Motopark’s Noel Leon won the first two Euroformula races at the Red Bull Ring.
The big talking point going into the event was the removal of the series’ minimum weight rule that enabled female drivers to race lighter cars. Following that technical decision, Noda Racing decided to withdraw from the weekend.
That left a nine-car field, and Leon took pole by 0.232 seconds over the debuting Joshua Dufek. A further 0.08s behind was fellow debutant and CryptoTower Racing Team team-mate Charlie Wurz.
Leon raced away at the start of race one, while Dufek, Wurz and Motopark pair Bryce Aron and Jakob Bergmeister all stalled. Cian Shields went from fourth to second, and Vladimir Netusil rose from seventh to third but over the course of lap one was relegated back to seventh.
Dufek got into third ahead of NV Racing’s Paolo Brajnik and BVM Racing’s Francesco Simonazzi. On lap two, Simonazzi passed Brajnik at turn three and the top four order was set.
Leon pulled away to win the 20-lap race by 7.95s, Dufek finished 10.13s back in third and Simonazzi was not far behind him but at the very end had to look in his mirrors at Wurz.
Netusil aggressively defended against Bergmeister, despite an off, all the way until lap 14 when he went around the outside of him at turn four. Bergmeister was then able to overtake Brajnik for seventh.
Leon came from sixth on the reversed grid to win race two, which Aron started on pole. He had Wurz and Simonazzi chasing in the early laps, while Leon was stuck behind Dufek who was staunchly defending fourth.
Dufek got crossed up exiting turn three on lap four and Leon tried the outside of turn four but Dufek braked late to stay ahead. He defended turn one the next lap, then locked up at turn three but stayed ahead.
An attempted turn four move failed again on lap six, then on lap seven Leon got on the inside of Dufek at turn three. Dufek took to the grass on the straight after and reclaimed fourth at turn four, an they went side-by-side through the next corners before Leon got ahead at turn eight.
Leon then chased the top three, which featured a change on lap nine as Simonazzi went down the inside of Wurz at turn three and the latter went off-track exiting the corner.
Successive fastest laps brought Leon onto Wurz’s tail by lap 16. Wurz defended turn two then went too deep at the next corner. Leon got alongside and had the outside line for turn four, but then did the switchback to have the inside at the exit and take third place.
That became second two laps later. Leader Aron had gone to cover the inside line approaching turn three but then moved to the outside on entry, leaving room that Simonazzi tucked into. As they exited the corner Simonazzi tapped the rear-right wheel of Aron, who after running over the kerbs spun down to sixth.
Simonazzi was soon in Leon’s sights, and on the last lap the leader went slightly wide exiting turn three. Leon pounced, going down the inside of turn four to secure his fifth win.
Race 1 (20 laps)
1 Noel Leon Motopark 28m22.060s
2 Cian Shields Motopark +7.950s
3 Joshua Dufek CryptoTower Racing Team +10.130s
4 Francesco Simonazzi BVM Racing +10.499s
5 Charlie Wurz CryptoTower Racing Team +11.193s
6 Bryce Aron Motopark +20.466s
7 Jakob Bergmeister Motopark +41.292s
8 Paolo Brajnik NV Racing +45.839s
9 Vladimir Netusil Effective Racing +51.160s
Pole: Leon, 1m23.568s
Fastest lap: Leon, 1m24.378s
Race 2 (20 laps)
1 Leon 28m20.456s
2 Simonazzi +1.114s
3 Wurz +2.364s
4 Dufek +2.743s
5 Shields +10.713s
6 Aron +20.523s
7 Bergmeister +21.618s
8 Netusil +40.109s
FL: Leon, 1m23.695s
1 Leon 256 2 Aron 200 3 Shields 192 4 Simonazzi 186 5 Juju Noda 118 6 Bergmeister 110 7 Josh Mason 96 8 Tim Tramnitz 55 9 Enzo Trulli 50 10 Dufek 27