Arthur Pic will contest the second round of the 2013 MRF Challenge series in Bahrain this weekend (29/30 November) where the Frenchman is looking to extend his lead atop the championship standings.
Pic was the standout performer at the MRF season-opener in India last month, claiming pole position and victory in the Formula 1 support event’s feature race after being asked to compete on behalf of Renault.
A damaged front wing sustained on his way through the pack forced him to settle for P5 in the sprint contest, but Pic was nevertheless able to leave the Buddh International Circuit with a five-point championship advantage. This weekend will represent his first competitive outing in the Gulf State, and the Montélimar native is keen to use the experience to get to grips with the 6.3km circuit ahead of 2014.
“I’ve not competed here before so this is a good chance to learn the track for GP2 next season,” said Arthur. “I also had a really good time at the opening round in India, so when Renault asked if I’d like to race here too I was very happy to accept.”
Having waited five weeks since last turning a wheel in anger Pic will complete an extremely busy schedule in Bahrain, with four races taking place in little over 24 hours.
“After free practice there will be one qualifying session,” explained Arthur. “Each driver’s fastest lap will set their grid position for Friday’s feature race, while their second best will give them their starting spot for Saturday’s.
“There will also be sprint races on Friday and Saturday, with the line-up for these set using a reversed top-six from the feature races. Basically, we are doing two weekends of running in one!”
And with a further round set to be staged in Bahrain – which Pic will also contest thanks to the support of Renault – the 22-year-old will enjoy significant track-time at the grand prix venue, and has his sights set on two strong weekends.
“I’ll be racing at the next MRF Challenge round, which is also in Bahrain on December 19-21,” Pic confirmed. “I probably won’t compete at the final event in Chennai as this will clash with preparations for the 2014 GP2 season, which has to take priority.
“Overall I am really looking forward to the races and, following the Indian round, I’m targeting strong results. It’s always good to have a winning weekend.”
Pic’s MRF Challenge event will run in support of the FIA World Endurance Championship season finale, which takes place at the Bahrain circuit on Saturday.
MRF Challenge standings
1. Arthur Pic – 35 points
2. Tio Ellinas – 30
3. Rupert Svendsen-Cook – 25
For more information on Arthur Pic please visit www.arthurpic.com