2023 ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour – Orlando Kart Center – Round 3 – Sunday Report

2023 ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour – Orlando Kart Center – Round 3 – Sunday Report

Daily Report by: ROK Cup USA
Photos by: Canadian Karting News

ROK VLR Junior
Starting Grid

  1. Steven Miller – Chad Dokken Racing
  2. Emma Scarbrough – Chad Dokken Racing
  3. Chase Buscaglia – GWR
  4. Shun Sekiguchi – Supertune
  5. Anthony Martella – Speed Concepts Racing

The first ROK VLR Junior start was aborted as drivers went around for an additional circuit due to a lot of pushing and shoving in the mid-pack. The second attempt was picture-perfect as Miller jumped out to the early lead followed by Scarbrough while Sekiguch gained one position to slot into third. Miller, taking advantage of his cold tire skills, opened a .626 gap after one lap and extended that to .799 after lap two. Ernesto Rivera (Rolison Performance Group) was up three positions into fifth as Christopher Aitken (Zanella Racing) and Christian Cameron (PSL Karting) ran sixth and seventh. Scarbrough began to pick up the pace at quarter race distance as she stretched the gap on Sekiguchi and started to run down Miller out front as Rivera, in fourth, was the fastest kart on track. On the next circuit, Rivera made a bid for third bringing Aitken with him as the Supertune driver Sekiguchi fell to fifth on the charts. On lap nine, Sekguchi lost ten more positions falling to 14th after on track contact as up front, Rivera was by Scarbrough and closed the gap to within two-tenths of a second to Miller. Leonardo Escorpioni (Zanella Racing) moved to fifth on lap ten while Rivera took the lead from Miller on lap 11. Miller was back to the point on the 12th circuit bringing Scarbrough and Aitken with him as Rivera fell to fourth, just ahead of Cameron. With five laps to go, Miller led over Scarbrough as Rivera had found his way to third ahead of Cameron and a hard-charging Anthony Martella, who fell outside the top-ten early on. Lap 17 saw Rivera contact Miller, not once, but on two occasions giving the lead to Scarbrough as Cameron slipped by for second ahead of Miller and Martella. With two to go, Miller was back to the lead as Cameron held his position in second, but everyone’s eyes were on Martella in third who continued his drive forward. The front three ran lock and step as the white flag flew as they had a small gap back to P4. Miller was able to score the win by .017 over Cameron, Martella, Escorpioni, and Aitken as Rivera and Emma Scarbrough made contact on the final lap and fell down the running order. Following post-race penalties, Christian Cameron earned the win ahead of Martella, Escorpioni, Aitken, and Salvador Della Vecchia (San Antonio Racing).

The 2023 ROK VLR Junior Florida Winter Tour Champion is: Steven Miller

ROK VLR Senior
Starting Grid

  1. Helio Meza – Iron Rock Motorsports
  2. Gracian Rzedzian – Tecno Kart USA
  3. Weston Duchak – Rolison Performance Group
  4. Colin Aitken – Zanella Racing
  5. Joshua Soumvalis – Prime Powerteam

Helio Meza led the ROK VLR Senior field to the green flag as Gracian Rzedzian slotted into second. Colin Aitken advanced forward one position to run third after lap one pushing Duchak down to fourth, just ahead of Soumvalis. Haopeng Zhang (Supertune) moved forward from his P6 starting spot to slide into the top-five early on. Meza went purple on lap four, and again on lap five to open his lead to .557 over Rzedzian. Duchak was back to third after five circuits. Rzedzian began to turn up the wick resetting the fastest race lap on both lap six and seven as the front two were now running nose to tail more than three seconds ahead of Duchak in third. Rzedzian moved to the lead on lap 11 pushing Meza to second as it was shaping up to be a two-driver race for the win. Aidan Shimbashi (PRO) moved into the fifth position on lap 12 but a lap later, it was Alexander Dal Bon (LFB Racing) who found his way into the top-five in fifth. Rzedzian still led up front with Meza hot on his heels in second with five laps remaining. Lap 16 saw Meza regain the lead but a lap later, it was Rzedzian who was back out front as the two were swapping positions lap after lap. Gracian Rzedzian was able to position the Tecno Kart USA machine perfectly on the final lap to take the win ahead of Meza, Aitken, Duchak and Shimbashi. Following post-race penalties and technical inspection, Meza was awarded the win ahead of Duchak, Shumbashi, Franco Savaglio (VSR) and Soumvalis.

The 2023 ROK VLR Senior Florida Winter Tour Champion is: Weston Duchak

ROK Mini
Starting Grid

  1. Rocco Simone – Mottazsport
  2. Santiago Namnum – FLC
  3. Kai Johnson – Team Benik
  4. Royce Vega – Team Benik
  5. Antonio Pizzonia Neto – Orsolon Racing

It was a perfect start for the Mini ROKKERs as Rocco Simone held his lead at the front, but it was the current point leader Kai Johnson who would make quick work of his fellow competitors. Moving to second on the opening lap and taking the lead on lap two, Johnson was out front early and had opened a half a second gap on his rivals. Behind him, Simone held Pizzonia Neto at bay as David Zhao (Goodwood Kartways) made quick work to move into the fourth position with Namnum losing three spots in the opening three laps to slot into fifth. Pizzonia Neto moved to the lead on lap five pushing Johnson down to second as the top-five were covered by less than one second. Julian Rivera (AKT Racing) was the man on the mission as he had gained 15 positions in six laps to advance forward into the tenth position and a lap later, gained two more spots to eighth. In a big move up front, Zhao took over the lead at the mid-race distance moving from fourth to first in one lap just ahead of Johnson. It was Johnson’s turn to lead again as he moved back to the front on lap nine and held the position through lap ten with Zhao right on his bumper. The front two opened a small gap on the third-place runner of Simone as he was engaged in a big battle with Pizzonia Neto. Lap 11 saw Rivera continue his charge to the front as he was up 22 positions into third as Supertune’s Fion Shi advanced forward to fifth. With three laps remaining, it was Zhao who was back up front as it was once again left to two drivers to battle for the win. With the white flag flying, Zhao continued to lead as he went on the defensive to keep Johnson behind him, but Johnson outsmarted the Canadian to sneak by for the win. Following post-race penalties, Johnson was disqualified in tech, and Zhao was given a two-positon penalty for two wheels out. This awarded Julian Rivera the win, with Pizzonia Neto second, Zhao third with Shi and and Deonarine (AKT) rounding out the top-five.

The 2023 ROK Mini Florida Winter Tour Champion is: David Zhao

ROK Shifter Master
Starting Grid

  1. Antonio Pizzonia Jr. – Orsolon Racing
  2. Andre Martins – Orlando Kart Center
  3. Daniel Dibos – International Motorsport
  4. Alex Mueller – Privateer
  5. Scott Presti – Presti Racing

Knowing that Pizzonia Jr. was the class of the field at the Florida Winter Tour, the ROK Shifter Master drivers would look to get by him early. Pizzonia Jr. rocketed off the line and maintained his point at the front and he immediately proceeded to set purple sectors and open a gap on his rivals as Legrand, Kori Matthews (VTM Racing & TB Kart USA), and Presti failed to complete one lap. After three laps, Andre Martins ran second, 4.056 behind the current leader and just ahead of Alex Mueller, Morne Van Taak (VTM Racing), and Francesco Vassallo (PSL Karting) who had all gained positions by quarter race distance. Running nearly one second a lap quicker than the second place Martins, Pizzonia Jr. was more than six seconds ahead by the conclusion of lap five. Martins was out of the race on lap eight advancing the competitors around him and providing Pizzonia Jr. with what looked to be an insurmountable gap. Mueller ran in the second position, 12 seconds behind the leader but less than a second ahead of Van Taak in third. Dibos found himself in the fourth position, just ahead of Vassallo in fifth. Lap 13 saw another fastest race lap set by Pizzonia Jr as he was 17.035 ahead of Mueller in second. It was no contest up front as Pizzonia Jr. scored the win and accompanying Florida Winter Tour championship. Behind him, Mueller held on for second ahead of Van Taak, Dibos, and Luis Gautier (PSL Karting).

The 2023 ROK Master Shifter Florida Winter Tour Champion is: Antonio Pizzonia Jr.

ROK Senior
Starting Grid

  1. Zachary Claman De Melo – International Motorsport
  2. Matheus Morgatto – PSL Karting
  3. Diego Ramos – PSL Karting
  4. Ayden Ingratta – Speed Concepts Racing
  5. Sebastian Blanco – Orsolon Racing

Using new tires for Saturday afternoon’s prefinal, De Melo was able to take the win but would face a disadvantage today as he would be forced to use used tires while all other drivers had new LeVantos. De Melo led the opening lap as he aggressively defended but on lap three, he had dropped to the bottom of the running order. There was a new driver up front in Kevin Quevedo (International Motorsport) who appeared at the top of the running order as an apparent cutting-the-track penalty would be forthcoming. Matheus Morgatto was second on track but the effective leader with the penalty coming as Jorge Ortiz (Speed Concepts Racing) was up nine positions and into third. Morgatto was by Quevedo on lap five as Ortiz continued to run third, just ahead of Blake Nash in fourth, and Canadian Francesco Esposito (Prime Powerteam). Morgatto, the 2022 series champion, and 2023-point leader was leading by more than 1.5 seconds after seven of 20 laps with Alessandro De Tullio (Prime Powerteam) advancing into the fifth position. Ortiz was by Quevedo for the second position on track, but it was Morgatto who had opened a three-second lead up front. Quevedo continued in P3 ahead of Nash and De Tullio as Helio Meza (Iron Rock Motorsports) ran sixth. Morgatto was a machine up front turning countless race laps within one-tenth of a second and with five laps remaining, had nearly a four-second lead. Nash was putting pressure on Quevedo but did not realize how close De Tullio was behind him as he made a move for fourth on lap 16 bringing Meza with him to fifth and Nash was down to P6. Nash moved back into the fifth position with two laps remaining as he trailed Quevedo and De Tullio for the best battle on track. Up front, Morgatto handily drove to the race win and second consecutive FWT championship as Ortiz and De Tullio would finish second and third to celebrate on the podium. Quevedo crossed the line fourth, but penalties would be coming, as Helio Meza beat Blake Nash to the line for fifth. After penalties and post-race technical inspection, Morgatto held on to the win ahead of Ortiz, De Tullio, Nash, and Esposito.

The 2023 ROK Senior Florida Winter Tour Champion is: Matheus Morgatto

ROK Master
Starting Grid

  1. Mario Barrios – Rolison Performance Group
  2. Martin Stone – Racing Edge Motorsports
  3. David Laplante – Premier Karting
  4. Danillo Ramalho – U-Race
  5. Alex Mueller – Privateer

Mario Barros led the field to the green flag in ROK Master and maintained his position throughout the opening lap. David Laplante and Danillo Ramalho both gained one position as Martin Stone lost two positions on the opening circuit. Andre Nicastro was up three positions on the first lap as he moved into the top-five setting the fastest lap of the race, and on lap three, moved into fourth as he looked to close the gap to the lead trio. Ramalho moved into the second position on lap four bringing Nicastro with him to third as Nicastro reset the fastest lap again on lap three. Ramalho had a successful bid for the lead on lap seven as he moved to the point with Nicastro following him through to second as Barrios fell to third. Nicastro was two-tenths faster than the leader on lap eight to close the gap slightly as he was on the charge and hunting for the race win. Ramalho continued to lead as the front four were separated by less than one second with eight laps remaining. Stone made an aggressive move forward as it broke the front quartet up slightly with Ramalho continuing to lead, ahead of Stone and Nicastro now. Barrios went from contending for the win to falling to fifth, more than three seconds behind the leader. With three laps to go, Ramalho led Nicastro who had snuck by Stone as it was anyone’s race to win with the championship on the line. Closing the gap from 1.6 to 1.4 to 1.1 over the last three laps, Nicastro was on a charge but looked to be running out of time. Ramalho would hang on for the win ahead of Nicastro, Stone, Laplante, and Barrios. Following the race, Nicastro was awarded the win due to a penalty to Ramalho that dropped him to fifth. Stone, Laplante, and Barrios finished second through fourth respectively.

The 2023 ROK Master Florida Winter Tour Champion is: Andre Nicastro

ROK Micro
Starting Grid

  1. Antonio Pizzonia Neto – Orsolon Racing
  2. Gavin Dakay – Zanella Racing
  3. Matheus Ramalho – U-Race
  4. Maxwell Macha – SLA
  5. Liam Van Beek – Mottazsport

The youngest class on the grid usually puts on the best show and while the first start was aborted, the second start was perfect as Antonio Pizzonia Neto led the field into the first corner, but it was Matheus Ramalho who closed the first lap as the leader. Gavin Dakay was the leader at the end of lap two with Ramalho, Pizzonia Neto, Macha, and Van Beek rounding out the top-five. Ramalho was the fastest driver in the top-ten at quarter race distance with the top-five separated by a scant .854. Pizzonia Neto fell to seventh on lap five as Macha, Van Beek, Alex Chandler (Iron Rock Motorsports) and Josh Bergman (Piquet Sports) were able to sneak by and occupy positions in the top-five. Up front, Dakay still led Ramalho as they had opened a one-second gap on the group of drivers behind them. At the mid-race distance, Dakay and Ramalho still ran bumper-to-bumper up front, but it was Van Beek who slotted into the third position ahead of Chandler and Macha but a lap later, Bergman was by Macha for fifth. With six laps remaining, Dakay and Ramalho continued to stretch their lead to nearly 1.5 seconds over Van Beek in third as they worked together to ensure it would be just two drivers battling for the win. Bergman encountered trouble on lap 11 and fell to P17 as Ramalho was by Dakay up front for the lead as they continued to run nose to tail. Ramalho led Dakay as the white flag flew. With some bumping in the final corner, both Dakay and Van Beek were able to get by Ramalho to claim the top two positions with Ramalho in third, Chandler in fourth, and Nico Obezo (Iron Rock Motorsports) in the fifth position.

The 2023 ROK Micro Florida Winter Tour Champion is: Macha Maxwell

ROK Junior
Starting Grid

  1. Steven Miller – Chad Dokken Racing
  2. Ernest Rivera – Rolison Performance Group
  3. Leonardo Escorpioni – Zanella Racing
  4. Teddy Musella – Rolison Performance Group
  5. Sebastian Garzon – Orsolon Racing

One of the largest and most competitive classes on the grid, ROK Junior, was led to the green flag by Steven Miller as he and Ernest Rivera occupied the front row. An aborted first start for speed saw the Junior ROKKERs take an additional warmup lap as they prepared for their final Florida Winter Tour race start of 2023. Miller jumped out to the early lead as Sebastian Garzon was the biggest winner on the opening lap moving from fifth to second as Musella slotted into third. Contact up front with Rivera dropped him five positions to P7 at the close of lap one as he would have his work cut out for him over the 20-lap main event. Garzon slipped by Miller on lap four to take over the lead as Escorpioni did the same to Musella for third and Rivera passed by Christopher Aitken for P5. A lap later, Rivera was by Musella for fourth as the front five ran bumper-to-bumper. Lap six saw Miller back to the point as he disposed of Garzon for the lead with Rivera’s comeback mounting as he snuck by the driver in front of him for third. A lap later, it was Garzon to the top as he brought Rivera with him pushing Miller back to third and at the halfway mark, Rivera had found himself back at the front of the ROK Junior field. Miller continued to fall back with Escorpioni moving around the Chad Dokken Racing driver for third just before mid-race distance. Rivera went purple on lap ten in the lead to open a four-tenths of a second lead, the largest by anyone all race with Miller and Musella getting by Escorpioni on lap ten for third and fourth. Rivera went purple again up front as he was quickly proving he was the driver to beat, stretching his lead to .742 with seven laps remaining. With five laps to go, Garzon was now quicker than the leader Rivera and closed the gap slightly as he looked to make a late race charge. In two laps, Garzon had shrunk the gap from .8 to .5, and with two laps remaining, had decreased it .474. Sarah Bradley (Mottazsport) was having a good run as she was in P6 with two laps to go, ahead of Speed Concepts Racing’s Caleb Campbell and PSL Karting’s Christian Cameron. Rivera responded to the speed of Garzon behind him and turned a quicker lap on lap 19 as he was able to drive to the win. Garzon was the best of the rest in second ahead of Miller, Escorpioni, and Musella. The biggest mover on the day was JC Karting’s Oliver Wheldon gaining 17 positions to finish ninth.

The 2023 ROK Junior Florida Winter Tour Champion is: Ernesto Rivera

ROK VLR Master
Starting Grid

  1. Ariel Castro – AM Engines
  2. Laurentiu Mardan – Tecno Kart USA
  3. Michel Legrand – PSL Karting
  4. Kim Carapellatti – Carapellatti Racing
  5. Luis Quinones – Rhino Kart Team

Ariel Castro maintained his pole position starting spot as he led the opening lap ahead of Laurentiu Mardan. Michel Legrand fell two positions on the opening lap as positions in the middle of the field changed drastically. Daniel Costa was up seven positions in two laps to run third, just ahead of Mark Pavan (Goodwood Kartways) in fourth. A lap later Fernando Zucato (Racing Edge Motorsports) was in the fifth position as Castro had opened a gap of nearly one second at the end of lap four. Castro set a blistering pace on lap five to open his lead to 1.2 over Mardan as Costa ran third ahead of Zucato and Robert Valenzano (Goodwood Kartways). Castro stretched his lead again on lap six as Mardan had a big gap on Costa in third with the best battle on track between the fourth and fifth-place runners. Positions remained static over the next few circuits and on lap 13, Castro still led Mardan by 3.894, followed by Costa, Zucato, and Valenzano. Zucato fell victim to Valenzano on lap 14 losing the fourth position as Castro continued to stretch his lead out front. Ariel Castro drove to an easy win of more than five seconds with Mardan holding on for second. The battle for the final step of the podium was the one to watch and, in the end, Valenzano was able to make a last lap move for third and finish ahead of Costa and Zucato.

The 2023 ROK VLR Master Florida Winter Tour Champion is: Alex Dal Bon

ROK Shifter
Starting Grid

  1. Marijn Kremers – PSL Karting
  2. Karol Pasiewicz – International Motorsport
  3. Kyle Wick – GFC
  4. Hunter Pickett – PSL Karting
  5. Giorgio Carrara – International Motorsport

It was Kremers with the holeshot as he won the drag race to the first corner and put together a solid opening lap to lead by 1.440 over Karol Pasiewicz, Kyle Wick, Hunter Pickett, and Giorgio Carrara. Pasiewicz had a poor lap three falling to fifth much to the like of Wick and Pickett and a lap later, it was Carrara who made a big move to second bringing Collin Daley (DRT Racing) with him. Pasiewicz had fallen again to P7 and a lap later, was eighth. Wick leapfrogged Daley for P3 on lap five, but it was Kremers who had a five-second lead after six laps up front. Outside the top-five Justin White (Magik Kart USA) and Lucio Masini (Power House Racing) were having a battle for the sixth position as things settled down up front. At mid-race distance, Kremers lead handily over Carrara, Wick, Daley, and Pickett. Wick and Carrara made heavy contact on lap 13 much to the delight of Kremers who had stretched his lead even more. Behind him, positions changed due to contact as Kremers led Carrara and Daley now with Pickett and Wick rounding out the top-five. Carrara and Daley ran nose to tail in the best battle on track and with four laps remaining, Daley was by Carrara for the second step on the podium. Kremers earned the win and Florida Winter Tour ROK Shifter Championship with Daley, Carrara, Pickett, and Wick rounding out the top-five. Following penalties, Kremers kept the win but was joined on the podium by Daley and White with Jared Ramnarayan (PRO) being classified fourth, ahead of a penalized Pickett in fifth.

The 2023 ROK Senior Shifter Florida Winter Tour Champion is: Marijn Kremers

The 2023 ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour is now complete with champions crowned and ROK Superfinal and ROK Vegas tickets awarded. For a complete set of results click HERE.

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