ROK Cup Festival - Race report

07-12-2023   ROK Cup Festival

Great number of participants for the second edition of the ROK Cup Festival, the closing race for the season 2023 of the mono-brand by Vortex. In fact, 182 drivers were present at the Franciacorta Karting Track in Castrezzato (Italy), with the activities on the track - divided into two days – subject to the variable weather.

At the end of the race day on Sunday, the last champions of the year who got the crown are: David Moscardi (Mini ROK), Lev Krutogolov (Junior ROK), Giorgio Molinari (Senior ROK), Antoni Bal (Expert ROK), Yicheng Qu (Super ROK) and Alessandro Buran (Shifter ROK).

Mini ROK

A lot of participants for the starting grid of the Mini ROK, with 42 drivers competing for the last title of the season 2023.

Emiliano Hernandez is in pole position in the qualifying practices on Saturday, thanks to the best time of 1:08.986 seconds in group 1. David Moscardi, the fastest of group 2, is second in the combined ranking, ahead of Niccolò Perico, third, and Victor Gorun, fourth. Fifth position for Zack Zhu, followed in sixth by Li Linghan, Lev Mykhailenko in seventh and Julian Frasnelli in eighth. In Top 10 also Ivan Kryzhanovskyi and Kyrylo Symeniuk. The ranking continues with Alberto Masotto, Augustin Feligioni, Huifei Xie, David Davoli Maschiari, Angelo Pecoraro, Luca Muzzolon, Norbert Jr. Plaszewski, Giuseppe Noviello, Momcilo Davoust, Jan Gardzielik, Vsevolod Osadchyi-Suslovskyi, Vincenzo Salierno, Elias Boullier, Stanislaw Grabowski, Kier Laird Sherren Wright, Vinicius Malfatti, Dawid Tyndel, Francesco De Luise, Johannes Buchhammer, Platon Kovtunenko, Franciszek Bal, Antonio Ianni, Manuel Ranica, Jamie Ehrat, Edoardo Traina, Gianmaria Ferretti, Leonardo Lanza, Lorenzo Zucchetto, Tommaso D’Ambrosio, Dominik Wojcik, Nicholas Bertolani and Camilla Amarotti.

Based on the qualifying results, the drivers of the Mini ROK go through the qualifying heats divided in four groups. Hernandez and Moscardi fight for the leadership in the ranking and both conquer two victories and a second place, so the Mexican remains at the top, ahead of the Italian. Zhu and Frasnelli are in the Top 3 and they are third and fourth respectively. Plaszewski goes from 17th place to fifth, ahead of Perico, Pecoraro, Feligioni, Davoli and Gorun.

The final is exciting right from the beginning. At the start, Hernandez keeps the lead ahead of Zhu, Plaszewski, Pecoraro and Moscardi, but the last one goes at the third place after a few laps. At the third lap Zhu gets the lead of the race, but Moscardi takes the first place to the rival in the subsequent lap. Moscardi resists at the top for four laps, when Hernandez goes back at the lead of the race. Zhu attacks and overtakes Hernandez at the third to last lap, but at one lap to go Moscardi goes again at the head of the group. The arrival is thrilling: in a five-man sprint, Moscardi wins with just 3 thousandths of a second on Zhu, who is ahead of Pecoraro (always behind the first ones) by 28 thousandths of a second. Plaszewski is fourth, while Hernandez closes fifth. Nice comeback for Masotto, from 25th to sixth.

Junior ROK

Excellent numbers in terms of participants in the Junior ROK, with 52 drivers ready to face each other on the track.

Jan Philipp Krüll Del Río is in pole position in the qualifying practices with 1:05.681 seconds lap time in group 1. Second place for Lev Krutogolov, the fastest in group 2, followed by Nicolas Marchesi in third position and Marlon Di Salvo in fourth. At the top of the ranking we find Mateusz Wal, fifth, Stefano Zamponi, sixth, Lyuboslav Ruykov, seventh, and Antoni Kosiba, eighth. Milosz Smuk and Emilio Tedesco complete the ranking of the first ten. In the immediately following positions we find Matteo Melis, Federico Sbardellati, Jan Michaleczko, Qarrar Firhand, Riven Esteves, Nicolò Marsili, Dragos Avasilcutei, Ioan Tudor Jercan, Marcel Rudnicki, Guido Bruno Bidoli, Marcel Matyjewicz, Amelia Wyszomirska, Ahn Tu Ranghetti, Alessandro Giarratano, Francesco Koci, Romeo Christian, Pietro Santese, Zachary Taylor, Bogdan Cosma Cristofor, Giulio Mazzolini, Filippo Pola, Oskar Hildebranski, Leonardo Monzani, Oskar Galan, Michal Czyzewicz, Riccardo Brangero, Iven Ammann, Alex Desario, Ettore Di Domenico, Ettore Sanesi, Ilias Mitaki, Stylianos Taxiarchis Kolovos, Enrico Pietro Villa, Andrea Savoldelli, Nicolò Carrara, Lena Pichler, Dominik Beller, Leonardo Righetto, Pietro Chesini, Selina Baum, Matan Achituv and Diogo Oliveira Silva Cruz.

Even the participants in the Junior are divided in four groups in the subsequent qualifying heats. At the top of the ranking, with two victories and a third place, there is Nicolas Marchesi. Same results also for Di Salvo, second classified, while Krüll Del Río goes in third position, despite a success in the first heat. Nice comeback for Cosma Cristofor, from 29th to fourth, followed by Kosiba, Sbardellati, Firhand, Avasilcutei and Ruykov. Mazzolini goes from 30th place to tenth.

A lot of drivers fight for the victory till the last meter in the final on Sunday afternoon. Marchesi has a good start from the pole position and he is the leader, with Di Salvo and Cosma Cristofor as the first chasers. At the third lap, Cosma Cristofor starts a duel with Marchesi, while Di Salvo goes off-track due to an overtaken driver. Sbardellati, Melis, Mazzolini, Avasilcutei, Ruykov, Kosiba and Krutogolov also fight for the first place. At the 4th lap Melis takes the lead, but at the subsequent lap Cosma Cristofor goes at the top, but after a while he must leave the lead to Marchesi. However, from halfway through the race Krutogolov goes from 15th to the first place. The Ukrainian keeps the lead and triumphs under the checkered flag with 38 thousandths of a second on Cosma Cristofor, followed by Ruykov, third and author of the fastest lap. Marchesi closes fourth, ahead of Sbardellati, Mazzolini and Kosiba. Melis, third on the finish line, gets a 5-seconds penalty for the front spoiler in the wrong position and he goes back to the 11th place.

Senior ROK

Many participants at the start in the Senior ROK. 41 drivers for the ROK Cup Festival.

The fastest in the lap on Saturday is Riccardo Ferrari, author of the pole position with 1:03.474 seconds lap time. First in group 2 of the qualifying practices is Edoardo Prioglio who goes behind Ferrari in the combined ranking. Maksymilian Rafalik gets the third position, while Mattia Vischi the fourth. At the top of the ranking we find Giorgio Molinari, fifth, Lorenzo Bedetti, sixth, Kacper Turoboyski, seventh, and Alessandro Cocchi, eighth. Space among the first ten also for Pietro Fioravanti and Riccardo Salemi, ninth and tenth respectively. Behind them in the ranking there are Giovanni Polato, Christian Canonica, Alex Laghezza, Alberto Bernardi, Nicola Marini, Franciszek Czapla, Franciszek Lassota, Tommaso Arlati, Samuele Di Filippo, Colin Würthenberger, Mattia Jentile, Piotr Orzechowski, Alessandro Arrey Bernardini, Omar Matteo Mosca, Nicolò Manassero, Emanuele Romanelli, Renius Jejdling, Luca Ilotte, Pietro Camerlengo, Riccardo Frontini, Hlib Ukhovskyi, Carlo Alberto Bocca, Davide Cominazzini, Andrea Sorbello, Noah Massa, Sachel Rotge, Marco Massironi, Riccardo Moreni, Ludovica Miceli, Riccardo Chiodo and Valentino Rossi.

Everything changes at the end of the qualifying heats. With a victory and two second places, Molinari goes at the top of the intermediate ranking, while Bedetti takes the place of honor temporarily. Czapla climbs 13 positions and rises to third place, with Salemi fourth. Even Mosca jumps from 24th to fifth. Prioglio is sixth, ahead of Polato, Bernardi, Arlati and Rafalik. 11th place for Vischi, 16th Ferrari due to a withdrawal in the first heat.

Molinari starts in pole position in the final, with Czapla in second place ahead of Bedetti and Salemi. Well done for Salemi in the first stages thanks to an overtake on Bedetti and Czapla; the last one leaves positions also to Bedetti, Mosca and Prioglio. At the 8th lap, Salemi attacks Molinari with success, then he goes at the head of the race and tries to escape. Molinari, however, defends himself from Mosca Prioglio, Vischi, Ferrari (16th), Czapla and Bedetti. Salemi keeps the position on Molinari in the final and wins the race, while Ferrari closes in third place. However, the sports marshals penalize Salemi with 5 seconds for a contact in the first laps. The victory goes to Molinari, with Ferrari and Mosca on the other steps of the podium. Vischi finishes fourth, ahead of Salemi, Czapla and Bedetti.

Expert ROK

Expert ROK unmissable in Franciacorta, the category of the ROK Cup reserved to the more experienced drivers.

Alessandro Viganò, vice-champion of the ROK Cup Italia, conquests the pole position in qualifying, with 1:04.551 seconds lap time. Davide Gherardi, winner of the last edition of the ROK Cup Festival, is second with 0.111 seconds gap from Viganò. Andrea Fattori takes the third position, with Angelo Ardito behind him, fourth, Marco Nannavecchia, fifth, and Valerio Modugno, sixth. Antoni Bal is seventh, followed by Tino Donadei, Michele Zampieri, Gianluca Rubiolini, Alex Michelon and Paolo Baselli.

In the following qualifying heats, Gherardi attacks and get two victories and a third place, and with these results he goes at the top of the intermediate ranking. Bal, with three second places, gains 5 positions and goes in second place, while Nannavecchia goes from fifth to third. After the success in the first heat, Viganò doesn't even reach the Top 3 in the two remaining races and is relegated to fourth position. To complete the starting line-up for the final we find Modugno, Zampieri, Fattori, Ardito, Donadei, Michelon, Rubiolini and Baselli.

The final on Sunday afternoon is full of battles until the last lap. Bal has a good start from the outer line and goes at the lead, while Gherardi loses the second place, and then he takes it back after the first turn. At the 3rd lap, Gherardi takes the leadership overtaking Bal and in the same moment Viganò gets the third place temporarily. Viganò becomes the first rival of Gherardi: at first, he overtakes Bal then he remains behind the rival for many laps. Finally, at the 14th lap, while they are fighting, the two delay the braking and both end up off-track, leaving the track free to Bal. The Pole must fight with Zampieri in the last stages of the race. Bal wins with 0.109 seconds gap on Zampieri, second, while Ardito gets the lowest step of the podium. From the bottom, Gherardi finishes fifth, behind Baselli, while Viganò withdraws from the race.

Super ROK

Hard challenge for the supremacy in the Super ROK, the best performing single-gear category of the ROK Cup.

Antonio Lagrotteria is the fastest in the qualifying session, with 1:02.839 seconds lap time, only nine thousandths faster than Domenico Cicognini, in second position. Brando Pozzi is third, ahead of Alessandro Cocozza, fourth, Jakub Rajski, fifth, and Thomas Carnovali, sixth. Seventh place for Riccardo Cocozza, eighth for Riccardo Martinello, ninth for Lynn Neuhaus and tenth for Yicheng Qu. Right behind, we find Nicolò Coppotelli, Simone Donchi, Sergio Koch, Luca Fiorenti, Alessandro Zini, Lorenzo Poletti and Matilde Seregni.

With two victories and a second place, Cicognini takes the lead of the ranking at the end of the qualifying heats. With one victory, Pozzi is second in classification, ahead of Qu and Rajski. The polesitter Lagrotteria gets only one podium and goes back to fifth place. Among the first ten we also find Koch, Martinello, Cocozza, Coppotelli and Poletti.

Good start without problems from the pole position for Cicognini, ahead of everyone at the first turn, with Pozzi, Qu, Lagrotteria and Rajski behind him. In the first half of the race, Pozzi is the only one capable of keeping the same pace as Cicognini, while Rajski goes up to third place, after overtaking Lagrotteria and then Qu. In short time, Rajski reaches the leading pair, he overtakes Pozzi and prepares to attack Cicognini, but at the 10th lap the Pole withdraws from the race. In the meantime, Qu goes at the second place and he becomes the main rival for Cicognini and, at five laps to go, he overtakes the race leader. Qu crosses the finish line with 1.133 seconds gap on Cicognini, author of the second place, while Pozzi gains the lowest step of the podium. Alessandro Cocozza is fourth, Coppotelli is fifth.

Shifter ROK

Despite the winter weather, as always, the atmosphere is heating up in the Shifter ROK, the gearbox category of the ROK Cup.

The protagonist for the entire season in ROK Cup Italia, Riccardo Rigodanza starts fast and gets the pole position in the qualifying practices, with 1:01.846 lap time. Alessandro Buran is second, while Aleksandar Bogunovic gets the third place. Marco Vannini, winner of the ROK Cup Festival 2022, is fourth, followed in the ranking by Fabrizio Morardo, fifth, Dennis Menegatti, sixth, da Edoardo Villa, seventh, and Massimiliano Pezzucchi, eighth.

The ranking continues with Michal Bartoszuk, Kai Perner, Edoardo Sabatino, Patrick Di Giuseppe, Giacomo Pellegrino, Ferruccio Alacqua, Lorenzo Paganini, Alessandro Risi, Andrea Aliberti and Leonardo Saba.

Almost perfect path for Buran in the qualifying heats, with a second place in the first heat and two victories in the remaining two heats. The Italian goes at the lead, ahead of his teammates Villa and Morardo, second and third respectively. Menegatti is fourth, while Pezzucchi goes from eighth to fifth. Rigodanza wins the first heat, but in the second one he must withdraw: the vice-champion of the ROK Cup Italia therefore drops to sixth place. Behind him we find Bartoszuk, Vannini, Perner and Saba. Bogunovic finishes 15th.

In the final, good start for Buran and Villa from the first row, while with an incredible start Rigodanza is immediately fourth, third after overtaking Menegatti in the first turns. Buran immediately tries to escape from his chasers, but Rigodanza doesn't want to let his rival get away and tries to overtake Villa: the two have a contact and both withdraw from the race. Vannini gets the second position ahead of Menegatti, Morardo and Pezzucchi. Thanks to a remarkable race pace, Buran creates a gap between himself and the rest of the group and he finishes alone under the checkered flag. Morardo, in third place, fights with Vannini for the honor place, but the last one beats his compatriot for 0.132 seconds. Pezzucchi is fourth, while Menegatti finishes fifth.