Francesco Galli wins the season opener

Drexler Formula Cup - Vallelunga (ITA)

Francesco Galli (GMotorsport) is the winner of the season opener of the Drexler Formula Cup in Vallelunga. After taking pole position on Saturday with a qualifying time of 1:28.410 minutes, Galli dominated the first race of the new season in impressive style. Defending champion Benjamin Berta (Franz Wöss Racing) was 0.466 seconds behind in qualifying. Behind the driver from Hungary, Sandro Zeller (Jo Zeller Racing) made it onto the second row of the grid, which was completed by Dino Rasero (PURESPORT). Things got pretty turbulent after the start. Galli initially lost the lead to Berta and Zeller attacked the Hungarian, who found himself in second position behind Galli a few metres later. ‘My start was not good, but after three corners I was back in front,’ said Galli. Then three cars at the back of the field collided with each other, triggering a ten-minute safety car period. This action was a real pity for the course of the race, because a lot of time was lost recovering the cars.

Francesco Galli defended the lead after the restart and extended it to 2.3 seconds ahead of Berta, while Sandro Zeller lost contact with the leading duo and was 7.2 seconds behind. Three minutes before the end of the 25-minute race, Formula 3 newcomer Oliver Kratsch (Facondini Racing) put his Dallara F308 into the gravel. The field then continued under full course yellow. Shortly before the last lap of the race, race control cleared the start again and Benjamin Berta got the timing absolutely right. The Hungarian emerged directly behind Galli. Despite several attacks on the Italian, Berta was unable to get past in the final metres. ‘Galli was a bit faster on the straights. I didn't manage to launch a real attack,’ said Berta, who was nevertheless delighted with second place. Francesco Galli, meanwhile, celebrated his first win of the season. Sandro Zeller was unable to finish higher than third. Riccardo Perego finished fourth behind the Swiss rider. Francesco Galli got the best start in the second race and defended the lead, with Riccardo Perego (Team Automobile TRI) passing Benjamin Berta. The Hungarian restored the order moments later. On the third lap, the Italian Shibi (Racing Italy) crashed his Dallara 308 in the gravel. After the safety car phase, which lasted almost seven minutes, Galli pulled away from Berta, while Perego and Zeller battled for third position. In a thrilling duel, the two squabblers came into contact with each other. Zeller damaged his front right wheel and came into the pits to change it. Francesco Galli fended off all of Berta's attacks right to the finish and won by 0.276 seconds. Perego had to deal with Victor Smialek (Franz Wöss Racing) in the final sprint. The Formula 3 debutant put Perego under pressure, but was ultimately unable to overtake the Italian.

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