The finale round of the ADAC F4 Championship took place at Hockenheim to finish the 2017 season. After it was announced that Prema Theodore Racing won the Team Championship for the second year running last weekend, it was a fight till the end for Juri Vips and Marcus Armstrong on who would take the Drivers Championship.
The Friday saw a good performance from both drivers in free practice ahead of their last qualifying session of the year. Unfortunately it was not the best qualifying with red flags making it difficult for Vips and Armstrong to set a flying lap time.
After the tough qualifying session Juri Vips started Race 1 in P14 and Marcus Armstrong P20. As the lights went out for the first race of the weekend, the teammates flew up the field, Estonian Vips jumping to P9 and Armstrong taking 10 places in one lap to P10. For the entirety of the race Armstrong hunted Cedric Piro but couldn’t find the pace and therefore settled for P10. Vips had a similar situation attempting to catch Luis Kim Schramm but at the chequered flag, he crossed the line in P8.
For the second race on Saturday the sun shone down on the future single seater stars. Juri Vips begun from P14 and Armstrong from the back of the field in P24. Both Prema Theodore drivers had a flying start, Vips getting straight into P7 after a few laps and Armstrong gaining nine positions into P15. The Kiwi was certainly on a mission after getting into P10 until the last stages of the race where he managed to overtake Charles Weerts for P9, showing incredible skills. After being stuck behind Louis Gachot for the majority of the race, Vips managed to cut the gap to 0.4 seconds and made a move to take P6 at the chequered flag.
Sunday morning witnessed an intense race to end the 2017 season. Armstrong started on pole with Vips in P3. As the lights illuminated for the last time Armstrong lost the lead to Piro and Vips fell one spot to P4. Within seconds a battle for P2 was underway between the teammates and Artem Petrov but everyone held their positions. With 15 minutes to go Armstrong held P2 and Vips P3 as both drivers passed rival Piro and Petrov took the lead. From then on both Prema Theodore drivers ran their own race, creating a 3.3 gap to P4. As the chequered flag revelaed itself for the last time Juri Vips was crowned the 2017 Driver Champion! Only 4.5 points behind, Ferrari academy driver and teammate Marcus Armstrong took the Vice Champion title and will continue his fight for the Italian Formula 4 Championship where he currently leads the drivers’ classification.
All the hard work showed this weekend and certainly paid off ending the 2017 year with both the Team and Drivers Championship in the bag! 2018…watch this space !
Teddy Yip commented:
“Juri has proven himself to be a deserving champion and a talent to watch and Marcus as vice champion is a testament to their excellent teamwork. I want to congratulate the whole team on winning the championship. All the hard work and preparation has paid off!!”
# 44 – Jüri Vips
“This was truly a mega weekend, wrapping up the title was so amazing and having made it a 1-2 for Prema in the championship, could not have been better.”
# 9 – Marcus Armstrong
“Tough weekend. To lose the championship by such a small margin is never easy. We lacked a bit of car speed here in Hockenheim which is confusing but we did our maximum. Our weekend was made difficult because of a technical problem in qualifying, but from then onwards we did a fantastic job!”