Singapore-born Pavan Ravishankar went fastest as the 2017 season of the MRF Challenge got underway at Bahrain International Circuit
With track conditions hotter than expected, Ravishankar set a best lap of two minutes 01.638 seconds to go top of the sheets in free practice two. Seventeen-year-old Brazilian driver Felipe Drugovich, who is a favourite for the title, set the fastest time in FP1 and is looking very strong heading into qualifying.
In the opening practice session of the weekend it was Drugovich who first went fastest as the other young drivers spent time familiarizing themselves with the circuit. Halfway through the session Drugovich led with a 2:02.449 ahead of Indonesian driver Presley Martono and Dylan Young. Drugovich went even faster posting a time of 2:01.684. French driver Julian Falchero impressed on his debut and slotted into second place with a 2:01.774. Behind him was Martono, Rinus Van Kalmthout and Ravishankar.
Free practice two saw Drugovich once again setting the early pace as he immediately went fast with a 2:02.451. The times started to tumble as the drivers continued to get used to the updated car.
Ravishankar showed his hand with seven minutes to go as he set a time of 2:01.638 – the fastest of the weekend so far. Polish driver Alex Karkosik continued his climb up the sheets as he set a time less than one tenth off a second off Ravishankar. Drugovich slotted into third.