A broken clutch cable in Heat 4 was the only issue to come between Danny Formal and a perfect weekend here at ROK Festival New York. The HR Racing driver put it all together in the 26-lap final, grabbing an enormous win in Shifter ROK, ahead of Antonio Pizzonia and Rory Van Der Steur.
Changing weather conditions played the biggest factor of the day in the Shifter ROK division, as we started the final with a dry track, but ended it with a damp track with drivers on slick tires. Formal excelled in the conditions, using his curb-jumping prowess to gain maximum grip around the 12-turn circuit at OVRP. Van Der Steur gained the holeshot, but by lap three Formal had moved inside the Kosmic of Van Der Steur. Formal’s lead ballooned to over 11 seconds by the end of the race, which also earned him the Team USA ticket to Lonato, Italy for the 2018 ROK International Finals.
Pizzonia drove safely in second position ahead of a visibly struggling Van Der Steur. The Northeastern driver struggled at times with the changing conditions, but did find the final step of the podium and a ticket to Las Vegas and the ROK The Rio event.
2018 ROK Festival New York Shifter ROK Final
|3||429||RORY VAN DER STEUR||28||39.029|
2018 ROK Festival New York Shifter ROK Master Final
2018 ROK Festival New York Micro ROK Final
It’s as though these race weekends for James Egozi are scripted, as the Koene USA driver comes through yet again when it counts despite a mild heat racing record on Saturday. Jace Park had a firm grasp on the competition throughout qualifying and the heats, but it was Egozi who took over the commanding position when it mattered the most.
As the sun started to peak through the clouds just before Mini ROK heat the track, speculation that the track would soon be drying become a talking point. Although rain tires were on the full field of drivers, dry lines did start to form by the halfway point. By then, Egozi had control of the lead as Park was fading as he looked a uncomfortable with the track conditions as they were.
Jack Jeffers had made it a race early, but he too could not keep up with the pace of Egozi’s Tony Kart. Jeffers did not have the issues that Park was having, sliding into second and maintaining his advantage over a distant third throughout the race.
After 18 laps, Egozi had the victory in hand with a 7-second cushion on Jeffers. Park had now dropped to sixth, which will be quite disappointing for the Midwestern driver. Miguel Costa, running this weekend with AM/Parolin, raced himself onto the podium to earn the ticket to Race The Rio later this year, just ahead of Michael Costello.
The only blemish of the weekend for Orsolon Racing’s Diego Contecha came in the opening lap of the 26-lap Junior ROK final, losing the holeshot to AM Engines/Parolin driver, Alessandro De Tulio. It was only a few laps later Contecha would find his way back into the top spot and begin his quest to a 5-second victory, capping a perfect weekend.
De Tullio’s opening corner move on Contecha was one of only a few that pulled off the outside-spot maneuver this weekend, but Contecha had just too much for the Parolin driver to hold back. However, not all was lost as De Tullio will get his chance with Team USA in Italy at the ROK International Final as the highest placing driver who also competed in ROK Festival NOLA.
Third place went to Rafe Abdulali, who had high hopes entering this weekend and a possible victory on the horizon, but the Northeastern-area driver will have to settle for the final podium spot.
2018 ROK Festival New York Junior ROK Final
Although Conrad Krawiec was in the mix on Saturday, his best finish of second had come only once in Heat 1. However, Sunday, Krawiec was clearly the driver to beat in the Senior ROK Final and he came home victorious despite the damp racing conditions.
Emma Delattre swept the heats on Saturday and started the 26-lap final on the pole, grabbing the holeshot out of turn one. Raif Shah and Krawiec trailed closely in second and third and applied pressure to Delattre right away. To Delattre’s credit, she held back two karts who appeared faster than her for 16 laps, without as much as looking over her shoulder or putting a wheel wrong.
On lap 17, however, the opening was there for Krawiec to take advantage and he did, pointing his Tony Kart to the inside and around Delattre for the lead. Although Delattre did not fade into the distance, Krawiec kept a strong gap over the Canadian to capture the win by 6-tenths of a second.
With her runner-up finish, Delattre earned the International Final ticket with Team USA because of her participation in the previous Festival in New Orleans.
Shah came home a distant third for Kaos Karting.
2018 ROK Festival New York Senior ROK Final
We had expected rain at some point this weekend and it has come at an important time for the drivers. Rain is currently not falling, but the precipitation we received in the overnight hours and early morning look to be enough to keep the facility damp for the remainder of the competition.
Saturday we saw numerous drivers sweep their day, like Emma Delattre in Senior; Diego Contecha in Junior; and Jace Park in Mini. The question of the morning is: can those drivers keep their streak alive in these conditions.
Mother nature has thrown her curveball and we'll see soon how the leading drivers react to it.