Lights to flag victory for Marcus Armstrong
Round 5 of the ADAC F4 was held at the Nürburgring this weekend. After a strong performance in free practice by all four drivers qualifying turned into a tough session.
Starting strong Marcus Armstrong repeatedly set a purple sector one and two taking provisional pole with a 1:27.988. But with 5 minutes left on the clock Felipe Drugovich took the pole position from the Kiwi and he was unable to claim it back, falling down the field to P13. Juri Vips managed P6, Enzo Fittipaldi who normally races in Italian F4 and was a wild card entry to the weekend took P9 after having a reasonable qualifying and Juan Manuel Correa took P17.
Race 1 started almost immediately in drama. At the lights, each driver gained one position but after only a few laps the session was red flagged for almost 25 minutes as Nicklas Nielsen had rolled his car. After a safety car restart Vips hunted down Andreas Estner, cutting the gap to 0.4 seconds but was unable to pass settling for P5. Fittipaldi held P8 for the entire race. With only a few minutes left Armstrong overtook Cedric Piro putting himself into a points scoring position, crossing the line P10 after setting personal best sectors. As did Correa, struggling to begin with, the American weaved his way through the field ending race 1 in P13.
The team was greeted by the sun for a second time this weekend ahead of Race 2. Vips lined up in P5 with teammate Fittipaldi in P6. Kiwi Armstrong set off in P10 and Correa P14. As the second race of the weekend got underway Vips had a wheel to wheel battle with Julian Hanses. After a 4 lap fight, which Estner also got involved in, the Prema Theodore driver made the move and took two positions getting into P3. Armstrong had a strong start passing two cars to take P8. Correa fought to get P14 back off Michael Waldherr after losing the position at the start but due to a safety caused by Piro hitting the tyre barrier the American had to hold back on the move. The race was quickly cut short first by a red flag followed by the officials stating the race would be not be restarted due to difficulties rebuilding the barrier. This meant Juri Vips stood on the last spot on the podium, Fittipaldi took P7, Armstrong P8 and Correa P14.
Due to a top ten reverse grid from race 1 Marcus Armstrong started race 3 on pole position. Brazilian Fittipaldi sat on the second row of the grid in P3, Vips P6 and Correa P12. It was a quick get away for the Championship leader who flew ahead of the pack. Having had a difficult weekend Correa took three positions ahead of Artem Petrov in P9. Vips made a tactical pass on Louis Gachot taking P4 in the early stages of the race before chasing teammate Fittipaldi who held onto P3 at the start. Correa was next to overtake Gachot with only a few minutes on the clock putting himself into P7 after initially starting P12. For the remainder of the race there was no change in classification but rather a clean drive by all the drivers taking four top 7 finishes including a lights to flag win for Marcus Armstrong and a podium for Enzo Fittipaldi who showed impressive driving throughout the weekend. Juri Vips clinched hold of P4 scoring crucial points and Juan Manuel Correa P7.
It’s another month until Round 6 of the ADAC F4 as the season begins to come to a close. As the team wait for Sachsering 15-17th September, Prema Theodore Racing maintains the team Championship and Juri Vips stays in the Lead of the Drivers Championship.
Marcus Armstrong —
“It hasn’t been a perfect weekend. We showed good pace in free practice, however in qualifying I had an issue with one of the front tyres on my second stint which made a big impact on my weekend. We took points in the first two races and managed to win race 3. To win the last race before the summer break is great & was also crucial in the championship fight. We now sit 2nd in the points, with only a few points separate from us from the lead. I look forward to the next round.”