Pourchaire (middle of picture) took win from Hauger and Petecof Photo: ADAC Formel 4
Pourchaire (middle of picture) took win from Hauger and Petecof Photo: ADAC Formel 4

Battle for title will reach its climax

Pourchaire wins penultimate race of season from Hauger

French teenager has 14-point lead on Red Bull Junior. Belov with first win of season earlier this morning.

The fight for the ADAC Formula 4 drivers' title is going to the wire in a big showdown. Championship leader, Theo Pourchaire (16, France, US Racing CHRS), won the second round of the weekend at the Sachsenring and holds all the aces before Sunday's final race at 9.25 am. Still, the title winner has not yet been decided after 19 of 20 races in the ADAC High-Speed Academy but will reach its climax in a battle with Dennis Hauger (16, Norway, Van Amersfoort Racing) in a grand finale. Pourchaire drove to his fourth win of the year, consigning five-time race winner Hauger to second place. Brazilian Gianluca Petecof (16, Prema Powerteam) completed the party on the podium, so Pourchaire goes into the final round with a 14-point lead on Hauger.

Positions on the grid for the last race of the season will stir things up, making it even more exciting. According to the regulations, the Top Eight from Race 2 always start the third race in reverse order, so Pourchaire will be in P8 on the grid while Hauger will be just in front of him in seventh place. They will both have to go on a charge. "It's great to be 14 points ahead, but I know it's not over yet. I have one more race to run and must do well," said Pourchaire, "Dennis will start in front of me, so I'll have to be on my toes. Today's race was mega! It's a great feeling to win."

Hauger is in the mood for a fight and has not yet given up all hope of clinching the title, not by a long chalk. "I'll have to play my ace tomorrow. I'll be in front of Theo on the grid, and he's had some problems before, starting like this from these positions. Hopefully, I can move up and he'll drop back, but I just have to work hard and hope for the best," he said. Hauger and Pourchaire have put their stamp on this season, having won nine races between them, which equates to almost half of all the races run so far.

Pourchaire started out from pole position this afternoon at the Sachsenring. Hauger was in fourth place, but Pourchaire showed signs of weakness when the lights went out. The Russian Michael Belov (17, R-ace GP), who had celebrated his maiden victory in the junior series earlier this morning in the first race of the weekend, took the lead. But not for long! Pourchaire went into P1 on the second lap. Belov lost a couple of places during the manoeuvre. To Pourchaire's rear, Hauger was stuck behind Petecof for quite some time. Pourchaire confidently took control of events, and despite a safety car deployment following a mistake by rookie driver, Kristian Thaqi (19, Kosovo, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.), Hauger was still unable to find a way past Petecof.

The situation only changed when there was another incident involving Sebastian Estner (17, Germany, Van Amersfoort Racing) and Laszlo Toth (19, Hungary, R-ace GP). Pourchaire asserted himself again on the restart while Hauger behind him now managed to take the place from Petecof. Hauger had only two laps left for an attack on Pourchaire. However, an incident that involved Oliver Rasmussen (18, Denmark, Prema Powetream), Nico Göhler (16, Germany, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg eV) and Ido Cohen (18, Israel, van Amersfoort Racing) brought the safety car back out, neutralizing the race until the end.

"My pace was great. I wanted to attack Theo at all costs on the last lap, then I saw the safety car sign - but that's just the way it is sometimes," said Hauger: "Getting past Petecof was hard, but I managed to do it at some point. It just took too long."

Gregoire Saucy (19, Switzerland, R-ace GP) came home behind the three leading drivers to finish fourth ahead of Arthur Leclerc (18, US Racing CHRS) from Monaco. As a result, the brother of Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc no longer has a chance of winning the championship title, mathematically speaking. Leclerc, though, secured valuable points for his outfit in the team classification, but US Racing CHRS can only take the title in theory. Joshua Dürksen (15, Paraguay, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.) in sixth was best Rookie.

Belov celebrated his maiden victory in the ADAC High-Speed Academy in Race 1 on Saturday morning after making a strong start. He got a better start than pole-sitter, Pourchaire, as was the case again later in the second race, and secured victory at the chequered flag. Pourchaire, Saucy and Hauger followed him home. Norwegian driver, Hauger, was in P2 for a time but lost the place again when his attack on Belov failed.

2019 Season