Having now committed herself to competing in the remaining rounds of the MRF Challenge Formula 2000 series, Tatiana Calderón continued the strong form she showed in Abu Dhabi with another podium finish in Bahrain to solidify her championship credentials.
With the momentum of her triple podium finish in Abu Dhabi behind her, Tatiana once again made an immediate impression in a competitive field at the Bahrain International Circuit, quickly familiarising herself with a new track with the help of her compatriot Juan Pablo Montoya – whose early Formula 1 success served as the motivation for Tatiana to begin go-karting at the age of nine.
The packed schedule, which also included the FIA World Endurance Championship as well as the GP2 and GP3 Series, meant there was only limited track time available, and Tatiana’s practice time was further curtailed by a loose engine cover. Despite this setback, she went on to qualify fourth in an extremely closely fought session, lapping just 0.08s off the pace of poleman Alessio Picariello.
Making the sort of strong start that has been her trademark in European Formula 3 this year, Tatiana immediately climbed two positions to second, although recurrent oversteer left her powerless to defend from Nikita Troitskiy in their early battle for position. The Colombian’s focus then shifted to keeping Pietro Fittipaldi at bay for third; in doing so, she secured her fourth successive MRF Challenge podium.
Starting from fourth again, things were less straightforward for Tatiana in Race 2 – being baulked by a rival approaching the first corner cost her vital positions, and a collision with Tarun Reddy later on the opening lap left her with steering damage that stymied her progress through the field. Nonetheless, a gritty and determined drive by the 22-year-old resulted in a sixth place finish, securing her more crucial points for the championship fight.
Tatiana Calderón: “After the first round in Abu Dhabi went so well, we decided to sign up for the rest of the MRF Challenge series, starting with Bahrain. It was a special weekend too as the series was supporting WEC, so there were a lot of people there watching. I also had some help from my idol Juan Pablo Montoya, who was there to test for Porsche – he’s won everything, so it was a great experience to have his input! Although I didn’t get the result I hoped for in the second race, I was pleased to get back on the podium in race one and score more valuable points for the championship.”
Tatiana remains third in the MRF Challenge points standings, only 14 behind leader Fittipaldi with two meetings and eight races still to go. The next of these takes place on 18-19 December at the Dubai Autodrome, which will follow on from an all-important GP3 test appearance in Abu Dhabi at the start of the month.
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