As the ADAC Formula 4 Championship kicked off its fourth season at Oschersleben, it would be Lirim Zendeli who came away with two victories and the points lead at the end of the opening weekend. The US Racing-CHRS driver took pole position and despite some threats, held on for two wins.
His only disappointment came on Sunday when he collided with Liam Lawson dropping him out of the race. Lawson had taken a podium in race one along with Mick Wishofer. But a dire latter half of the weekend ensured that it would be Enzo Fittipaldi, who took a double podium, that leaves as Zendeli’s closest competition.
Also enjoying a stellar conclusion was Olli Caldwell who took victory on Sunday, he’s fourth in the championship just behind the consistent Frederik Vesti, while Charles Weerts also picked up silverware.
Winner: Lirim Zendeli – US Racing-CHRS
As the lights went out, a fairly promising start for Charles Weerts soon went array as the Van Amersfoort Racing driver ran wide through the third corner, getting on the gravel and driving into the barrier.
After a brief safety car period, Lirim Zendeli once again led the field away from Mick Wishofer. All eyes soon turned to Frederik Vesti though, with the VAR driver quickly forming a queue for third. His grip did not last long before Enzo Fittipaldi and Liam Lawson found a way through.
Further back, Leon Koehler ran wide and spun coming onto the back straight. Teammate Ido Cohen also spun in sympathy, beaching himself on the grass and bringing out another safety car. A third soon followed as Leonardo Lorandi beached his KDC Racing car.
Lawson was not prepared to settle, taking third at the second restart finishing the event on the podium after teammate Joey Alders spun. This left Zendeli to take the victory from Wishofer alongside. Fittipaldi was forced to settle for fourth ahead of top rookie David Schumacher who overtook Vesti in the closing lap.
Winner: Lirim Zendeli – US Racing-CHRS
With three of the top five from race one starting at the back the onus was once again on Lirim Zendeli. One of those, Mick Wishofer spun in the opening corner, bringing out an early safety car.
Frederik Vesti had made a strong start, jumping to second by the first corner and was not prepared to let Zendeli get away after the race pause. The pair remained nose-to-tail for most of the race, with Enzo Fittipaldi later joining in to make it three for the line.
Further back, all eyes were on David Schumacher and Liam Lawson as they scythed their way up the field. Sadly for Schumacher a collision with Lucas Alecco Roy hampered his afternoon.
Despite the pressure, Zendeli held on for an emphatic second win from Vesti and Fittipaldi. Behind them, Charles Weerts survived a leery moment at the start to take fourth ahead of Finnish driver Konsta Lappalainen and the experienced Andreas Estner after a disastrous opening event. Gianluca Petecof was top rookie in seventh.
Winner: Olli Caldwell – Prema Powerteam
Reversing the top ten from race one left Olli Caldwell on pole position and it wouldn’t be a position he was prepared to give up. An early safety car was called after Ido Cohen’s collision, with Caldwell initially needing to defend from the charging Leonardo Lorandi.
After holding off the pressure though, Caldwell had an uneventful final few laps to take the 25 points. It was not such plain sailing for the others though, with weekend star Lirim Zendeli crashing with Liam Lawson, while David Schumacher spun.
It all came to a head in the closing laps when rookie Gianluca Petecof got too aggressive on third place Andreas Estner spinning him off. The Brazilian received a 30 sec penalty, but was not finished, attacking Lorandi until the Italian tapped him onto the grass in the penultimate corner of the race. Lorandi was given the same penalty dropping both out the points.
This meant that Enzo Fittipaldi and Charles Weerts inherited podium places with Frederik Vesti just behind in fourth. The incident ahead had benefitted other rookies though, with Niklas Krütten taking the rookie win and class lead with Joey Alders behind in sixth.
Championship Standings: Zendeli – 50; Fittipaldi – 45; Vesti – 36; Caldwell – 30; Weerts – 27; Wishofer – 24; Lawson – 16; Krütten – 14