Doha: MRF 1600 champion Tarun Reddy put on a brilliant display to become the youngest race winner in the 2014 MRF Challenge as he took the chequered flag in Round 1 of the series at the Losail International Circuit here Saturday.
The 16-year-old Tarun held off Russia's Nikita Mazepin to lead from start to finish in the reverse grid Race 2 with Toby Sowery coming in third after beating Mathias Lauda by 0.068 seconds on the final straight.
It was Tarun's first international win after getting a drive that he earned after winning the MRF 1600 title. In Race 1, 18-year-old Toby dominated to comfortably win ahead of Ryan Cullen and Kyle Mitchell.
The main feature Race 1 started with Toby on pole position with Nikita alongside him. Raj Bharath, who had qualified in fourth, had trouble before the race even began and was forced to start from the pit lane along with Freddie Hunt.
As the red lights went out, Toby managed to hold off Cullen for the lead and started setting blistering pace, almost a second faster than the rest of the field.
Behind him, Cullen kept second place with Kyle in third. Lauda, running fourth, caught Kyle and put pressure on him but could not find a way past.
Toby managed to pull an 18-second lead to comfortably win the first race of the season with Cullen and Mitchell completing the podium. Lauda finished fourth with Mazepin and Tarun in fifth and sixth positions, respectively.
Race 2 started with the top six drivers on reverse grid formation. Tarun, starting on pole position, had a great start and went into the lead ahead of second placed Nikita.
Nikita stayed on Tarun's tail the entire race, trying to pressurise the Indian into making a mistake. Mazepin came close to making a move for the lead on Lap 9 but could not make the move stick.
Tarun held on to win a brilliant consistent drive. Behind the top two, there was action starting from Lap 1.
Race 1 winner Toby ran wide in the first corner and dropped to 10th place. He began carving his way through the field and was in fourth position with two laps to go.
Lauda, who was in third position for most of the race, was caught by Toby as both drivers battled for the final podium spot. On the final lap, both came down the main straight side-by-side with almost nothing to choose from them. The timing screens showed that Toby had beaten Lauda by 0.068 seconds to get third as they crossed the finish line.
Behind them Kyle finished fifth ahead of Cullen and Raj while Vikash Anand finished ninth.