Josh Dufek continued his rich vein of form at the penultimate round of the ADAC German F4 series, collecting a sixth podium finish of the season to add to recent success in the Italian championship.
The Van Amersfoort Racing driver was able to banish frustrating memories of his last visit to Hockenheim — where the podium remained tantalisingly out of reach — by finishing a close second in the final race of the weekend's triple-header, having taken the fight to the leader throughout the 30-minute encounter. Starting from second on the grid, Josh led briefly aftertaking advantage of two cars battling ahead of him, and, once back in second spot, took to the role of challenger with aplomb. Having closed in on the leader, the Swiss resident made a brave move for the lead on the penultimate tour, but eventually had to cede, having running wheel-to-wheel for almost half a lap. The #13 car eventually crossed the line 0.8secs adrift, but comfortably clear of third place.
"I really thought I could win that one," Josh sighed. "Although I didn't make the best of starts, I was able to get into the lead of the race, and it took a good battle to keep me off the top step. Nevertheless, it was great to end the weekend back on the podium, especially after some good, clean racing."
The 16-year-old's weekend had started promisingly with a string of top five times in practice preceding results of fourth and sixth amongst a tightly-packed field in qualifying. The opening race of the weekend, on Saturday afternoon, provided a brief glimpse of what was to come as Josh again found himself battling Luke Browning for position. On this occasion, the pair made contact, with Browning having to cede position as punishment, leaving Josh to bring his VAR machine home in fourth place.
Race two, held in cold Sunday morning temperatures, proved equally frenetic. Attempting to capitalise on a poor start from the polesitter, Josh found himself squeezed towards the pitwall, incurring damage to the #13 in the process. Having pitted for repairs, however, the youngster fairly tore through the pack, rising from dead last with the aid of another safety car intervention to take seventh place at the chequered flag, just over nine seconds adrift of the eventual winner.
“Another weekend where small margins affected the outcome of our races,” Josh reflected, “While it was great to be back on the podium in race three, I really feel that two other opportunities slipped from our grasp through no fault of our own. While it was fun to be able to carve through the field in race two, I'm looking forward to being at the front of the pack next time out.”
Josh’s 2021 season will conclude with the final round of the Italian F4 Championship, at Monza, this coming weekend (30-31 October).