Jonny Edgar (16, Van Amersfoort Racing) further cemented his title claim by finishing fourth. After a dramatic DNF for his team-mate and main rival Jak Crawford (15, USA), who won the second round on Sunday morning, Edgar now takes a 23-point advantage into the grand finale next weekend at Oschersleben. Meanwhile, joy knew no bounds for Tim Tramnitz (15, Germany, US Racing) as the ADAC Sports Foundation protégé clinched the Best Rookie classification ahead of time with two strong performances on Sunday.
"To have won the Best Rookie title at this early stage is just terrific," said Tramnitz with a broad grin. "Many thanks to the team for doing a really great job. It was a lot of fun. Conditions were extremely tough, especially towards the end when the rain began to pour down again. Staying on track really paid off."
Conditions were dry on Sunday for the first time this weekend as racing got underway again at the Lausitzring. Russia's Kirill Smal (15, R-ace GP) was on pole for the second race of the weekend and initially asserted his lead against a challenge from Crawford. Championship leader Edgar started from the last place on the grid after failing to set a time in qualifying. The British driver gained one position after another as he charged through the field. He was soon right behind Crawford, and the two of them then overtook first-placed Smal as they navigated the next couple of turns.
16-year-old Edgar then tried to attack Crawford but caught his team-mate's car a glancing blow with his front wing and had to return to the pits. As a result, he dropped well down the field, but when the safety car came out following a spin by Saturday's winner Vladislav Lomko (15, Russia, US Racing), Edgar was able to re-establish connection with the others. Crawford won the restart and covered the final few laps with ease. To his rear, Tramnitz made a strong manoeuvre against Smal shortly before the end and made his move stick.
Berlin youngster Joshua Dürksen (17, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg eV) crossed the finish line just behind Smal in fourth and ahead of Bernier and Oliver Bearman (15, England, US Racing). Edgar was able to move up a couple of places after the restart and come home in P7. Israel's Roee Meyuhas (20, R-ace GP) took P8 and with it, pole position for the third round. ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg eV team-mates Erick Zuniga (16, Mexico) and Josef Knopp (16, Czech Republic) secured the remaining points-scoring positions.
The heavens above the Lausitzring opened again about an hour before the start of the third round, and rain began to pour down. The final race turned into another hard-fought battle in the wet. Pole-sitter Meyuhas lost a few places at the start as Bernier stormed into the lead from fourth on the grid. Bearman also improved from third to second. Edgar, who started out from P2, lost two places. Crawford had an even tougher time, dropping way down the field after starting from eighth on the grid.
While Bernier was able to pull away in the lead, drivers behind him were battling hard. Crawford gradually worked his way forwards and suddenly saw his chance when Edgar spun off track and dropped back down to P7. Crawford went past and moved up to fifth before his race was ended through no fault of his own. After a scrap between Bearman and Smal, in which they both went off track, Bearman was trying to re-join the race but made contact with Crawford, causing him to spin off into the gravel where he got stuck. The safety car was called out. After the restart, Bernier took the win ahead of Tramnitz, who had also managed to find a way past Smal as he had done previously in Race 2.
Edgar worked his way up to fourth place to bank valuable points towards the championship, Meyuhas finished fifth ahead of Elias Seppänen (17, Finland, US Racing). The ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg eV trio of Dürksen, Zuniga and Knopp followed in P7, P8 and P9 respectively. The final championship point went to Lomko.
"It was a very unfortunate race for me," said Crawford, whose hopes for the title now depend on slip-ups by others. "I was in with a great chance of getting on the podium, and then this had to happen. It's bitterly disappointing in championship terms, but it can't be helped. Anyway, who knows what will happen next? All the races were different this weekend. I'll try to give my best in all three races next weekend at Oschersleben, and then the championship will be decided by Jonny's results."
Edgar felt for his rival. "It was very unfortunate for him, but good for my championship hopes," said Edgar, who prefers not to take any unnecessary risks at Oschersleben. "I don't have to fight too hard. As long as I finish ahead of Jak or not far behind him, everything will be OK."