15.000 Fans at the Nürburgring for the penultimate race weekend of the Formel ADAC season saw exciting races won by three different drivers. Hendrik Grapp (18, Berlin, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg) prevailed in Race 3 to celebrate a second win of his debut year in the Formel ADAC. It was also the second podium appearance of the weekend for the ADAC Sports Foundation protégé. "The key to today's success was definitely my start," said Grapp. "I overtook Jason Kremer on the first corner and then managed to pull away from the rest of the field."
Marvin Kirchhöfer (18, Leipzig, Lotus) is keeping up the pressure in the title chase. The ADAC Sports Foundation protégé moved up the field from eighth on the grid to finish as runner-up. After winning the first and second races of the weekend in the Eifel, he made it a hat-trick of podiums. Gustav Malja (16, Neuhauser Racing) suffered a major setback to his championship aspirations after the race had finished. He thought he had secured the third podium spot but was hit with a late drive-through penalty for ignoring yellow flags. This was converted into a 30-second time penalty, which bumped him down the finishing order to seventh.
Luca Caspari (16, Meerbusch, Mücke Motorsport) who had started the race from last place now found himself promoted to third on the podium, as the previously fourth-placed Thomas Jäger (18, Austria, Neuhauser Racing) also received a 30-second penalty, which took him down to eighth in the final placements. Alessio Picariello (19, Belgium, G&J / Schiller-Motorsport) who crossed the line in fifth position received the same penalty and was demoted to 13th.
Title showdown deferred
After 21 out of 24 races, the championship is wide open: Malja leads the overall standings on 266 points with Kirchhöfer only two (264) adrift. Going into the Nürburgring weekend, there had been a more daunting 25-point deficit to overcome.
Lotus claim team title ahead of time
Although the outcome of the drivers' championship will not be known until the final weekend of the season at Hockenheim, Lotus were able to celebrate winning the team championship ahead of time. After the fourth-to-last race of the season, the Oschersleben-based outfit have established an unassailable 117-point lead over Mücke Motorsport. This is the second successive title win for team boss Timo Rumpfkeil; in his debut Formel ADAC season (2011), he managed the successful Motopark team who are contesting this year's competition as Lotus.
Fourth place for Jason Kremer
Local favourite Jason Kremer (17, Bonn, Mücke Motorsport) ended the third race in fourth position and earned himself seven championship points - a much more profitable outcome to the weekend than he had initially feared. Guest driver Antti Buri (23, Finland, Lotus) was also the beneficiary of the penalties being doled out to all and sundry; P5 was his second points-scoring finish on his debut weekend in the Formel ADAC. Sixth place went to Nicolas Pohler (16, Starnberg, Team KUG Motorsport), giving him his best result so far in the junior series. Malja, Jäger, Herzog and Felix Wieland (15, Rosenheim, HS Engineering) picked up the remaining points.
Comments from the Top Three drivers
Hendrik Grapp, winner:
"It feels great to have bagged my second win in two weekends of racing. I really have to thank the team and the ADAC Sports Foundation who have supported me throughout. The key to today's success was definitely my start. I overtook Jason Kremer on the first corner and then managed to pull away from the rest of the field. Marvin Kirchhöfer came pretty close in the last few laps, but I managed to hold on to the lead until the finish. Let's hope things work out just as well in the grand finale to the season at Hockenheim."
Marvin Kirchhöfer, runner-up:
"Two wins and one second place made it a perfect weekend at the Nürburgring for me. As far as the championship is concerned, I have reduced the gap on Gustav Malja to two points. I'll be giving my all to win the championship on the home straight in the final race at the Hockenheimring. I'm concentrating solely on the championship, so that's why I wasn't running any risks today and held back from attacking Hendrik Grapp."
Luca Caspari, third:
"What a strange way to finish the weekend. I had to battle my way up the field from last on the grid to cross the line in sixth position. Then, because of time penalties for my opponents, I find myself on the podium after all. Obviously, I would have liked to finish in the Top Three through my own endeavours, but all the same, I'm happy with my performance. There were a few dodgy moments in that race - one or two of the other drivers could have used their heads a bit more. Clearly, you're entitled to defend your position, but there are limits."