The grand finale of the third season of the ADAC High-Speed Academy is fast approaching. There are still six races in all to be staged at the Sachsenring (15th - 17th September) and Hockenheim (22nd - 24th September), and the decider in the race for the ADAC Formula 4 title looks more and more like turning into a three-way fight. Juri Vips (17, Estonia, Prema Powerteam) leads the championship from Marcus Armstrong (17, New Zealand, Prema Powerteam) and Felipe Drugovich (17, Brazil, Van Amersfoort Racing), but their rivals, Kim-Luis Schramm (20, Germany, US Racing) and Lirim Zendeli (17, Germany, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.), also still have a chance of taking top positions.
JURI VIPS: The Estonian is really standing out in his second season in the ADAC Formula 4 with his consistency. Only in the third race at the Lausitzring did the Prema driver miss the points. Apart from that little blip, Juri Vips has continued to rack up points. As a result, Vips leads with 182.5 points, but so far, he has notched up fewer wins than his rivals, Armstrong and Drugovich. Vips knows that mistakes in the ADAC Formula 4 can have particularly serious consequences, and so, the Estonian is level-headed out on track and always in control. He was only able to score points in one race last year at the Sachsenring but did brilliantly well in the finale at Hockenheim, taking third place twice.
What Juri Vips had to say in the run-up to the title-decider: "Some races were a bit unfortunate, but I consistently finished in the points in almost all of them. I aim to secure as many points as possible before the final race. It may look a close-run thing at the moment, but the title fight will go on until the very last round."
MARCUS ARMSTRONG: Teething problems? Marcus Armstrong appears never to have heard of the word. The 17-year-old ADAC Formula 4 newcomer has consistently been one of the fastest ever since the second race weekend at the Lausitzring. Armstrong secured his first win at the Red Bull Ring and notched up two more at Oschersleben and the Nürburgring. On 171 points, the New Zealander is just behind team-mate Juri Vips and still has every chance of taking the ADAC Formula 4 title. Armstrong is similar to Vips in that he is very consistent, and so far, has only failed to secure points in two races. He is having a very successful year in 2017. In tandem with his involvement in the ADAC Formula 4, the 17-year-old also contests the Italian Formula 4, where he leads the championship.
What Marcus Armstrong had to say in the run-up to the title-decider: "The first half of the season was a roller-coaster, but I'm not too dissatisfied with second place in the overall standings, all things considered. The best bits for me have been my pole positions, and I will also definitely remember my wins. I'm not really too concerned about the championship standings. My goal is to secure as many victories as possible. It's going to be tough, fighting it out over the last couple of race weekends."
FELIPE DRUGOVICH: So far this year, the Brazilian has been the only driver to take four wins. However, the Van Amersfoort driver is not out in front but is currently third with 159.5 points. This is mainly, because Vips and Armstrong have been that bit more consistent than him. The 17-year-old has finished out of the points in four out of 15 races to date but has evened out the deficit with four wins and three other podiums. The Brazilian, who drove for Neuhauser Racing in 2016, his rookie year, knows the Sachsenring and the Hockenheimring but cannot say that he has fond memories of either circuit. He only took one point in total last year. A bad omen for this year's season finale? We will see in the last six races.
What Felipe Drugovich had to say in the run-up to the title-decider: "I can't really complain about the first half of the season. I'm very pleased that I'm the driver with the most wins and most kilometres in the lead. My goal in the last few races is to get even closer to the top of the overall rankings. I would love to see my name at the very head of the results sheet at the end of the season."
KIM-LUIS SCHRAMM: Kim-Luis Schramm only failed to finish in the points three times this season. He drives for Kerpen-based US Racing and is bringing all his experience into play in his third year in the ADAC Formula 4. The 20-year-old now has a two-pronged approach, as he also successfully contests endurance races in addition to being involved with Formula 4. He placed fifth overall last year and could make it into the Top Three this year.
What Kim-Luis Schramm had to say in the run-up to the title decider: "I've been able to score points consistently, especially in the last few races, and catch the Top Three in the overall standings. I hope it continues like that at the Sachsenring, and then I'll also be in with a chance of lifting the title. Everyone at the top of the table still has a good chance of winning the title - provided they have two successful race weekends."
LIRIM ZENDELI: Lirim Zendeli took no less than 44 of his 103 points total from the last race weekend. He returned to the championship race with an outstanding performance at the Nürburgring. After taking best time in training, pole, one win and a second place there, the 17-year-old, who drives for ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V., should again be a force to be reckoned with in his bright-pink racing car in the season finale.
What Lirim Zendeli had to say in the run-up to the title-decider: "I've still got my eye on the standings. Top Five always sounds nice. It's theoretically still possible, but my competitors are also still securing points. I believe we are well positioned for the season finale. Hockenheim and the Sachsenring have always been good tracks for Mücke Motorsport and for me too. If we can get our act together, then we can continue where we left off at the Nürburgring."