ROK Cup Promotions is kicking off their 2020 event calendar this weekend at Isle Casino in Pompano Beach, Florida for round one of the Florida Winter Tour. Taking place on the temporary circuit on the grounds of the Isle Casino Racing Thursday, January 16th to Sunday, January 19th, 231 drivers from across the globe will be taking part in the event’s 22nd year.
After a jam-packed unofficial practice schedule on Thursday, drivers took to the track Friday morning for two official practice sessions in preparation for Qualifying and Heat 1 later in the day. With a rainy start to the day, drivers had to adjust to continually changing track conditions as the track dried out throughout the remainder of the day.
With morning practice sessions complete, qualifying sessions began at 12:40 in the afternoon. Drivers in each class had just one qualifying session to put down their best lap while on the hunt for the pole position.
In the first qualifying session of the weekend, Danny Dyszelski (Syntech) claimed the pole position with a time of 56.426, just narrowly beating out Mathieu Cousineau (Montreal Karting Club) by 0.091 seconds. Adam Ali (Racing Edge Motorsports) claimed the third position with a fast lap time of 65.523.
Danilo Ramalho of Racing Edge Motorsports took the pole position of the Master ROK qualifying session with a time of 49.166, just 0.176 seconds ahead of Renato Jader-David (Orsolon Racing). Gaia Mango (Zanella Racing) qualified for the third position with a time of 49.486. Rounding out the top-five starting positions was Vatche Tatikian of Phil Giebler Racing in fourth and Scott Falcone of Rolison Performance Group in fifth with a time of 49.692.
Oliver Wheldon (JC Karting) continued to gain speed throughout the eight-minute session, continually improving his lap time and finishing in the pole position with a fast lap time of 55.031 on his eighth and second to last lap. With less than one second separating the top-five, Salvador Dellavecchia (AM Engines) finished second, 0.017 seconds behind Wheldon. Jordan Di Leo (Goodwood Kartways) took the third position, with Asher Ochstein (Benik) and Jensen Burnett (AKT) rounding out the top-five.
For the fourth qualifying session of the day, both the Junior 100cc and Senior 100cc classes took to the track simultaneously. Taking the pole in the Junior 100cc category was Late Apex Kartworks driver Connor Zilisch with a fast lap time of 49.613. Behind him, Thomas Annunziata (Team Ferris/Team Felon) was just 0.107 seconds off the pace. Westin Workman (Timmy Tech/Compkart) put down his fastest time on the final lap finishing in third. Julia Boos (Team Felon) put down the fastest time of the Senior 100cc drivers with a 49.988.
Shifter Master ROK
After completing just five laps, Jordan Musser of 3G Kart Racing/PSL Karting exited the track early with a solid time of 47.780. Musser’s time held up and he claimed the pole position, with Peter Licciardi (TB Kart USA) coming in second with a 48.142. Starting from the inside of row two, Daniel Dibos (JC Karting) took the third position, with Hernando Sanchez (Goodwood Karting) and Nicholas Bedard (PSL Karting) rounding out the top-five.
Jordan Prior (Primepower), Colin Warren (VLR/TS Racing) and Ian Quinn (QG3) battled for the lead for the entirety of the qualifying session, but it was Jordan Prior who took the pole with a time of 55.602. Colin Warren will start from the second position, 0.021 second behind Prior. A close third was Quinn followed by MGM driver Zachary Linsell and PSL Karting driver Kelsey Hann. In a field of 21 drivers, the top-ten were all within one second of the leader.
With just over one minute remaining in the Mini ROK Qualifying session, the top seven drivers in the field were continuing to lay down fast lap after fast lap, but it was Caleb Gafrarar of PSL Karting who stayed on top of the time sheets and was victorious in earning the pole position with a 52.914. In a battle to the end, Matias Orjuela of Parolin Factory Team came in second, narrowly beating Max Garcia (Kart Republic North America) and Enzo Vidontiene (U-Race). All 23 drivers in the Mini ROK class were within two seconds of each other, foreshadowing an exciting heat race to come later in the day.
In the largest category of the weekend, Senior ROK drivers battled it out on track for the coveted pole position. With nearly the entire field neck and neck, the pole position was anyone’s to grab, but it was Andre Nicastro from NF Motorsports who was victorious with a time of 47.846. Battling it out over the course of ten laps, Thomas Nepveu (PSL Karting), Luca Mars (Speed Concepts Racing) and Diego Ramos (HR Motorsports) took the second through fourth positions. Rolison Performance Group driver Ryan Norberg finished the session with the fifth quickest time of 48.020. In an even tighter battle, 23 drivers finished less than a second off the pace.
Taking the Junior ROK pole position was HR Motorsports driver Guillerme Figueredo with a quick lap time of 48.260, narrowly beating out the other 31 drivers. Sacha Maguet (PSL Karting) crossed the finish line in second, followed closely by Connor Zilisch of Late Apex Kartworks. Jeremy Fletcher, from Mike Doty Racing, took the fourth position with a time of 48.533 narrowly exceeding Allessandro De’s (AM Racing) time of 48.538.
In the final qualifying session of the day, AJ Myers (Checkered Motorsports) took the checkered flag with a time of 46.622, earning the pole position over Mathias Ramirez (GFC/TrackMagic) by just 0.136 seconds. Karting legend Davide Fore (Goodwood Kartways) qualified for the heat races in third with a time of 46.783. Also entered in this weekend’s Shifter ROK category are the father/son duo of Rubens and Eduardo Barrichello, who qualified seventeenth and seventh respectively.
Quickly switching into race mode, drivers from all ten classes were set to take to the track and battle it out in the first of three heat races of the weekend. Thanks to the quick work by the ROK Cup USA Staff and the impeccable driving from all 231 drivers, all ten heat races were completed in just under 2.5 hours.
In the first heat race of the weekend, fourteen 206 Junior drivers fought it out for nine quick laps. Adam Ali worked his way from the third position and claimed a victory over Logan Ferguson by a mere 0.080 seconds. Adam’s brother and teammate Daniel Ali worked his way up through the field from the seventh position, finishing third. Mathieu Cousineau and Camden Gruber rounded out the top-five.
In the twelve lap heat race, Danilo Ramalho maintained his pole position a took the victory by 0.909 seconds over Gaia Magno. Second place qualifier Renato Jader-David was disqualified during tech inspection, giving way to Gaia Magno finishing in the second position and Vatche Tatikian in third. Scott Falcone and Marc Stehle finished out the top-five positions.
With just nine laps in the Micro ROK heat race, Salvador Dellavecchia kept polesitter Oliver Wheldon in his sights as he shortened the distance between them each lap. With only twelve drivers in the field, six received penalties at the start of the race. On lap four, Dellavecchia was able to take over the lead, where he stayed for the remainder of the race, coming out victorious over Wheldon. Jordan Di Leo maintained his position finishing where he began – in the third position.
With battles taking place throughout the field, the first four rows battled it out for the win. Finishing where they qualified, Connor Zilisch maintained his lead over Thomas Annunziata with Westin Workman following closely behind in third and Noah Baker in fourth. Danny Dyszelski claimed the fifth position, moving up from seventh.
Shifter Master ROK
Jordan Musser became the third driver of the day who was able to hold on to his pole position and come out triumphant, over eight seconds ahead of second place finisher Hernando Sanchez. Sanchez overtook second place qualifier Peter Licciardi with seven laps remaining – Licciardi finished third. Victor Jimenez worked his way up from seventh and finished fourth, gaining the most positions of anyone in the field.
Polesitter Jordan Prior held his lead up until the final lap of the session, when Colin Warren overtook him for the position. Ian Quinn was able to make use of this pass for the lead and followed Warren into the second position with Jordan Prior finishing third. Zachary Linsell maintained his position and finished the heat race fourth, neck and neck with the top three drivers. Further back in the field, Elmer Edmondson made an impressive dash through the field gaining eight positions and finishing fifteenth.
PSL Karting driver Caleb Gafrarar maintained his lead over the rest of the field, followed closely by Max Garcia. Starting from the second position, Matias Orjuela had a tough start to the race, falling back three positions in the opening lap, and an additional four during the remainder of the race. Max Garcia was able to take advantage of this and claim the second-place position. With three laps to go, Gafrarar and Garcia began to stretch their lead over third place finisher Sebastian Wheldon. In a drag race finish to the checkered flag, Gafrarar was able to hold off Garcia and come out victorious.
In an impressive start, Zachary Claman shot from the sixth position to the second on the first of twelve laps, where he remained for the entirety of the race, finishing behind Thomas Nepveu. Diego Ramos also improved his position finishing third. Luca Mars and Ryan Norberg rounded out the top-five, followed by polesitter, Andre Nicastro in the sixth position.
The Junior ROK heat race was exciting from start to finish with passing taking place throughout the entirety of the field. Of the 32 drivers, eight were able to improve their standing by five or more positions, including Jack Jeffers who gained a whopping seventeen positions as he fought his way through the field. Coming out on top however, was Connor Zilisch, followed closely by polesitter Guilllerme Figuerdo and Sacha Maguet in the second and third positions. Brent Crews made an impressive jump into the fourth position from eighth.
In the final heat race of the day, AJ Myers finished the race where he started – at the front of the pack with a solid lead of 1.532 seconds over teammate and second place finisher Andrew Bujdoso. Davide Fore, who started the race from the third position, had an unfortunate start, dropping back into the 29th position in the first lap, ultimately finishing 22nd. Mathias Ramirez, Jake French and Daniel Formal finished out the to-five.
Saturday each class will take to the track four more times in preparation for the final event on Sunday. The morning will kick off with a warmup at 8:00am followed by two heat races. The day will end with the prefinal races.
A complete set of session results can be found on the easy to navigate ROK Cup USA app or by clicking here.
A constant stream of posts via the ROK Cup USA social media pages continue to put the event in front of the karting industry around the world. Stay tuned for more news, photos, information and results by following @ROKCupUSA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Photos: Cody Schindel / CanadianKartingNews.com