The standout features of the first two ADAC Formula 4 races at the Hockenheimring were the commanding lights-to-flag victory by Joshua Dürksen and Oliver Bearman at last getting his title challenge off the ground. Dürksen (16, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg eV) secured his second victory in a row from pole position in the first race on the famous track in Baden-Württemberg after taking his maiden win in the ADAC High-Speed Academy at the Nürburgring just before the summer break. In the second race of the day, Bearman (15, England, US Racing) celebrated his first-ever victory. After experiencing a number of disappointing retirements at the start of the season, Bearman made up for it with a strong drive. Britain’s Jonny Edgar (16, Van Amersfoort Racing) defended his championship lead with a third and a fourth place. Race 3 will take place tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 11:00 CEST.
„I found it pretty exciting,“ said Dürksen after chalking up a second win of the season. „I got off to a good start and then drove a focused race, which was the key to victory.“ Bearman was able to breathe a sigh of relief. His victory in Race 2 was also his first ever podium. „It was an extremely tough race,“ said Bearman. „I was under a lot of pressure but am really happy to have got my first Formula 4 win.“
The first race brought a supreme performance from Dürksen, who converted his pole position into the lead immediately at the start and defended it throughout the race while fighting an ongoing battle with Gabriele Mini (15, Italy, Prema Powerteam) for quite long periods. This was brought to an abrupt conclusion ten minutes before the end. There was a contact as Mini tried to overtake Dürksen, which resulted in retirement for the Italian. „I hadn’t been expecting the attack,“ said Dürksen, explaining things from his perspective. „He was some way off and the move was risky. I think it was a racing incident. Things like that happen in motorsport.“ Dürksen’s car was also slightly damaged, but he managed to save the situation, crossing the finish line just ahead of Jak Crawford (15, USA, Van Amersfoort Racing). „I had a few mechanical problems after the contact and simply wanted to get through to the end,“ said Dürksen. Edgar in P3 completed the party on the first of Saturday’s two winners’ podiums.
Francesco Pizzi (15, Italy), the third driver in the Van Amersfoort Racing line-up, finished fifth. ADAC Sports Foundation protégé Tim Tramnitz (US Racing) took P6 ahead of Dino Beganovic and Vladislav Lomko. Mexico’s Erick Zuniga finished ninth on his debut in the ADAC Formula 4 while Hamda Al Qubaisi also had good reason to be extremely pleased: she is the only female driver in the field and secured one point for tenth place in her first race in the German series.
The outcome of Race 2 on Saturday was more dependent on incidents and collisions. Mini initially succeeded in defending his pole position at the start and was in the lead as he took the first corner. To his rear, Tramnitz was pushing hard and found a way past Bearman to move up into second place. Edgar improved to fourth while Lomko was the big loser of the start. Having qualified fourth on the grid, he dropped back and found himself out of the Top Ten. Towards the back of the midfield on the second lap, there was a contact between Sebastian Montoya (15, Colombia, Prema Powerteam) and Josef Knopp (16, Czech Republic, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.). Montoya was unable to prevent a spin and hit the crash barriers. The safety car then came out on track.
By this time, Dürksen had managed to work his way forwards again after starting from P8 and was already in fourth place. Mini defended the lead from Tramnitz and Bearman on the restart. While exiting Turn 1 a few laps later, the Prema youngster ran very wide over the kerbs and had to let the two US racing drivers overtake. Shortly afterwards, Bearman on fresher tyres passed Tramnitz and remained in P1 to the finish line despite a late counterattack from Tramnitz. “I had a really decent race,” said Bearman. “Unfortunately, the start wasn’t great, but the restart went well and I benefited from the mistake made by the Prema driver in front. I was then able to overtake Tim, who was very fast.”
To their rear, Mini initially lost more places after a spin but worked his way back up into third over the closing stages. With a strong passing move, Edgar took fourth place from Victor Bernier (16, France, R-ace GP) and Elias Seppänen (16, Finland, US Racing). Pizzi finished seventh in the second race ahead of Crawford and Beganovic. Lomko secured the remaining championship point with P10. Dürksen dropped further down the ranks to P11 during the second stint of the race and finished out of the points along with Al Qubaisi, who was handed a drive-through penalty. As a result, Edgar extended his lead in the overall standings to 136 points and is now 27 points up on Seppänen (109). Tramnitz on 85 has moved into third place overall ahead of Crawford (84) and Dürksen (80). In the Best Rookie classification, Tramnitz still has a comfortable lead.
Further comment on Saturday’s ADAC Formula 4 action
Tim Tramnitz (P2 in Race 2 and leader in the Best Rookie classification, US Racing): „That was such incredible fun. I got off to a good start and was able to push well before the safety car came out. After the restart, I managed to hold my own. Mini’s mistake helped me to get past. One lap later, Ollie came from behind on fresh tyres and passed me. I was able to keep up really well and launched an attack two laps before the end. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough, but I am very happy with second place. This is my best result of the season so far. It was a very good race.“