Red Bull Junior Dennis Hauger (16, Norway, Van Amersfoort Racing) secured a comfortable lights-to-flag victory in the opening race of the ADAC Formula 4 race weekend at the Red Bull Ring and a maiden win in the ADAC High-Speed Academy. The Norwegian won the fourth race of the season by a clear margin ahead of Alessandro Ghiretti (17, France, US Racing CHRS) and William Alatalo (18, Finland, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg eV). Roman Stanek (15, Czech Republic, US Racing CHRS), who started third and finished seventh, was Best Rookie.
"Things could hardly have gone better," said Hauger, who will again be in pole position for the second race on Sunday (9:55 am). "I'm very, very happy with my first win in ADAC Formula 4. The car is running extremely well, but there are two more races tomorrow, so we can't rest on our laurels - we have to continue to work hard in order to maintain our success."
Gianluca Petecof (16, Brazil, Prema Powerteam) also drove an outstanding race. The winner of the opening round at Oschersleben moved up from twelfth on the grid to finish fifth. Alessandro Famularo (15, Venezuela, Prema Powerteam) took P4 ahead of Petecof and Arthur Leclerc (18, Monaco, US Racing CHRS), brother of Formula 1 shooting star Charles Leclerc. Stanek, who currently leads the standings, finished ahead of ADAC Sports Foundation protégé, Niklas Krütten (16, Germany, Van Amersfoort Racing). Oliver Rasmussen (18, Denmark, Prema Powerteam) in P9 and Ido Cohen (17, Israel, Van Amersfoort Racing) in tenth place also finished in the points.
Hauger, who had dominated qualifying earlier, successfully defended the top spot after the start. Ghiretti and Famularo were hot on his heels, but after five minutes or so of racing, Joshua Dürksen (15, Paraguay, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg eV) spun off the track and his car had to be recovered. Ivan Berets (18, Russia, DRZ BENELLI) also retired. The safety car was only out on track for just under four minutes - and Hauger got away perfectly on the restart.
"I was able to pull out a gap and quickly draw away a little after the restart," he said. "After that, I just managed my tyres and made sure that I finished the race with as few mistakes as possible. I really like the track: it's challenging, and I'm already looking forward to the next two races."
While Hauger steadily drew away in the lead, a couple of exciting battles for position developed behind him. Niklas Krütten was forced to fend off attacks from the two US Racing CHRS drivers, Leclerc and Stanek, for quite some time. However, they both pulled past him in the end. Alatalo produced some excellent overtaking manoeuvres as he worked his way up from eighth place to third.
Two more ADAC Formula 4 races at the Red Bull Ring will follow on Sunday. Hauger will again be in pole position at 9:55 am. The result of this second race will determine the starting order for the third and final race on Sunday afternoon at 3.35 pm, i.e. the Top Eight will start in reverse order. The ADAC Formula 4 races are being shown on the SPORT1 free-to-air TV channel. They can also be watched online on the livestreams provided by the ADAC Formula 4 Facebook channel, by YouTube.com/adac, sport1.de and by adac.de/motorsport.
Further comments about the ADAC Formula 4 race
Alessandro Ghiretti (P2, US Racing CHRS): "I started second and finished second. I got off to a good start and gave chase to Hauger. After the safety car, I had to ease off and look after my tyres. I finished second, so I am satisfied."
William Alatalo (P3, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.): "The start was good, I went into the race from eighth and gained some places. After a few laps, I was up to third, but then the pace wasn't so good and I was unable to close the gap on second. Famularo, who was behind me, had better pace and caught up, so I had to concentrate on holding off his challenge. Consequently, I'm very happy with third place."
Roman Stanek (Best Rookie, US Racing CHRS): "My start was not so good, and I lost some positions. But I fought back well, and in the end I scored some championship points. The battles for position are very important for me because I am always able to learn a lot from them. Tomorrow, I'd like to do even better and in any case to get back on the podium."