforts in the team, but due to personal reasons, he will be leaving his position of reserve driver in August, and therefore the team will be in need of a new driver. So I'd like to announce the latest member to the MDR Motorsports team to be Ryan Nash, who'll be acting as reserve driver in the Formula Challenge championship, along with taking part in various other series to build confidence and gain a familiarity towards the atmosphere found within the MDR team."

So as we enter the final half of the championship, MDR has a strong foundation to build on, and with both drivers finishing in the top 5 last round, the entire team has the momentum to improve both drivers and team's positions in the respected championships.



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