Boschung up to third in championship after another podium in Slovakia
A fine third-place finish saw Ralph Boschung claim his seventh ADAC Formel Masters podium of the season when the series resumed at the Slovakia Ring last weekend (August 8/10).The LOTUS driver’s latest top-three result sees the 16-year-old climb to third in the drivers’ championship, and was made all the more impressive by the fact Boschung had hit trouble with his car on Friday and Saturday.After a two-month summer break, the Swiss ace’s return to action had not started as planned. He first experienced an engine problem that sidelined him during the two-day test held at the Slovakian venue on July 23/24, then encountered chassis issues during free practice and qualifying on Friday, leaving him eighth on the grid for Saturday’s opening contest. Despite battling handling issues throughout, Boschung nevertheless managed to pick up two places during the race. Displaying poise and firmness when defending his position, he would eventually finish sixth and claim valuable championship points. His LOTUS team then set to work on improving his car overnight, allowing Ralph to be back on pace come Sunday.Lining up seventh on the grid for the morning’s second race, Boschung put in a strong display to carve through the field and into a three-way scrap for the lead with Fabian Schiller and current points leader Mikkel Jensen. When the Dane ran wide at Turn 3 the Swiss youngster eased past and set off in hot pursuit of race leader Schiller. Unfortunately the Slovakia Ring’s long straights provided a clear reminder that Boschung’s car lacks top-end speed compared with his opponents’ machines. That performance deficit eventually allowed Jensen to reclaim second spot with four laps remaining, leaving Ralph to settle for a still-impressive third. The LOTUS man thus remains one of the few drivers who have secured a podium finish at all five of this season’s ADAC Formel Masters rounds. The 16-year-old was on course for another top-three in Sunday afternoon’s final race, but his hopes were dashed when Kim-Luis Schramm punted him out of contention on the final lap. Having once again worked his way through the field from sixth on the grid, Boschung had just seized third place when the Mucke Motorsport driver’s misjudgement forced him to limp back to the pits and into retirement.“After the weekend we’ve had, I’m still very satisfied,” declared Boschung. “I leave the Slovakia Ring with a good haul of points, another podium finish and third place in the standings. Plus, I feel like I gave it my best shot.“We had some issues with the car on Friday and Saturday. It was quite tricky to drive and I had to dig deep to defend my position in race one. The LOTUS engineers and mechanics then did a great job on Saturday night to make some important changes that allowed us to bounce back on Sunday. I was happy to claim third in the second race; unfortunately, I just couldn’t keep up with the top two finishers on the main straights.
“It was obviously a shame to miss out on a second podium on Sunday afternoon, but racing incidents do happen,” reflected Ralph. “We still have three long weekends to consolidate our position in the championship, and perhaps even push for second in the standings.“As always, I would like to say a very big ‘thank you’ to my faithful partners Petrol Energy, B63, Hublot, Avanthay&Partners, and Audi for their continued support. It means a lot to me.”The ADAC Formel Masters season continues later this month (August 29-31) with round six taking place at the Nurburgring.