Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK – Tuesday 18 February, 2014
Sam Brabham Digs Deep To Seal First Top 10 International Ranking
Sam Brabham signed off his debut MRF Challenge season with a gritty and determined performance that bagged another top seven points-paying finish and a further trio of top 10 results in the final series rounds at Madras Motor Racing Track. The 19 year-old’s tenacious drive to overcome numerous challenges in Chennai, India, sealed an impressive ninth in the championship standings, in his first international racing campaign.
Confident of a repeat of his round two top five form, Brabham went into the final mammoth five-race event of the season intent on making up for lost points following his two forced mechanical DNFs as the last rounds in Bahrain.
His final MRF Challenge bid, however, didn’t get off to the best of starts thanks to an engine seizure on Thursday morning. Forced to miss the entire day of testing, Brabham was afforded a single session to bed-in the engine, learn the track and develop the car before qualifying.
Despite initially struggling on the wrong set-up, the recently selected BRDC Rising Star and MSA Academy driver continued to tweak the car throughout the weekend with encouraging effect. Charging from 13th to eighth, despite nursing a destroyed front left tyre, in race one preceded a storming drive from 13th to seventh in race two to complete Saturday’s efforts.
Brabham then came painfully close to emulating his top seven efforts in races three and four on Sunday, only to be forced to take evasive action on both occasions while lying seventh and sixth respectively. Yet the University of Northampton undergraduate dug deep each time, despite battling horrendous understeer that was destroying his tyres, to salvage a further 11th, 8th and 9th place points paying finishes.
“We started on the back foot from the start this weekend, but somehow out of engine and tyre issues, massive understeer and a damaged front wing, I managed to salvage some decent results, which is really pleasing.
“To finish ninth in the championship is just amazing. Coming into my first MRF Challenge season off the back of my first year in single-seaters in the UK was a big step and I never though I’d finish that high up. It’s a shame we had the two mechanical DNFs in Bahrain, as I’m sure I missed out on some more top five finishes, but that’s racing and I know I can do it.
“Racing in the MRF Challenge has really helped me to improve as a driver. Just getting more track time and competing at a higher level, with guys that have done a lot of racing in different cars, and driven a car with more downforce than I have, has really helped me to develop my race craft.
“Now I’m looking forward to bringing everything I’ve learnt back with me to the UK as I focus on my Formula Ford team tests and look to confirm my plans for 2014.”