Sakhir (Bahrain): British driver Rupert Svendsen-Cook stormed back into the title fight with a dominant win in Race 4 of the MRF Challenge Round 3 at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) here Saturday.
Svendsen-Cook won the race ahead of Shinya Michimi and Sam Dejonghe as his main title rivals faltered. Championship leader Tio Ellinas was given a drive through penalty for a jump start while Arthur Pic had to retire after a collision with Renan Guerra.
Earlier in the day, Ellinas beat Svendsen-Cook and Pic to win Race 3.
Svendsen-Cook started on pole position alongside Ellinas in the morning. Svendsen-Cook had a clean start and went into the lead with Ellinas and Dejonghe behind him.
Pic starting in fourth position held on to his position in front of Brazilian driver Guerra. Svendsen-Cook made a mistake on lap 3 allowing Ellinas to get a run on him and pass him on the main straight. On the same lap, Pic made a move on Dejonghe to move into third place. While Ellinas started to slowly pull away, Pic started to close in on Svendsen-Cook with 5 laps to go.
Pic made a move on Svendsen-Cook on the final lap but could not make it stick and ended up finishing third. Ellinas crossed the finish line to take his third win out of the last four races to increase his championship lead with Pic second and Svendsen-Cook third.
In Race 4, Michimi started on reverse-grid pole position alongside Dejonghe.
Both front row drivers started well holding their positions while Svendsen-Cook had one more of his trademark starts and jumped to third place from fifth on the grid. Ellinas moved into fourth place with Harry Tincknell and Pic behind him.
Svendsen-Cook made a move on Dejonghe and got past him on lap 2 and then set his sights on Michimi. It took him another 2 laps but Svendsen-Cook got past Michimi to take the lead on lap 5.
Behind him there was action all around with Ellinas getting past Dejonghe for third place. Tincknell, Pic and Guerra were involved in a close battle which ended with Guerra colliding with Pic forcing both drivers to retire on the spot.
The drama continued when Ellinas was given a drive though penalty and was forced to come in to the pits to serve the penalty, putting him out of the points. With both Pic and Ellinas out of the points, Svendsen-Cook took advantage to cross the finish line in first in first place with Michimi second and Dejonghe third.
Behind them Tincknell picked up another fourth place.
The Indian drivers enjoyed their best finish to date with an 8th and 9th place for Vikash Anand and Raj Bharath. Both drove well to move up the field and into the top 10.