Sakhir (Bahrain): Cypriot Tio Ellinas bounced back in fine fashion to beat championship leader Arthur Pic in Race 3 of Round 2 of the MRF Challenge at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) here Saturday.
The two championship contenders traded positions five times in the first two laps before Ellinas finally pulled away to win his first race of the weekend. Sam Dejonghe passed Rupert Svendsen-Cook on the last lap to take the final step of the podium. Pic had won the opening race from Ellinas earlier in the day while Svendsen-Cook had won the lone race Friday.
Ellinas started on pole after setting the fastest time in qualifying. Both Ellinas and Pic had great starts but it was Pic who took the lead as they crossed Turn 1. Both drivers were side-by-side for the next three corners before Ellinas took the lead into Turn 4.
They were still together as Pic took the lead again. The first two laps had both drivers battling for the lead before Ellinas took the lead on Lap 3. Behind them Dejonghe had a great start from seventh on the grid and passed Sam Brabham and Shinya Michimi to move into fourth.
Svendsen-Cook, in third place, caught Pic and started to put pressure on him. Ellinas continued to pull away while Pic, Svendsen-Cook and Dejonghe battled for second spot. Svendsen-Cook tried to get past Pic on the last lap but could not make the move stick, letting Dejonghe make a move on him in the last lap and get past to take the final podium spot.
Sam Brabham, son of Le Mans legend David Brabham, finished fifth.
Japan’s Yudai Jinkawa, female driver Carmen Jorda and Australian Dylan Young had their own battle taking place as they fought for eighth position. Behind them the three Indian drivers were fighting their own battle for a top-10 finish.