ROK Cup Italia, round 4 – Race report
Turning point for ROK Cup Italia with the 4th round of the 2023 season at the 7 Laghi Kart International Circuit in Castelletto di Branduzzo (PV). In total 194 drivers in the six categories took part in the races on Sunday. At the end of the race day, the championship leaders are: Shen Zeyu (Mini ROK), Marchesi Nicolas (Junior ROK), Dragan David (Senior ROK), Viganò Alessandro (Expert ROK), Cardinali Gaia (Super ROK) and Taylor Niki (Shifter ROK).
Once again, record numbers in the Mini ROK, the category of the ROK Cup Italia reserved to the youngest drivers, with 40 participants at the start.
Second pole position of the season for Shen Zeyu, the fastest of the track in group 1 of the qualifying practices with 54.377 seconds lap time. Angelo Pecoraro finishes at the top in group 2 and, for just 29 thousandths, goes behind the Chinese driver. Julian Frasnelli gets the third place in the combined ranking, ahead of Riven Esteves fourth, Justin Di Lucia fifth, and Dario Palazzolo sixth. Seventh and eighth position respectively for Tudor Jercan and Giuseppe Noviello, with Francesco Koci and Sofia Povazhnaia to complete the Top 10. To follow in the ranking: Matteo Infantino, Gabriele Iacomelli, Milosz Smuk, Alessandro Nanni, Antonio Guglietta, Johannes Buchhammer, Antonio Ianni, Franciszek Bal, Ilias Mitaki, Benjamin Westwood, Augustin Feligioni, Marco Puma, Shae Shield, Linghan Li, Ella Emilia Hakkinen, Lorenzo Zucchetto, Zack Zhu, Daniel Pauli Hakkinen, Carlo Pongratz, Victoria Farfus, Momcilo Davoust, Enzo Eit, Tommaso D’Ambrosio, Angelo Stuppia, Leonardo Trombini, Diego Bertellini, Plamen Teliyski, Norbert Plaszewski, Bryan Filippelli and Angel Franceskin.
As always in this season, the Mini ROK drivers go through the qualifying heats to decide the starting grid for the final. Zeyu and Pecoraro share a victory each and both collect a second place, but the Chinese gets the first position in the intermediate ranking thanks to the result in the qualifying practices. Frasnelli, Esteves, Di Lucia and Palazzolo remain in the next positions, while Nanni climbs from 14th place to seventh. Povazhnaia eighth, Koci ninth and Noviello tenth.
Everything happens in the final on Sunday afternoon. At the start, Pecoraro attacks Zeyu on the outside of the first corner, but he slips behind Frasnelli and Palazzolo. Pecoraro does not give up: in just two laps he regains the second position and goes chasing Zeyu who, in the meantime, has gained a small gap on the chasers. The two start a duel, with Pecoraro overtaking Zeyu during the 6th lap. The race ends with the victory of the Italian over the Chinese, while Esteves finds the right point to beat Frasnelli and takes the lowest step on the podium. However, there is a change in the post-race: Zeyu gets disqualified from the sports marshals for a mechanical intervention in the starting grid, which is not permitted. Esteves goes to the second place and Frasnelli to the third. Withdrawal for Palazzolo due to an accident on lap 5.
There are as many as 39 young drivers that are protagonists of the Junior ROK.
First championship presence and first pole position for Riccardo Ferrari, ahead of everyone in group 1 with 48.662 seconds lap time. Augustus Toniolo is the first in group 2 and gains the second position in the combined ranking. Riccardo Brangero gets the third position, ahead of the two Poles Franciszek Czapla and Antoni Kosiba, fourth and fifth respectively. To follow we find Alessandro Cocozza sixth, Qarrar Firhand seventh and Alex Desario eighth, in the end Riccardo Repetto and Adam Sydor complete the Top 10. The ranking continues with Filippo Pola, Alex Laghezza, Matteo Berruti, Matteo Melis, Nicolas Marchesi, Matteo Rainalter, Maksymilian Rafalik, Lorenzo Lenzo, Anh Tu Ranghetti, Emilio Tedesco, Alessandro Giarratano, Amelia Wyszomirska, Jan Turk Blazic, Luca Lo Bue, Ettore Sanesi, Simone Donchi, Giulio Mazzolini, Zackary Taylor, Franciszek Lassota, Selina Baum, Kian Gauci, Rikardo Bakaj, Lorenzo Coletto, Riccardo Moreni, Stefano Ferrari, Davide Pretosi, Rodolfo Cambiaso, Dominik Beller and Enrico Pietro Villa.
Even at the end of the qualifying heats, Ferrari confirms his position at the top of the intermediate ranking with a perfect score of two victories, while Toniolo remains in second position thanks to a victory and a third place. Remarkable comeback from 17th place to third for Rafalik, who is able to take the place ahead of Kosiba fourth, and Pola fifth. Czapla slips to sixth position, with behind him: Repetto, Firhand, Giarratano (21st in the qualifying practices) and Sydor.
A very eventful final for the Junior ROK. Ferrari keeps the first position at the start, but Rafalik is immediately behind him. The Pole does not lose time and attacks Ferrari that, after the overtake, slips to the fifth position. At the second lap, Rafalik is at the lead of the race, followed by Toniolo, Pola, Kosiba and Ferrari, but the last one becomes the protagonist with a very quick comeback up to the second place, in just four laps. Ferrari remains behind the leader Rafalik until the last lap when he tries to attack the rival: the Italian goes at the lead, while the Pole ends off the track, on the grass. At the finish line, Kosiba and Toniolo finish behind Ferrari, with Czapla and Marchesi in the immediately following positions.
Record numbers for the Senior ROK, with 47 drivers at the start for the overall victory.
The weekend starts with the pole position of Simone Taccola in the qualifying practices, first in group 1 with 47.856 seconds lap time, faster than Patrik Fraboni for just 25 thousandths, second in the combined ranking. For the first time in this season, David Stefan Dragan does not take the first place in qualifying, finishing third. David Locatelli takes the fourth position, with Andrea Giudice fifth and Davide Marconato sixth. Alberto Bernardi, Michael Müller, Giuseppe Gaglianò and Lorenzo Bedetti complete the Top 10, while to follow we find Colin Würthenberger, Christian Canonica, Mattia Jentile, Nicole Ameglio, Daniele Galbiati, Alessio Mario Abbate, Luca Perelli, Alessandro Cocchi, Adrian Labuda, Samuele Di Filippo, Gabriele Giganti, Riccardo Salemi, Nicolò Coppotelli, Sachel Rotge, Federico Biagioli, Giovanni Polato, Rebecca Guarguaglini, Filippo Tornaghi, Lyon Mathur, Fabio Silvestri, Matteo Zaffarano, Pietro Fioravanti, Ludovica Miceli, Massimo Pietro Cannizzo, Antonio Parlapiano, Daniele Guenzi, Maia Meneghin, Mattia Severino Marchiante, Alessandro Bernardini, Emanuele Romanelli, Alfredo Chiozzone, Gabriele Cucinotta, Ruben Pistolato, Noah Massa, Pietro Fonti, Michele Leonetti and Luca Bettoni.
The leader of the ranking changes at the end of the qualifying heats. With two successes in two heats, Locatelli takes the lead, with Taccola behind him and author of two second places. A success and a fourth place for Giudice, third, while Müller gains the fourth position in the intermediate. Fraboni, Gaglianò and Würthenberger are respectively fifth, sixth and seventh, with Labuda making a good comeback from 19th place to eighth. Dragan slips from third to ninth, finally Salemi enters in Top 10.
Brilliant start for Taccola in the final: the qualifying poleman moves to the inside of Locatelli and overtakes him at the first corner; Giudici, instead, protects the third place from Müller, Gaglianò and Salemi. The victory becomes soon a fight between Taccola and Locatelli: after gaining a good lead in the first laps, Taccola slowly suffers the return of Locatelli and, on the 10th lap, gives the lead to his rival. With a series of fast laps, Locatelli detaches his direct chaser and goes straight to the success, while Müller finishes third, a few tenths behind Taccola. Giudice withdraws at 4 laps to go, so Gaglianò gets the fourth final place, ahead of Jentile fifth and Salemi sixth.
Two exciting races on Sunday in the Expert ROK category.
Well done for Alessandro Viganò in the qualifying session, at the top of the ranking with 49.154 seconds lap time. The expert Tino Donadei takes the second position, with Gianni Zani e Riccardo Pini right behind, third and fourth respectively. Fifth place for Paolo Baselli, while Antoni Bal is sixth, ahead of Luca Fiorenti seventh and Michele Zampieri eighth. Angelo Ardito and Davide Gherardi are in fifth row, while Marco Beretta and Gabriele Dalprà are in sixth row. The ranking continues with Roberto Pelanconi, Marco Nannavecchia, Riccardo Pedrola, Alberto Franchini, Luigi Amorese, Andrea Bicciolo, Gianluca Rubiolini, Andrea Piero Angelo Tronconi and Filippo Repetto.
In race 1, good start for Donadei who takes the lead of the race, followed by Pini and Viganò, with the poleman subsequently overtaken by Fiorenti, Gherardi and Zani. Donadei gains soon a good gap on Pini, in the meantime reached by Fiorenti, while Zani overtakes Gherardi for the fourth place and goes chasing the first three. Without too many problems, Donadei comes first under the checkered flag, with Pini in second position at 1.972 seconds from the winner. Instead, Zani overtakes Fiorenti on the second to last lap, but Fiorenti doesn’t wait and takes the third place again. However, the ranking changes after the race: Pini is disqualified for a technical irregularity and Gherardi, who finished fifth, receives a 5-second penalty for the front spoiler in the incorrect position. Fiorenti goes to the second place, Zani goes on the podium and Viganò is fourth.
In race 2, perfect start for Baselli that keeps the lead, while Ardito makes a good comeback from fourth position and moves to second place, ahead of Dalprà and Gherardi. On the 2nd lap, Dalprà gives two positions to Viganò and Fiorenti, but then the "slow", due to an accident in the rear positions, rebuilds the group. At the restart, Baselli gives the position to Ardito, Gherardi and Fiorenti, and slips to fourth place, ahead of Viganò meanwhile relegated to the fifth. Ardito doesn’t leave the leadership to his rivals and wins the race, followed on the podium by Gherardi and Fiorenti. Baselli finishes fourth, with Viganò fifth and Dalprà sixth.
Also the Super ROK, the most performing single-speed class of the ROK Cup Italia, is back on stage for the fourth round of the championship.
Sunday morning qualifying practices get the pink color with the pole position of Gaia Cardinali, the fastest with 47.584 seconds lap time. Excellent seasonal debut for Cristian Comanducci, second in the rankings, ahead of another girl, Lynn Neuhaus, in third position. After the first races in Shifter ROK, Elliott Shaw comes back to the Super ROK with the fourth place in the qualifying practices, followed by Brando Pozzi fifth and Manuel Gritti sixth. Fourth row for Sergio Koch and Antonio Lagrotteria, fifth instead for Chiara Bolognini and Riccardo Martinello. Immediately following we find Eduardo Montoro, Riccardo Cocozza, Alessandro Zini, Nicole Maffeis, Michal Bartoszuk, Mattia Cocchi, Valentina Nessi and Christian Giovanni Signoretta.
In Race 1, Cardinali starts perfectly from the first position, while Shaw immediately gains the third place and tries to overtake Comanducci on the inside. The Italian attacks Cardinali and gets the lead of the race. Comanducci and Cardinali begin an intense long-distance duel, with Shaw concentrating on defending himself from the Gritti-Pozzi duo. Comanducci increases the gap on Cardinali up to about 2 seconds and then manages the advantage over the Monegasque until the checkered flag. Victory for Comanducci, ahead of Cardinali second and Shaw, but he receives a 5-second penalty for the front spoiler in the incorrect position and drops back to fifth. So, Gritti takes the lowest step on the podium, followed by Pozzi fourth.
In Race 2, Koch and Lagrotteria keep the first two positions at the start, but Comanducci moves from eighth position to first in just less than a lap. From the fifth place on the starting grid, Pozzi takes the second place and tries to keep contact with Comanducci, but he must watch his back first from Lagrotteria and then from Cardinali. Halfway through the race, the Monegasque girl manages to overtake Pozzi, but the Italian doesn't give up and regains his position after a few laps. Meanwhile, Comanducci finishes alone on the finish line, with an advantage of almost 7 seconds on Pozzi second. Unfortunately, a technical problem put an end to Cardinali's race and Elliott Shaw goes on the lowest step of the podium. To follow we find Neuhaus, Koch and Lagrotteria, the last one slipped to sixth place in the last laps.
Exciting races for the Shifter ROK, the gearbox category of the ROK Cup Italia, at the track in Castelletto di Branduzzo.
The excellent performance of Samuele Leopardi continues with the second consecutive pole position in the championship thanks to the best time of 47.288 in the qualifying practices. For just 53 thousandths of a second, Gabriele Bensi closes the qualifying in second position, followed in the ranking by Riccardo Rigodanza third, Niki Taylor fourth and Federico Mascialino fifth. Andrea Aliberti takes the sixth place, with Massimiliano Pezzucchi seventh and Fabrizio Morardo eighth. The Top 10 is closed by Philip Ehrensberger and Davide Cugini, while in the immediately following positions we find Andrea Zemin, Ferruccio Alacqua, Daniele Demartins, Gabrio Bizzozero, Victor Martin Odin, Stefano Mira, Giacomo Pellegrino, Marco Acquarella, Manuel Daziano, Ebrahim Pedro Carvalho, Patrick Di Giuseppe, Edoardo Sabatino, Francesco Buffa, Gioele Pollini, Thomas Consonni, Lorenzo Celetti, Riccardo Franciosi, Erosi Fanton and Federico Squaranti.
In race 1, Bensi and Taylor overtake Leopardi a few meters after the start. Rigodanza makes a slow start and gives several positions to Aliberti, Cugini, Morardo and Mascialino. Right from the first laps, Bensi, Taylor and Leopardi go away from the rest of the group and begin an intense battle for the leadership of the race. Meanwhile, Morardo and Rigodanza get the fourth and fifth positions respectively, with Cugini, Aliberti and Mascialino fighting for the sixth place. After 15 laps, Bensi crosses the finish line first, almost a second ahead of Taylor second, and Leopardi third. Morardo, Rigodanza, Aliberti and Mascialino follow under the checkered flag, with Cugini that gets a penalty for the front spoiler in the incorrect position and drops to the 15th place.
In Race 2, a good start for Zemin who manages to keep the first position gained with the inversion of the first eight positions of Race 1, with Mascialino, Aliberti, Morardo and Rigodanza as the first chasers. However, Leopardi becomes the protagonist of the race in the next laps and overtakes Rigodanza, Morardo and Aliberti. Zemin, the leader of the race, manages the advantage over Mascialino at the best and, at the end of the 13 scheduled laps, gets the victory. Leopardi gets the second podium of the weekend, while Aliberti falls to 11th place during the final laps; Morardo and Rigodanza take advantage of this and get the fourth and fifth position respectively.
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