KARTS | WHEELS | SETUP
BODYWORK | ACCESSORIES
VORTEX ENGINES | MINI ROK | ENGINE ACCESSORIES
VORTEX ENGINES | KZ | OKJ
KARTS | WHEELS | SETUP
BODYWORK | ACCESSORIES
VORTEX ENGINES | MINI ROK | ENGINE ACCESSORIES
VORTEX ENGINES | KZ | OKJ
March 08, 2023 8 min read
After the significant turnout from the previous year, the Mini ROK "expands" and welcomes a record 43 drivers to the starting grid.
The participants are split up into two qualifying sessions, and the cumulative ranking determines which four teams will compete in the elimination heats on Saturday and Sunday. With a time of 55.510 seconds, Alessandro Nanni beats Norbert Plaszewski by 22 thousandths of a second in the race against the chrono clocking. The previous year's winner, Martina Rumlenova, is in third place, followed by Gustav Christensen in fourth, Dario Palazzolo in fifth, and Angelo Pecoraro in sixth. Shen Zeyu, the current ROK Cup Italy champion, is ranked seventh, ahead of Justin Paul Di Lucia, Milosz Smuk, and Ilias Mitaki. The ranking continues with Antonio Ianni, Kacper Rajpold, Shae Shield, Manuel Ranica, Mateusz Wal, Patrick Salistean, Lorenzo Zucchetto, Mikolaj Gawlikowski, Victor Thomas Gorun, Jan Gardzielik, Patrick Orvandi, River Nilsson, Franciszek Bal, Julian Frasnelli, Iven Ammann, Kacper Kluk, Jan Michaleczko, Marcell Zsebo, Raul Teodor Secara, Carlo Pongratz, Diego Bertellini, Endrik Peets, Johannes Buchhammer, Ksawery Dudkowski, Dawid Tyndel, Davide Di Filippo, Tommaso D'Ambrosio, Alberto Masotto, Dominik Wojcik, Robin Semet, Pavel Petras, George Matei Gavril and Luca Muzzolon.
The qualifying heats shuffled the deck as is customary in this division, but not for the leader: Zeyu won two races and finished second in the final one, which was just enough to take the lead in the intermediate rankings. Second-placed Palazzolo and third-placed Di Lucia both achieved success. Plaszewski and Smuk are in positions four and five, respectively, while Pecoraro advances and holds stable in place six. Nanni is ranked seventh, Mitaki is eighth, Rajpold is ninth, and Gawlikowski is tenth.
Zeyu makes a strong start to the final, followed closely by Di Lucia, Smuk, Nanni, and Rajpold, with Palazzolo running in sixth place. Shen tries to dislodge his competitors, but Di Lucia, Smuk, and Nanni keep an eye on the front-runner. Di Lucia overtakes Shen on lap 5, but the Chinese driver responds on the following lap. Nanni, who has since crept up to second place, tries to overtake Shen on the final lap, but Shen holds onto first place and prevails, slightly ahead of Nanni. Di Lucia successfully defends himself against Rajpold and places third.
Fought and unsure to the last metre is the Junior ROK, another outstanding protagonist of the weekend in Lonato.
With a time of 49.414 seconds, Maksymilian Rafalik is the fastest driver in Saturday's qualifying. With a 155 thousandths of a second delay, Nicolas Marchesi comes in second, and Antoni Kosiba comes in third. Lukas Horcicka is in fourth place, followed by Franciszek Czapla in seventh, Guido Bruno Bidoli in fifth, and Giulio Mazzolini in sixth. Oskar Chmiel, eighth, Elia Epifanio, ninth, and Alex Desario round out the top 10. Filippo Pola, Adam Sydor, Alex Laghezza, Morgan Knudsen, Andrea Bruscino, Fred Saareks, Luigi Pace, Lorenzo Lenzi, Marcel Matyjewicz, Matteo Rainalter, Zackary Taylor, Riccardo Maglioli, Kacper Bonder, and Piotr Maluszynski are the next in order.
Even in the three elimination rounds on Saturday and Sunday, Rafalik reaffirms his status as the competitor to beat heading into the championship round. The Polish driver earns two triumphs, a second place, and maintains his lead in the intermediate standings. Marchesi, who earned one victory and two third places, continues to serve as the driver's closest pursuers. Kosiba, Knudsen, Horcicka, Czapla, Epifanio, Desario, Mazzolini, and Taylor, who moved up from 21st position in qualifying, are behind them.
Rafalik begins the championship race unmolested by Marchesi, Horcicka, Epifanio, Kosiba, and Czapla, while Knudsen drops several positions before finishing in eleventh. Rafalik is pursued by Marchesi, who even challenges him on lap two and ultimately succeeds in briefly gaining the lead. Horcicka loses third place as Czapla passes the Kosiba-Epifanio duo and catches up to him. Marchesi appears to be headed for victory, but the race director docks him five seconds for disregarding the starting protocol. The Italian so finds himself essentially in third place because, despite his best efforts, Rafalik and Czapla continue to elude him. Marchesi, Rafalik, and Czapla cross the finish line in that sequence, but Rafalik takes home the win. The final podium is thus completed by Czapla and Marchesi.
The Senior ROK division presents thrills and ongoing turnarounds once more.
The day of the week begins on Saturday with Patrik Fraboni, the person who set the chrono practice record. The Italian finishes in 48.427 seconds, almost a whole tenth quicker than Andrea Giudice, who is ranked second. The next four finishers are Lorenzo Bedetti, Vittorio Maria Russo, Samuele Di Filippo, and Emanuele Bruscino. Aleksandar Bogunovic and Colin Würthenberger will be in the fourth row, and Adrian Labuda and Piotr Orzechowski will be in the fifth row. The ranking continues with Clon Mazny, Nicolò Coppotelli, Lukasz Grabowski, Adam Tomasz Piszczako, Christian Canonica, Antonio Parlapiano, Gabriel Moretto, Jakub Jarosz, Mateusz Piszczako, Sachel Rotgé, Nicole Ameglio, Andrea Lopetrone, Edoardo Prioglio, David Stefan Dragan, Filip Bartos, Marcin Zajac, Radim Guichen, Lorenzo Bertonelli, Michael Jelinek, Emanuele Romanelli and Oli Kobiela.
The situation at the top changes drastically throughout the course of the three eliminatory heats, with Giudice managing to move up from second to first place followed by Di Filippo and Dragan in third, the latter author of two triumphs despite his 24th place in the qualifyings. As Fraboni drops to fifth despite winning the first heat, Bogunovic moves up to the fourth spot. The remaining members of the top 10 are Moretto, Russo, Wazny, Bedetti, and Adam Tomasz Piszczako.
Giudice makes the most of his opportunity to start in first place, taking the lead of the race ahead of Dragan, Fraboni, Russo, and Bedetti. Di Filippo, on the other hand, is unable to make a strong start and falls to sixth place. In just two laps, Fraboni, who is making his way through the front-running pack, assumes the lead and starts to distance himself from Giudice and Russo, who has since climbed up to third place. Behind them, there is a fierce competition for fourth place among Dragan, Bedetti, Bogunovic, Moretto, Di Filippo, and Würthenberger. The first two, Dragan and Bedetti, emerge and close the distance to Russo fast. While this is going on, Fraboni is now insurmountable and wins the race by himself. Giudice finishes second, more nearly three seconds behind the winner, while Dragan overtakes Russo securing the lowest step of the podium. Dragan receives a five-second penalty for the incorrect placement of the front spoiler after the race, which allows Russo to retake third.
The stars of the Expert ROK, the division with the most seasoned ROK Cup drivers, put on a distinctive performance.
After winning the 2022 edition, Tino Donadei is ready to defend his ROK Cup Winter Trophy title, and the Italian meets expectations with a pole position of 49.519 seconds. The second-best time is achieved by Michele Zampieri, who finished third last year. Martin Hudec and Davide Gherardi are third and fourth, respectively. Sona Ptackova comes in sixth, followed by Alessandro Vigan in seventh, and Pier Giuseppe Di Landro in eighth. Antoni Bal comes in fifth. Filippo Repetto and Marco Beretta are in the fifth row, while the group is finished by Andrea Bicciolo, Daniel Zajac, and Fabio Cretti.
Bal has a perfect record in the elimination heats, winning all three races that were played. With three podium finishes, Ptackova moves up to second place, ahead of Hudec in fourth and Gherardi in third. Donadei and Zampieri fall to fifth and sixth place, respectively, and are followed by Beretta, Vigan, and Di Landro. Cretti moves up from last position in the rankings to tenth after passing Repetto, Bicciolo, and Zajac.
In the final, Bal does not miss the start and takes the lead at the first curve, with Ptackova shielding his teammate's back from Hudec, Zampieri and Donadei. Bal, Ptackova, Hudec, and Zampieri form a fast-moving quartet in front, but no one dared to make an early-lap attack. But shortly arrives the first shock: the sporting stewards deem Ptackova's starting process inappropriate and slap her a five-second penalty. The Czech driver then makes the difficult overtaking attempt in an effort to take the lead, but Bal, Hudec, and Zampieri are unyielding. Ptackova is in first place at the finish line, followed by Bal in second, Hudec in third, and Zampieri in fourth, however due to a penalty, Bal moves up to take first place and wins the race. Yet once more, the classification's outcome is altered: Bal lags Ptackova as a result of the front spoiler's incorrect placement. As a result, Hudec triumphs in the competition, Zampieri takes the prize position, and Ptackova places last on the podium.
Starring as always is once more the Super ROK category, the highest performance category of the single-gear karts of the Vortex single-brand.
After spending a year in the Shifter ROK class, Domenico Cicognini is back in charge of the Super ROK group. With a top time of 47.851, the Italian driver sets the pace for qualifying, finishing 119 thousandths quicker than Bartosz Grzywacz, the current Senior ROK champion of the ROK Cup Italy. Gaia Cardinali comes in fifth, Paolo Dung Pastori comes in fourth, and Lynn Neuhaus comes in third. Kinga Wojcik and Michael Bartoszuk finish sixth and seventh respectively, while Matilde Seregni occupies the eighth position.
Moreover, Cicognini confirms his dominance in the elimination rounds with a flawless run of three victories in a row and no penalties. When playing as the first chaser, Grzywacz consistently finishes in second place, solidifying his status. Lynn is ranked third in the intermediate division. Prior to Bartoszuk, Cardinali, Wojcik, and Seregni, Pastori is still in fourth place.
Cicognini is the front-runner for the eventual victory in light of this. Although Grzywacz battles Neuhaus in the opening few corners, the Italian quickly takes the lead. Grzywacz follows closely behind his competitor. To the sound of quick laps, Cicognini, a true jackhammer, pulls away from Grzywacz. Behind them, Neuhaus, Cardinali, and Pastori start a competitive battle for third place, but with only three laps remaining, Pastori is forced to raise the white flag. Meanwhile, Neuhaus outperforms Cardinali in a fight and places third. Cicognini wins the race by more than a second over Grzywacz, who comes in second. However, the sporting stewards take note of Grzywacz's inappropriate behavior toward the other drivers on the return lap and decide to disqualify him. As a result, Cicognini, Neuhaus, and Cardinali win the podium.
The shifter category of the one-make series by Vortex, known as the Shifter ROK, never ceases to provide nonstop excitement during the whole weekend at Lonato.
Federico Mascialino wins the qualifying heats with a timing of 47.053 seconds. Nicola Rossini misses taking the pole by by 16 thousandths of a second and comes in second. Third place Marco Tormen, 76 thousandths back, and fourth place Andrea Zemin are both quite quick. Prior to Niki Taylor in sixth place, Daniele Demartis in seventh, and Gabriele Bensi in eighth place, Riccardo Rigodanza comes in fifth. The remaining slots are held by Filippo Calligaris, Fabrizio Morardo, Manuel Daziano, and Massimiliano Pezzucchi. Davide Cugini and Andrea Aliberti round out the top 10. The following names appear: Andrea Antonello, Alessio Foresto, Francesco Buffa, Patrick Di Giuseppe, Ferruccio Alacqua, Pietro Gobbi, Philippe Ehrensberger, and Victor Martin Odin.
Demartis leads the intermediate ranking after finishing in second place in three of the eliminatory heats, followed by Zemin, Taylor, and Bensi. As Rossini is running in seventh place with two victories and a 24th place to obstruct his way, Rigodanza and Cugini are in fifth and sixth place, respectively. Daziano is ranked eighth, Foresto is ninth, and Tormen, a winner, is ranked tenth. On the other hand, Mascialino, a poleman, drops to position 23.
The Sunday final serves as the setting for an unrestrained performance. Demartis is in second place after Zemin burns everyone at the start, but the poleman is passed by Bensi at the first curve, forcing him to fight off challenges from Cugini, Tormen, and Rigodanza. Zemin launches an escape with a clear field in front of him and gains half a second on his pursuers, but the melody changes as Demartis climbs up to second place: the Italian catches Zemin and passes him halfway through the race. Without straining his hand too much, Demartis closes the weekend successfully by crossing the finishing line first, while, behind him, the Tormen-Rossini duo mocks Zemin and takes the remaining two steps on the podium. But after the scrutineers, Demartis gets a rude awakening: the stewards find that his front spoiler is installed incorrectly and dock him five seconds. Demartis is consequently demoted to seventh place, and Tormen is chosen as the winner. Zemin moves up to third place, while Rossini takes second.
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