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Podium for Niklas Krütten in Italian Formula 4 opener

Niklas Krütten as sole German challenger in Italian F4 at Adria International Raceway
First race weekend, first success: Best Rookie podium for the BWT Mücke Motorsport driver
Niklas: “I was really happy with another podium on the opening weekend, this time in Italy”

There is never a dull moment for Niklas Krütten. Just one week after his sensational start to the German ADAC Formula 4 campaign, he was back behind the wheel again last weekend, this time in the season opener of the equivalent Italian F4 series at the Adria International Raceway. As a member of the BWT Mücke Motorsport squad and the only German contestant in the entire field, he finished in the Top Three of the Best Rookie classification.

Buoyed up by his leadership of the rookie championship in the German ADAC Formula 4 series, Krütten arrived in Italy hoping for similarly strong results. The 15-year-old from Trier qualified 17th on the grid in a 31-strong field. A racing incidents in the first race prevented him from finishing any higher than P22, and in the second race, he was forced to retire. The third and final race had a much happier outcome when eleventh place in the overall classification was enough to take him onto the rookie podium. The BWT Mücke Motorsport driver finished the first race weekend of the 2018 Italian F4 Championship tenth in the Best Rookie standings.

On the weekend of 4th – 6th May, Krütten will be back in Germany competing in ADAC Formula 4 at the Hockenheimring which is hosting the second fixture of the season as part of the support programme to the DTM.

Your luck was definitely out in the first two races of the weekend. Can you sum up for us exactly what happened there?
My pace in qualifying was not ideal. P11 on the grid for the second race was fine, but I would obviously have preferred something better than the ninth row for Race 1. I wanted to gain a few positions at the start, and I slightly overdid it. I collided with an opponent and had to return to the pits for a repair to my front wing. I managed to move up from the rear of the field to finish 22nd, but I really should have done a lot better. In the second race, the pace was really good and I was able to match the lap times of the front-runners. However, an opponent misbraked and drove into the back of my car, so that was the end of my race.

The final race was great. Did the rookie podium provide some sort of compensation for what had gone before?
I was really happy with another podium on the opening weekend, this time in Italy. It was not an easy race, because there was something wrong with the pace again. So I was happy with the podium and eleventh overall. At the same time, though, after the victory last week at Oschersleben and taking the lead in the rookie championship, I had reckoned on achieving more here.

In just two weeks, you have the second ADAC Formula 4 weekend which shares the billing with the DTM. Are you looking forward to Hockenheim?
I just can’t wait to be competing in the context of the DTM. There will be drivers there who have already achieved what I have set out to do. We junior drivers look up to them and aspire to join them one day. Of course, there are always a lot of fans at the DTM season opener. Racing in front of so many spectators will certainly be one of the highlights of our season. The Hockenheimring itself should suit me fine. We had two days of testing there, and in the dry, we were up there at the front. Of course, my main objective is to defend and even extend my lead in the rookie championship.

Copy: Joan Codina / FotoFormulaK.com