We kick off the first round of the VCI powered by AM Engine Florida Winter Tour presented by Fikse Wheels at Homestead Miami Speedway for Rok Cup. This year, big names and heavy hitters have shown their faces, with victory being their only option.
Shifter ROK Senior has the heaviest hitters of the weekend. One of the biggest of them all, Jonathon Thonon, was quick to make his mark in the group setting pole by 0.1 over Nicholas Hargraves. Rubens Barrichello wrapped up the top 3, with big names behind him. One of which is Gary Carlton, in position five, who appeared to have some issues, however he will certainly be a huge threat.
Senior ROK has consistently provided close exciting racing, and following qualifying it's shaping up to be just that. Ryan Norberg`s debut with PSL this weekend saw him eager to set the pace early on. Norberg set pole over J3 driver Austin Garrison with Gianluca Petecof in 3rd. Supernationals 20 outside pole sitter Ryan Raffa was unable to show his pace, as two laps into the session his kart suffered a mechanical failure. We expect to see him put on a good show, coming from 20th for the heat races.
ROK Junior with 41 drivers is the biggest field of the weekend, which should make for some fantastic racing. Francisco Porto set a fast time of 47.686 over Mattheus Morgatto, with Arias Deukmedjian in 3rd. Ryan McDermid ended his session in 8th, nearly 0.4 off pole position. An unusual session for his standards to say the least, however we expect him to bounce back in terms of pace.
Mini ROK with a stacked 39 drivers is shaping up to be a thriller. Connor Zilisch was the one to beat setting a time of 51.468, a whole tenth clear of the field. Not to our surprise, Reese Gold and Luca Mars followed Zilisch setting near identical times. Racecraft and perfectly executed starts will be the main factor of who will lead the heats.
Micro ROK was by far the closest group with 1st through 7th separated by 0.1. Matheus Ferreira snatched pole from Jakub Kolar by the edge of his teeth with a “gap” of .001. Jesse Carrasquedo Jr. rounded out the top three by a mere 0.043 of a second. Frankie Iadevaia ended his session in P6, and after impressive results in 2016, we expect him to be a serious threat in the heats.
Rok Masters was led by Rodrigo Piquet by a mere 0.009 of a second with Gaia Magno trailing him in second a Marcos Regadas in third. The top three did not hesitate to show the rest of the field they meant business for the upcoming heat races. We predicted a separated field during heats, after qualifying results.
ROK Shifter Masters pole was claimed by Renato David over Gaia Cavaciuti and Antonio Perez in third. Renato David quickly showed his dominance with pole by over 0.3 of a second. Although it is a smaller field, it will for sure make for exciting racing come the heat races.
That wraps up qualifying for Friday. Next up is 3 heat races to determine the starting order for Sunday. We’ll have live video, timing, and full results on our Kart360 On Location page throughout the day on Saturday.
Report by Kart360 contributor Nick Leone.