Zandvoort debut: Double pole and a race win
Maximilian Günther’s career goes international. The 16-year-old travelled to the Dutch North Sea resort of Zandvoort last weekend to contest three more races in the 2014 Formel ADAC campaign. The weekend could not have got off to a better start, with a double pole in qualifying and Maxi’s main rivals more than half a second adrift. Saturday’s race turned out to be a disappointment, however, when he was forced to retire after becoming involved in a pile-up at the start. But the 2013 championship runner-up kept his nerve and went on to record a start-to-finish victory in Race 2, his second of the new season. In the third of three rain-hit races, Maxi survived two collisions to finish tenth and claim a useful championship point.
DNF despite starting from P1 – just how annoying is that?
Maxi’s reply: “The accident at the start was just bad luck; that sort of thing happens in racing. It was a pity, because with our pace, victory was on the cards. But far more important was the way I managed to get over the retirement and focus on the races to come.” And successfully so: in the Sunday morning race, Maxi finished a full six seconds ahead of the second-placed driver. Even two safety car deployments failed to upset the Deutsche Post Speed Academy junior squad member. Maximilian also demonstrated great mental resolve in the third race when he was pushed into the gravel, refusing to give up and battling through to claim a championship point. “A big ‘thank you’ goes to the race marshals for their efforts,” says Maximilian with a smile.
So how fast exactly was Maxi in Zandvoort?
Very fast, which is confirmed not only by the wide margin of Sunday’s race win. Maximilian posted the fastest lap of the entire rain-dominated weekend. Particularly noteworthy was Maxi’s pace in all conditions. In free practice, which turned out to be the only dry session at Zandvoort, he was almost four-tenths of a second faster than the opposition. Credit for that must be shared with his Mücke Motorsport team. “I am extremely happy about our performance,” says Maxi. “We’ve taken another big step forward since Oschersleben. We’ve reached a super level, and we’re feeling confident about converting pace into points in the coming races.”
Lessons learnt at Zandvoort
1. “Even if things are not going so well, put it down to experience and move on. Focus is the key.”
2. “Come rain, shine or snow, my car is supreme whatever the weather. This gives confidence.”
3. “The race win was better than the P10 finish, but every point counts. My philosophy is never to give up.”
Maximilian will travel to the Lausitzring for the third race weekend of the season (23rd to 25th May) as second in the championship standings. A happy hunting ground for the ADAC Sports Foundation protégé: in 2013, he not only booked two pole positions there, but also won two of the three races. It was the weekend that marked the beginning of his late surge up the table. “I obviously have happy memories of that successful weekend at the Lausitzring,” says Maxi. “When you’re competing on a track where you’ve won races in the past, that gives you an extra kick. I’m confident that my team will once again put a potentially race-winning car at my disposal. I always aim to get into the right rhythm quickly. The Lausitzring is a very demanding circuit with fast and slow corners. It’s a challenge that I’m happy to take on!”
Foto: Formel ADAC