Josh Dufek took another step towards a first win of the season by claiming second spot on the podium during the ADAC F4 series’ visit to Zandvoort.
Racing on home ground for his Van Amersfoort Racing team, the Swiss-based youngster produced his best race result of the season to leave the Netherlands with a second piece of silverware for 2021 and more valuable points in his quest for an F4 title.
Fresh from a third-place result on his last outing in the Italian national series, Josh was straight on the pace at Zandvoort, with a similar result in Friday’s opening practice session and, even when the combined results from both sessions left him a little lower in the order, he went into qualifying in confident mood. Despite both sessions subsequently being cut short by red flag interruptions, the 16-year-old did enough to follow up seventh-fastest time in the opener with a front row spot for race two, equalling his previous best for 2021 from the opening ADAC round in Austria.
Unfortunately for Josh, a ten-place grid penalty would mean starting race one from the inside of row nine instead of closer to the front, but only served to prompt another climb through the field, gaining four places on the opening lap alone before eventually rising to eighth at the chequered flag.
Buoyed by that performance, the #13 car lined up on the front row for the second encounter on Sunday morning with its young driver full of optimism. While the polesitter made a good getaway, Josh concentrated on holding off Kirill Smal to retain second place as the leading trio pulled away from the rest of the field. What appeared to be a three-way scrap for the podium spots, however, was negated by a series of safety car interruptions that, while allowing the pack to bunch up, prevented Josh from making any meaningful play for the win. Despite that, he still crossed the line in second position in the midst of a VAR 1-2-3, a perfect result for the team at its home circuit.
Josh made another good start in the weekend’s third and final race and was immediately looking to gain places, but having to avoid a slower starter further up the order almost resulted in the VAR car being forced off the circuit. Josh, however, remained composed and got his head down in a bid to make up ground — only to have his fightback thwarted by the safety car, which made it difficult to gain places before the chequered flag.
“It’s not every day that you occupy the entire podium as a team, so everyone at VAR is delighted with the outcome of race two,” Dufek confirmed, “Obviously, while I am equally very happy with my second place, I always want to win, so I know there is still room for improvement if I want to reach that top step. After podiums in successive race weekends, however, we are clearly moving in the right direction, and I can’t wait to challenge for victory at the next round of the Italian F4 Championship in a couple of weeks.”
Dufek’s next outing will be in round four of the Italian F4 Championship, at Imola, over the weekend of 23-25 July.