Benjamin Berta and Juju Noda win at season opener

Drexler-Automotive Formula Cup - Mugello (ITA)

At the first meeting of the Drexler Formula Cup in the still young season Benjamin Berta (Franz Wöss Racing) and Juju Noda ( Noda Racing) could celebrate the opening victories. For the two youngsters, it was a dream come true to leave a whole series of established Formula 3 drivers behind them in the field of 34 cars. Of course, the victory of Japan's Juju Noda, who once again proved her talent in Formula racing and proved to be really competitive right from the start after switching from Formula Regional to Formula 3, outweighed all the others. Qualifying on the 5.245-kilometer circuit in Tuscany was dominated by Francesco Simonazzi ( BVM Racing), who, however, used the weekend for a test session and, as a guest starter, was not included in the official classification. Juju Noda reeled off 10 laps in qualifying and secured second place ahead of Paolo Brajnik (NV Racing), who in turn was able to relegate Marco Falci to fourth. Benjamin Berta and Sandro Zeller (Jo Zeller Racing) did not fare as well, finishing sixth and eighth respectively.

The qualifying result was then turned upside down at the start of the 1st race. Simonazzi made an early exit and Berta, like Zeller, got off to a dream start. This did not end well for Noda. She lost a few places and slipped back to seventh. On the seventh lap, Francesco Galli touched a competitor and sailed into the gravel. The longer safety car period was just coming to an end when Edoardo Bonanomi suddenly stopped on the track with his Dallara. As a result, the safety car period was extended again. The re-start for another lap to be driven was caught by Benjamin Berta with a flawless maneuver against Marco Falci and Sandro Zeller. The Hungarian won for the Franz Wöss Racing team. Juju Noda just missed the podium with fourth place after her race to catch up. This seemed to give the 17-year-old Japanese a motivational boost for the second race. As in the first race, the start was won by Francesco Simonnazi, who was not classified. Juju Noda took second position behind the Italian and then drove her own race, because the opposition of the chasers remained quite pale. Marco Falci had to let go more and more in the course of the 16-lap chase and lost more than 20 seconds to Noda until the finish. Behind him Bernardo Pellegrini started to catch up. Like Sandro Zeller, he started from the 4th row of the grid and caught Benjamin Berta and Sandro Zeller in the first third of the race. Up to this point, Alessandro Bracalente also had a good chance of winning the race, but was given a 10-second penalty by the race organizers for an infraction, which ultimately pushed the Italian back to seventh place. In the meantime, the race was over for the front runners. Juju Noda celebrated her first victory in the Drexler Formula Cup in outstanding style. Second-placed Marco Falci repeated his impressive pace of the previous day and relegated Bernardo Pellegrini to third place. Sandro Zeller remained in fourth place and was able to leave Francesco Galli just behind him in the final sprint. Benjamin Berta's tires were wearing out in the final laps. The winner of the 1st race in Mugello could therefore no longer intervene for the podium places. "With this great field and the driving lines we have experienced a worthy season opener in Mugello, which also surprised us. With Benjamin Berta, Juju Noda and Marco Falci, the young Formula 3 drivers clearly set the tone," says coordinator Franz Wöss.

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