Former DTM champion Timo Scheider presented Zendeli with the winner's trophy  Photo: ADAC Formel 4
Former DTM champion Timo Scheider presented Zendeli with the winner's trophy Photo: ADAC Formel 4

Tales from the Hockenheim paddock

Schumacher and Krütten battle for Rookie honours

Two wins and P3 for Lirim Zendeli. Jack Doohan in his maiden ADAC Formula 4 race.

Hockenheim: Second round of the ADAC Formula 4 at Hockenheim as the DTM gets its season underway. The junior ADAC Formula 4 drivers showed their class and produced three strong races against the terrific backdrop of the DTM. Lirim Zendeli (18, Germany, USA Racing CHRS) in particular made a big impact. The championship leader won two of the three races and crowned his strong weekend with third place on Sunday. Among the rookies, David Schumacher (16, Germany, US Racing CHRS) and Niklas Krütten (15, Germany, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.) battled hard for top honours. Also, Jack Doohan (15, Australia, Prema Theodore Racing), the son of five-time motorcycling world champion Mick Doohan, made his debut in the ADAC high-speed school.

The ADAC Formula 4 drivers now have a two-week break before meeting up again with the DTM stars at the Lausitzring on the weekend of 18th - 20th of May for races seven, eight and nine. SPORT1 will broadcast the ADAC high-speed school's races on TV. They will also be freely available online as livestream at sport1.de, adac.de/motorsport and youtube.com/adac.

On top form: 18-year-old Lirim Zendeli is currently the man to beat in the ADAC Formula 4. He secured two wins on Saturday but seemed more pleased with his third place on Sunday, because he had started this race from P8 on the grid. The championship leader found himself back on the podium in third place after his 30-minute charge up the field. "Everything is going really well, but the competition never sleeps. The season is still in its infancy," said Zendeli, who drives for Kerpen-based racing team, US Racing CHRS. To finish on the podium in all three races during a weekend is a feat that very few ADAC Formula 4 drivers have ever achieved previously. Joey Mawson (22, Australia, Van Amersfoort Racing) is one of them and won the championship in 2016. Does that augur well for Zendeli? "The championship remains the goal. After all, I'm in my third year now, so I've just got to win," said Zendeli.

Wheel-to-wheel racing: Things are very close in the Rookie classification after this second ADAC Formula 4 race weekend. David Schumacher and Niklas Krütten in particular are doing extremely well in the ADAC high-speed school. Krütten (15) even finished on the podium in second place on Sunday and narrowly missed taking victory from Mick Wishofer (18, Austria, US Racing CHRS). "At the moment, everything is going well. I wanted to win, of course, but Mick was too strong today," said Krütten. "I couldn't beat him. Nevertheless, I'm very satisfied with second place. And then to finish as best rookie into the bargain! That was a great way to round off the weekend, but we've still got a long haul in front of us."

Big stage: The DTM season opener attracted plenty of spectators to the Hockenheimring, which also benefited the young ADAC Formula 4 drivers, who had lined up in Oschersleben earlier for the start of their season. Rookie Niklas Krütten thought that it was a very special experience. "It feels really great to drive into the Motodrom and see all the fans. Real cool for sure," he said and was by no means the only one to think that. But there's much more to come when the ADAC Formula 4 will be continuing its season at the Lausitzring in conjunction with the DTM again in just two weeks' time, (18th - 20th May). However, the real highlight of the year will be the joint meeting at Hockenheim with Formula 1 (20th - 22nd July).

Famous names: The list of famous names in the ADAC Formula 4 keeps getting longer, as another one was added this weekend with Jack Doohan, the son of five-time motorcycling world champion Mick Doohan. Jack made his ADAC Formula 4 debut at Hockenheim, and it quickly became clear that the young man from Down Under could easily keep up. Doohan finished eighth, sixth and fifth in the three races and was extremely satisfied.

Sightseeing: The two Brazilians Enzo Fittipaldi (16) and Gianluca Petecof (15) took a bit of time off from motorsport this weekend before racing at the Hockenheimring and headed to nearby Schwetzingen. The ADAC Formula 4 drivers from Prema Theodore Racing strolled through the castle and grounds at Schwetzingen, recording everything for posterity as photos to be posted to their Instagram accounts.

Old friend back on the scene: Joel Eriksson (20, Sweden), who was runner-up in the ADAC Formula 4 inaugural season in 2015, made his debut in the DTM this weekend at the Hockenheimring for BMW Team RBM. And he did well in his first races in his new environment, taking P12 and 4.

Young talent gets to meet his idol: Young Brazilian driver, Gianluca Petecof, from Team Prema Theodore Racing met his big idol before the race weekend for a photo shoot in the pit lane and will, no doubt, remember the event fondly for many years to come after taking selfies with fellow Brazilian, Augusto Farfus, who has competed with BMW for six years in the DTM.

2019 Season