3 different winners at the Nürburgring

The season’s penultimate round of ADAC Formula 4 was run at the Nürburgring, where the field had a hot weekend ahead.

Lirim Zendeli, the championship leader, had taken Pole Position in race 1 ahead of Enzo Fittipaldi, Oliver Caldwell, Liam Lawson, and Frederik Vesti. Which meant all the drivers in top 5 in the championship would be starting in top 5. Furthermore, Zendeli had a chance to win the championship already this weekend, if he could extend the lead to more than 75 points to the person in second place.

There was already trouble in Turn 1, where Fittipaldi and Caldwell hit and pushed each other in the corner. It gave Zendeli a huge gap after a few corners.

Ido Cohen was spun around in Turn 3, but he was far behind in the field, anyway.

Later on the first lap, Joey Alders and Oliver Caldwell came in contact. Alders was in the middle of an overtaking when Caldwell turned right in front of him. Alders was briefly in the air, but luckily he landed again with all four wheels on the ground.

In all the confusion, David Schumacher who started from 7th position came all the way up to P3. It didn’t last long when Vesti came past him and later set his eyes on Fittipaldi in second place.

After that there were no changes in front, and Lirim Zendeli won the race ahead of Enzo Fittipaldi, who was pushing Zendeli the entire time. Frederik Vest completed the podium. The only little oops moment was when Lucas Alecco Roy spun on his own, but he quickly recovered. Though he was already out of the top 10.

Niklas Krütten
Photo: JJ Media

Later on Saturday afternoon the cars were ready for race 2. Zendeli was on Pole once again, ahead of Vesti and Fittipaldi. Liam Lawson would start from P6 – which was also where he finished in race 1.

The start was okay in front, where Vesti managed to drive past Fittipaldi at the start. In the middle of the field it was more hectic when Oliver Caldwell spun around. Tom Beckhäuser did a huge jumpstart at the bottom of the field, which he of course got a drive-through penalty for.

Jack Doohan ploughed through one of the distance indicators on the side of the track and it ended his race. The Safety Car was deployed so that the debris from the styrofoam sign could be cleaned from the track.

After two laps behind the Sc, the race got restarted and Vesti seemed to sleep a little when Zendeli had more than one second gap at the finish line, right after the restart.

Fittipaldi was down to fourth place after the start, but he quickly came up to third.

The restart was another chaotic lap. Liam Lawson hit Mick Wishofer’s rear wheel and hence damaged his own front wing, as well as sending Wishofer to the pits with a leak puncture.

Vesti closed up to Zendeli again and put a pressure on the German.

Lirim Zendeli
Photo: JJ Media

Ten minutes before the race ended, Vesti stole the lead from Zendeli with a nice outbraking manoeuvre in Turn 1, where Zendeli didn’t make it too hard since he probably thought more about the championship than a race win.

Ido Cohen drove a little too far on the grass, and he was overtaken by Oliver Caldwell and Joey Alders in the battle for ninth place.

Frederik Vesti drove his second victory of the season, in front of Lirim Zendeli and Enzo Fittipaldi.

The last race of the weekend was run on Sunday morning, where Leon Köhler held Pole Position ahead of Niklas Krütten and Gianluca Petecof, while Lirim Zendeli and Frederik Vesti would start from seventh and eighth respectively. Liam Lawson started all the way back from 15th, and it would give Zendeli a huge lead in the championship if the race result ended up that way, too.

Krütten got the best start in front of Köhler, but there was a wild chaos in the middle of the field. Vesti drove past Zendeli, but further back there was a collision between the two US Racing – CHRS drivers Tom Beckhäuser and Mick Wishofer. Wishofer couldn’t continue, while Backhäuser could return to the pits, but nevertheless his race was also over.

On the race’s third lad, Joey Alders ended up on the gravel in Turn 1 when he outbraked himself. It deployed a Safety Car in order to pull him free.

Under the Safety Car, Lawson came to the pits where the mechanics went to repair something under the bonnet of the car. Not a good thing for the two VAR cars.

Zendeli approached the race calmly during the restart. He had everything going his way in terms of winning the championship so far, with Lawson far behind.

Petecof and Köhler brushed each other, which cost the latter a front-wing. Petecof could continued without a problem with the car, while his teammate Enzo Fittipaldi came up to third place.

Frederik Vesti
Photo: JJ Media

Vesti went past his teammate Charles Weerts and had his sight on the podium. But the Dane then outbraked himself in Turn 1 and lost three positions, and he had to start overtaking the same drivers one more time.

After some hectic opening laps, the race calmed down a bit more in the second half.

Köhler also had a problem with his second front-wing, which hung and dragged.

Jack Doohan had his his rear brushed by Charles Weerts and it damaged the latter’s front-wing, so he had to pit. Weerts ended up getting a warning for the manoeuvre – but Doohan got another penalty when he crossed the white line on the way out of the pits. Doohan had to do an extra tour through the pitlane to serve the penalty.

Frederik Vesti and Oliver Caldwell had a battle for 6th place, which went back and forth between the two.

When the cars drove their last lap, Vesti did a nice overtaking on Zendeli from the outside, though he got overtaken by Zendeli again in Turn 1.

But nobody could beat Niklas Krütten, who took his first victory ahead of Gianluca Petecof and Enzo Fittipaldi.

None of those mattered for Lirim Zendeli, since his fifth place was enough to secure the ADAC Formula 4 2018 championship. Zendeli won the title in his third season, but it only started working for him in 2018. There is still a big duel between Enzo Fittipaldi, Liam Lawson and Frederik Vesti, who are only a few points from each other.

The battle for the rookie championship stands between David Schumacher and Niklas Krütten, where nothing is decided.

The ADAC Formula 4 series will drive again on 21 – 23 September at Höckenheim, when they will have their finale together with ADAC GT Masters.

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