International podium in the first F4 race of 2017

With 13 degrees, a cold Oschersleben was the first venue to start the 2017 ADAC Formula 4 season. After the first 30 minutes of race action, the flags of Estonia, Denmark and South Africa could be seen as the decor for the podium background.

Prema Powerteam’s Juri Vips used the gap, which opened just over two minutes before the end of the race, passing US Racing’s Nicklas Nielsen, who went wide in the second corner. As a result Vips took the victory in the opening race of the 2017 season. Nielsen, who had clearly led the race, finished second in front of Motopark’s Jonathan Aberdein, who was put under pressure by Van Amersfoort Racing’s Felipe Drugovich right up until the checkered flag.

“Starting the race from fifth position I worked my way through and successfully defendend my position. I am happy and the third place is a great result. Of course I’d like to repeat this in race two coming up later but starting eighth this will be anything but easy”, summarised Aberdein.

Race winner Juri Vips (middle) with Nicklas Nielsen (on the very left) and Jonathan Aberdein. Charles Weerts received a trophy for finishing as best Rookie in 12th position. Photo: Gruppe C GmbH/ ADAC Motorsport

Drugovich was given several warnings, having repeatedly shown the black-and-white flag, receiving a 30 seconds time penalty for disrespecting track limits. As a result, the Brazilian dropped down to 21st in the results. The Van Amersfoort driver started from pole position but had to let Nielsen pass on the first few meters after the lights went out.

Behind the trio securing the podium places, Fabio Scherer (US Racing), Juan Manuel Correa (Prema Powerteam), Julian Hanses (US Racing), Lirim Zendeli (Mücke Motorsport), Oliver Söderström (Mücke Motorsport), Marcus Armstrong (Prema Powerteam) and Kami Laliberté (Van Amersfoort Racing) completed the top ten.

Sophia Flörsch (Mücke Motorsport) who initially qualified third for race 1 and 2, was disqualified after the rear brake discs of her car number 4 did not comply with the sporting regulations, breaching article 27.17. Starting from the back of the grid, the only female racer in the field worked her way back up to 15th.

Mücke Motorsport’s Sophia Flörsch loses both third places on the grid after being disqualified. Photo: ADAC Motorsport

Laurin Heinrich, whose father built up the race team, had a decent race until things got tight with Van Amerfoort Racing’s Louis Gachot, who took off the German’s front wing. After being forced to pit for a nose change, Heinrich had his hands tied, crossing the finish line in last place.

Coming back to Gachot, the 17-year-old missed the start of the weekend but was seen back in his F4 race car in time for the first race. Despite starting from the back of the field as well as losing valuable time in midfield fights, the Briton finished 13th.

The results of this race are not only crucial in terms of championship points, but also form the starting grid for race 3, with the top 10 starting in reverse grid order. Coming back to Saturday, the 25 drivers will soon line up again for race 2.

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