Carlotta Fedeli & Francesca Raffaele kick-off Italian season at Mugello
In the opening round of the TCR Italian season, Francesca Raffaele made and impressive series debut, as Carlotta Fedeli entered the Mugello round in preparations for her upcoming Italian and European endurance commitments.
With international motor racing championships restarting, Italian motorsport made its 2020 on track debut as well this weekend.
In the always beautiful Mugello circuit - a track that will host a Formula One round for the first time later this year - TCR Italy Touring Car Championship opened the Italian season.
Among the 23 drivers on the grid, two of them were ladies: series expert Carlotta Fedeli and 18-year old Francesca Raffaele, making her full-time debut in the series.
28-year old Fedeli competed in the Italian TCR DSG Endurance Championship in the past seasons as a member of the established Girasole Cupra team and is currently preparing for her next endurance commitments. The driver from Rome took part in the first round of the shorter-race TRC series with the brand new RC Motorsport team, at the wheel of a Volkswagen Golf GTI. Together with her national championships, 2020 will also see Carlotta competing in the European endurance TCR, a clear step forward for such an experienced and talented driver.
Making her debut in the main Italian touring car series, it was Francesca Raffaele, a lady that impressed last year in the Renault Clio Cup and that will contest this year the full TCR Italy season at the wheel of a BF Motorsport Audi.
"I expect to join the Top-10 but only in the first race, after I want the podium" - said boldly the young Italian at the moment of her presentation as new team member, proving her high expectations and awareness for her potential.
Said expectations were largely proven: the 18-year old BF Motorsport driver was able to took home a convincing fifth place starting from seventh in the first weekend's race, as she was author of a very mighty drive throughout the race.
The first race saw a great battle for victory between last years' championship winner Salvatore Tavano and Marco Pellegrini.
At the end of an entartaining fight that went on for most of the race running time, Tavano took first at the chequered flag driving the new Cupra Leon Competition, followed by Pellegrini's Hyundai and by the Argentian driver Franco Girolami.
Carlotta Fedeli crossed the line in P11 after a clean Saturday's race one.
Francesca Raffaella tried to keep momentum into Race 2 starting from the first row, but following a slower reaction at the green lights, she lost two positions.
It was a great start for Salvatore Tavano instead, who clinched the top of the classify from fourth on the grid.
In the following laps, the race leader was forced to enter the pitlane for some kind of damage to his Cupra and Damiano Reduzzi took advantage by claiming the leadership, followed by Franco Girolami and Francesca Raffaele in third.
Francesca lost P3 from teammate Eric Brigliadori a few seconds before the Safety Car was called out after the #44 car of Michele Imberti went off track for a contact with Marco Pellegrini.
The young Italian lady made an unfortunate mistake at the restart and lost few more positions. She was involved in close battles with both Simone Pellegrini and Felice Jelmini that eventually led to her retirement.
"I'm sorry, I was ahead and I had hoped to do well, we'll do better in Misano" - said Francesca after the stop.
Meanwhile, Carlotta Fedeli ran in P12 - she would later explain that she couldn't find the best set-up during the whole weekend.
With 2 laps to go, the fight for the victory was on fire between Reduzzi and Brigliadori, with the two drivers ultimately making contact and allowing past Jelmini - who completed the full comeback from last to P1.
In the last corner of the last lap, another mistake from Brigliadori dropped him some more places, with also Carlotta Fedeli and Savoia colliding in the same corner.
Felice Jelmini crossed the finish line in first, but a penalty handed to him for the incident with Francesca Raffaele dropped him outside the podium positions.
The victory thus went to Damiano Reduzzi, with Girolami in second and Pellegrini in third.
The final Top-ten spot went to Carlotta Fedeli, as she was able to bring her Volkswagen Golf home without damages despite the hard battles.