•Tussle for victory decided on penultimate lap •Malja: "I've had to wait so long for this well-deserved victory." •Kirchhöfer on podium in home race •Drivers from three countries finish in Top Three
Gustav Malja (16, SWE, Neuhauser Racing) managed his first race win in the Formel ADAC at the Sachsenring. The Swede, who started from second on the grid, fought an exciting battle with pole-setter Marvin Kirchhöfer (18, Leipzig, Lotus) in the first of three races. Malja overtook the ADAC Sport Foundation protégé on the penultimate lap to clinch his first victory in the junior series. Kirchhöfer's second place allowed him to increase his lead in the championship on his home ground. "It was a hard-fought battle with Marvin Kirchhöfer", said Malja. "I had been on his tail for a few laps, then I noticed that he was drifting a bit wide. That was my chance, and I coolly took it." Indy Dontje (19, NED, Lotus), who came in third, completed the multi-national trio on the podium. The Dutchman held his ground on the first lap against third on the grid Jason Kremer (17, Bonn, Mücke Motorsport), and with his third place, achieved his best result so far in the Formel ADAC school of racing. Kremer was scrapping for fourth place with Jeffrey Schmidt (18, SUI, Lotus) throughout the 18 laps and eventually managed to overcome the Swiss driver with a clear lead. In the end, Schmidt had to be content with fifth place. Luca Caspari (16, Meerbusch, Mücke Motorsport), who entered the fray from fifth place, ended sixth in front of Thomas Jäger (17, AUT, Neuhauser Racing). The Austrian made up two positions during the race. Hendrik Grapp (18, Berlin, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.), Kuba Dalewski (16, POL, Lotus) and Hubertus-Carlos Vier (17, Walting/Inching, Lotus) took the remaining points in the first race of the weekend. Vier, who started from eighth on the grid, collided with Clemente Picariello (18, BEL, G&J / Schiller-Motorsport) on the first lap and consequently lost a lot of positions. As Vier set about clawing his way back up the field, Picariello was forced to retire from the race. Local favourite Florian Herzog (18, Dresden, Mücke Motorsport), who should have been starting from twelfth, had some technical issues with his car on the way to the starting grid and couldn't take part in the first race. Comments from the Top Three drivers Gustav Malja, Winner: "I'm incredibly happy. In fact, I'm finding it difficult to put my feelings into words. I've had to wait so long for this well-deserved victory. It was a hard-fought battle with Marvin Kirchhöfer. I had been on his tail for a few laps, then I noticed that he was drifting a bit wide. That was my chance, and I coolly took it. At this stage of the race, my tyres had more grip than his, so I was able to go on and claim my first Formel ADAC win." Marvin Kirchhöfer, Second: "Ah, what a pity. This time, unfortunately, it just wasn't meant to be. If I told you that I was satisfied with second place, I wouldn't be a very good racing driver. I would've liked to win the first of these three races at my local track this weekend. I gave it everything I'd got right up to the end, but I couldn't stop Gustav Malja getting past. Gustav drove a great race, but I also had the potential, and I'm intending to exploit that to the full in the remaining two races." Indy Dontje, Third: "What a fantastic race! I managed to pass Jason Kremer going into the first corner. Then I matched the front-runners for speed, and on the last few laps, I was closing the gap on Marvin Kirchhöfer. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time to overtake him, but I'm delighted all the same to have finished on the podium in my first year in single-seater racing."