A day and a half of free practice concluded on Friday morning, leading into an every-important part of the race weekend, qualifying. With sunny skies with temperatures hover around 80 degrees, it was a picture perfect setting for the start to the 21st season of the Florida Winter Tour.
Formal finds his groove in Shifter ROK qualifying
IPK North America planted their flag at the top of Shifter ROK Qualifying thanks to an impressive run by the talented Costa Rican, Danny Formal (Leading Edge / Formula K). With over a tenth of a second to spare, it's safe to say Formal has adapted very well to the new colors since switching in the fall of 2018. AJ Myers (Croc Promotions USA / Mad Croc), also adapting well to a new team, sits in second ahead of Canadian Davide Greco (PSL Karting / Birel ART). Andrew Budjoso (Croc Promotions USA / Mad Croc) gave the Mad Croc chassis a second entry in the top four, followed by Brazilian Pedro Piquet (Piquet Sports / CRG) on the CRG.
Notable absences from the top five were Mathias Ramirez (PSL Karting / Birel ART) in eighth and Jimmy Cabrera (AKT / Kosmic Kart) all the way down in 23rd.
Brooks quickly up to speed in Senior ROK
Despite limited experience on the Vortex ROK/Bridgestone package, Christian Brooks (Orsolon Racing / Tony Kart) has adapted as well as you could possibly hope for in Senior ROK. Turning in a time of 46.820 put the Californian on top in his nine lap run in qualifying by .147 over Canadian Zachary Claman-Demelo (Goodwood / Exprit). Compatriot Nicholas Hornbostel (REM / Kosmic Kart) edged teammates Diego Ramos (NF Sports / Kosmic Kart) and Eduardo Barrichello for third.
Newly anointed Senior competitors Sebastian Montoya (Montoya Racing / Tony Kart) and Arias Deukmedjian (Leading Edge / Praga) finished out the top ten in 9th and 10th, respectively.
Mars leaves his mark in Junior ROK
In the closest qualifying run of the day, Pennsylvanian Luca Mars (Speed Concepts / Tony Kart) nipped Brazilian Enrico De (NF Sports / Kosmic Kart) by .006, turning in a 47.696 in a 10-lap run. De's teammate, Jose Luiz (NF Sports / Kosmic Kart) found his spot in third, followed by Mackenzie Clark (Prime Powerteam / Birel ART) and Kyffin Simpson (Speed Concepts / Tony Kart).
Carson Morgan (Team Felon / OTK) led the cast of rookies in seventh, two spots ahead of Brent Crews (Nitro / Kart Republic).
Sorensen sits atop Mini ROK Qualifying
In a commanding session, Californian Kai Sorensen (Supertune USA / Tony Kart) cleared his competition by six-tenths of a second — the largest margin of any polesitter today -- with a lap of 51.035. Paul Bocuse (Speed Concepts / Tony Kart) will line-up beside the Lodi, California native in each of the three heat races to follow. Sorensen's teammate, Enzo Deligny (Supertune USA / Tony Kart) locked in third place, followed by Riccardo Ianniello (NF Sport / Kosmic Kart) and Yuanpu Cui (Team Montoya / Tony Kart).
Miguel Costa had the fifth place spot on track until a penalty dropped him to seventh. Nikita Johnson, a favorite coming into the week, ran a disappointing 16th.
Madsen disrupts status quo in Shifter ROK Master
In a refreshing change of pace, Boca Raton's Patrick-Otto Madsen (Ansa Motorsports / Zanardi) topped the charts with a 47.217 in Shifter ROK Master, edging Victor Jimenez (RPG / Kosmic Kart) by .140. Madsen, co-owner of the professional sports car team Ansa Motorsports, is competing in his first Florida Winter Tour event, making the run all that more impressive. Rene Martinelli (TB Kart USA) and Daniel Dibos (IC Motorsports / OTK) were both within two-tenths of a second to Madsen in third and fourth, making for a very close top four. Luis Schiavo (Goodwood / Intrepid) came home in fifth.
Jader-David picks up where he left on in Vegas in Master ROK
Dominance in the Master ROK category from the Orsolon Racing shoe has continued into the new season with Brazilian Renato Jader-David (Orsolon Racing / Tony Kart), the only driver to drop into the 47's. Two fellow countrymen in Felipe Rechid-Lapenna and Leonardo Marcelli (Piquet Sports / CRG) were three and five-tenths behind, respectively. Rodrigo Ospina (Team Montoya / Tony Kart) and Ricardo Nunes (DRT / DR Kart) slotted in fourth and fifth.
Local pilot Jacir jumps to the top in Micro ROK
Beckham Jacir (JC Karting / OTK) made his first impression in the 19-kart Micro ROK category a good one, grabbing the pole position with a 52.787. Matias Orjuela (V Motorsport / Parolin) locked in the second spot as the only other driver in the 52-second bracket. Enzo Vidmontienc (International Motorsport / Benik), Oliver Wheldon (JC Karting / OTK), and Salim Hanna (Team Montoya / OTK) filled in the remaining top-five positions.
Simpson narrowly escapes with quick times in Junior 100cc
The closest top three of the day went to the Junior 100cc category, with Kyffin Simpson (Speed Concepts / OTK) beating out Santiago Biagi (AM Engines / Exprit) by .014 and William Cox (Team Felon / Tony Kart) by .072. Chloe Chambers (Mike Doty Racing / Kosmic Kart) and Jimmy Lockhart (Karting Experience / Kart Republic) will work to close the gap from their fourth and fith place starting positions.
Searle, Linsell lead the new Briggs & Stratton classes through qualifying
Alexander Searle, from Plantation, Florida, took the very first pole position in the LO206 Junior category over Canadian Callum Baxter with a time of 54.501. In LO206 Senior, Pennsylvanian Zachary Linsell earned the top qualifying spot impressively with a time of 54.140, three-tenths clear of Canadian Darryl Timmers.