As the ADAC F4 Championship draws to a close Marcus Armstrong, Juri Vips and the team headed to Sachsenring. It was a special end to the weekend where it was announced that Prema Theodore Racing claimed the ADAC F4 2017 Team Championship for the second year running by over 100 points to the nearest rival team!
Friday morning saw two free practice sessions which both drivers had a solid run in. Once qualifying approached in the afternoon the team were faced with two red flag situations. Vips issued the first after a trip to the gravel, sitting at the time in P2 behind his teammate Armstrong who was sat in provisional pole. Once the green flag returned the New Zealander held onto pole until the second red flag. When the session finally got going for a third time, tyres had worn and minutes lost, Armstrong lost his pole to Julian Hanses in the last minute, forcing him to take P2. After Juri Vips mishaps earlier in the session the Estonian settled for P8.
It was a dry track for the first race of the weekend with Armstrong in P2 and Vips P8. It was a quickly abandoned start as Laurin Heinrich flipped his car into the first corner which created a red flag. 20 minutes went by until the restart took place under the safety car for one lap. As it went in, Armstrong fought for P1 but was unable to get past, whilst Vips managed to gain two positions getting into P5. With 10 minutes left of this race the Ferrari backed driver Armstrong fought with Fabio Scherer wheel-to-wheel but on the last corner of the last lap the German slide past forcing Armstrong to take the last spot on the podium. Juri Vips took P5 after coming under pressure from Sophia Flörsch but maintained his position well.
Sunday morning saw Marcus Armstrong sat in P2 and Juri Vips in P9 for the start of the second race of the weekend. Lights out and Armstrong immediately fought with Scherer but held P2. After gaining a position Vips and the rest of the field faced their first safety car. A few laps down the restart took place where Vips and Michael Waldherr battled but the Estonian held on and a few minutes later moved into P6 after passing two more rivals. The race saw two more safety cars but both drivers kept firmly hold of their positions. Armstrong took his second podium and Vips scored more valuable points in P6.
For the final run of the weekend both Prema Theodore drivers gained a position at the start, with Vips quickly taking another after making a swift move on Flörsch for P4. The first safety car arrived after a few laps. At the restart, although both held onto their positions Armstrong came under immense pressure from Scherer, but the Kiwi kept cool and maintained P6. Laps passed before the second safety car was revealed. After it returned to the pits, Armstrong was caught in the middle of a battle with Scherer from behind whilst fighting with Nicklas Nielsen in front, but they each held onto their positions. Vips tried his best to catch Drugovich for P3 but sadly he could not find a way through taking P4 at the chequered flag.
Next weekend (22-24th September) is the penultimate round of the ADAC F4 2017 season at Hockenheim. After Prema Theodore Racing were officially given the Team Championship title, now Juri Vips, (192.5 points) Marcus Armstrong (186 points) and Felipe Drugovich (165.5 points) will battle it out for the Drivers Championship at the final round!
Teddy Yip commented: To win the F4 Championship is a terrific tribute to the speed and consistency of the drivers and in particular the very hard work that René and the boys put in week after week.”
“A good weekend in Sachsenring. I had a good feeling with the car on new tyres but not on used ones which is why our race pace was not overwhelming. However we took 2 podiums and a 6th in the reverse grid race. We took the lead in championship but by a very small margin, which will make Hockenheim interesting. Congratulations to Prema for taking the teams championship for the 2nd year running in ADAC F4.”
# 44 – Jüri Vips
“It hasn’t been a positive weekend all-around as we couldn’t reach the levels we belong to and that cost us the championship lead. We aren’t far at all though and we expect some hard fighting at Hockenheim.”