2018 Rok Cup International Final – Thursday Report

Canadian Curran scores heat win while Powell and Morgatto earn P1 in Qualifying to give North America strong first day

(Photo: Rok Cup International Final)

The 2018 Rok Cup International Final is officially underway as qualifying and heat races were completed at the South Garda Karting facility. Perfect racing weather welcomed the over 400 drivers from around the world competing in seven categories this week. Racers have been in Lonato, Italy for days, preparing for this day to come. With the large fields, qualifying was key in racers bid to be a Rok champion on Saturday. Staying out of trouble or recovering from issues in the heat races is the next step, and began in the afternoon and will continue into tomorrow.


Mini ROK

With 11 drivers from North America competing in the 143-driver Mini field, the percentage is leaning in our favor. The results show it with Jamaican Alex Powell earning the quickest overall time. Team USA drivers Kai Sorensen and Nikita Johnson made it three total from North America inside the top-20. Six of the 11 finished their first heat race inside the top-10, with Powell, Sorensen runner-up and Johnson fourth to lead the North America squad.

#602 – Jack Jeffers (Parolin)

Warm-up (Group 2): 6th – 55.446
Qualifying: 39th – 55.629
Heat Group: E (Row 4)
Heat DvsE: 14th

#603 – Kai Sorensen (Tony Kart)

Warm-up (Group 1): 6th – 55.315
Qualifying: 17th – 55.445
Heat Group: D (Row 2)
Heat DvsE: 2nd

#638 – Carson Morgan (Energy)

Warm-up (Group 4): 7th – 55.413
Qualifying: 29th – 55.550
Heat Group: E (Row 3)
Heat DvsE: 13th

#639 – James Egozi (Tony Kart)

Warm-up (Group 1): 10th – 55.407
Qualifying: 41st – 55.648
Heat Group: A (Row 5)
Heat AvsB: 7th

#645 – Alex Powell (Energy)

Warm-up (Group 1): 3rd – 55.234
Qualifying: 1st – 55.170
Heat Group: A (Row 1)
Heat AvsB: 2nd

#654 – Frankie Esposito (Birel ART)

Warm-up (Group 3): 17th – 56.421
Qualifying: 101st – 56.364
Heat Group: A (Row 11)
Heat AvsB: 19th

#680 – Miguel Costa (Parolin)

Warm-up (Group 4): 4th – 55.296
Qualifying: 26th – 55.512
Heat Group: H (Row 3)
Heat GvsH: 6th

#743 – Noah Baker (Energy)

Warm-up (Group 5): 12th – 55.672
Qualifying: 64th – 55.815
Heat Group: G (Row 7)
Heat FvsG: 29th
Heat GvsH: 11th

#746 – Paul Bocuse (Energy)

Warm-up (Group 1): 20th – 56.216
Qualifying: 49th – 55.711
Heat Group: E (Row 5)
Heat DvsE: 10th

#749 – Elliot Cox (Vemme)

Warm-up (Group 4): 23rd – 56.230
Qualifying: 107th – 56.498
Heat Group: D (Row 11)
Heat DvsE: 24th

#751 – Nikita Johnson (Energy)

Warm-up (Group 5): 8th – 55.455
Qualifying: 19th – 55.450
Heat Group: E (Row 2)
Heat 1 (DvsE): 4th


Junior ROK

Ugo Ugochukwu (Photo: Erik Tomsons)

The eight drivers representing North America in Junior are a strong roster, including the overall fast time thanks to Brazilian Matheus Morgatto, who has spent much of his season racing here in the United States. Trouble struck the FWT champion in his opening heat race, thus needing a perfect score moving forward for a chance at the title. Taking the torch in the heat races was Canadian Dale Curran, scoring the win in his heat race. Challenge of the Americas champion Ugo Ugochukwu won his heat race, only to be assessed a three-second penalty by the race director, dropping him to second. Three others scored top-10 results in their heat race, including North Carolina’s Connor Zilisch.

#803 – Dale Curran (Kosmic)

Warm-up (Group 1): 3rd – 50.155
Qualifying: 5th – 49.672
Heat Group: E (Row 1)
Heat 1 (EvsF): 1st

#804 – Ugo Ugochukwu (Tony Kart)

Warm-up (Group 1): 1st – 49.988
Qualifying: 6th – 49.689
Heat Group: F (Row 1)
Heat 1 (EvsF): 2nd +3-second penalty

#837 – Matheus Morgatto (Parolin)

Warm-up (Group 1): 2nd – 50.077
Qualifying: 1st – 49.594
Heat Group: A (Row 1)
Heat 1 (AvsB): 25th

#841 – MacKenzie Clark (Birel ART)

Warm-up (Group 3): 17th – 50.608
Qualifying: 61st – 50.322
Heat Group: A (Row 11)
Heat 1 (AvsB): 18th

#854 – Alessandro De Tullio (Tony Kart)

Warm-up (Group 1): 14th – 50.541
Qualifying: 12th – 49.770
Heat Group: F (Row 2)
Heat 1 (EvsF): 7th

#878 – Joseph Brienza (Tony Kart)

Warm-up (Group 2): 6th – 50.244
Qualifying: 10th – 49.768
Heat Group: D (Row 2)
Heat 1 (CvsD): 10th

#879 – Connor Zilisch (Tony Kart)

Warm-up (Group 2): 7th – 50.260
Qualifying: 7th – 49.730
Heat Group: A (Row 2)
Heat 1 (AvsB): 3rd

#882 – Fernando Barrichello (Exprit)

Warm-up (Group 3): 19th – 50.684
Qualifying: 51st – 50.188
Heat Group: C (Row 9)
Heat 1 (CvsD): 31st


Senior ROK

Jim McKinney’s ride after the engine change to an excited Joey Guyon and Andy Seesemann (Photo; Erik Tomsons)

Leading the Senior squad is Brazilian Eduardo Barrichello. The second-generation driver was best in qualifying for the North America contingent, holding ground in his first heat race. Challenge of the Americas champion Jim McKinney had to change engines just before qualifying, completing the switch with the help of mechanic Joey Guyon, COTA promoter Andy Seesemann and FTK wrench Erik Tomsons. Top USA driver on the day was Emma Delattre, with Team Canada led by national champion Xavier Harris.

#221 – Eduardo Barrichello (Exprit)

Warm-up (Group 2): 4th – 48.739
Qualifying: 15th – 48.854
Heat Group: C (Row 4)
Heat 1 (CvsD): 6th

#247 – Marco Di Leo (Exprit)

Warm-up (Group 2): 18th – 49.326
Qualifying: 49th – 49.440
Heat Group: A (Row 13)
Heat 1 (AvsB): 23rd

#256 – Emma Delattre (Exprit)

Warm-up (Group 2): 25th – 49.552
Qualifying: 24th – 49.024
Heat Group: D (Row 6)
Heat 1 (CvsD): 15th

#257 – Jim McKinney (Exprit)

Warm-up (Group 1): 21st – 49.465
Qualifying: 46th – 49.379
Heat Group: B (Row 12)
Heat 1 (AvsB): 22nd

#260 – Xavier Harris (Exprit)

Warm-up (Group 2): 27th – 49.606
Qualifying: 55th – 49.573
Heat Group: C (Row 14)
Heat 1 (CvsD): 19th


Expert ROK / Expert ROK Plus

COTA champion Erik Jackson is among the contenders in the new Expert class (Photo: Erik Tomsons)

There is a good chance to see Team USA on the podium in the new Expert and Expert Plus divisions. Florida driver Ariel Castro has been top-three all day, with Challenge of the Americas champion improving to be just outside the top-five. Adrian Donkers is leading Team Canada in the Expert class. SoCal’s Tim Meyer is the top Expert Plus of the North American contingent, sitting fourth in class after the opening heat race.

#501 – Giuseppe Crupi (Exprit)

Warm-up: 2nd – 50.090
Qualifying: 8th – 50.076
Heat 1: 11th

#505 – Ariel Castro (Parolin)

Warm-up: 3rd – 50.137
Qualifying: 3rd – 49.857
Heat 1: 2nd

#507 – Erik Jackson (Tony Kart)

Warm-up: 15th – 50.928
Qualifying: 13th – 50.586
Heat 1: 6th

#509 – Adrian Donkers (Tony Kart)

Warm-up: 8th – 50.373
Qualifying: 11th – 50.485
Heat 1: 7th

#562 – John Cariati (Exprit)

Warm-up: 9th – 50.388
Qualifying: 10th – 50.327
Heat 1: 18th

#563 – Francisco Costa (Tony Kart)

Warm-up: 16th – 51.076
Qualifying: 20th – 51.395
Heat 1: 20th

#565 – Tim Meyer (Exprit)

Warm-up: 12th – 50.609
Qualifying: 13th – 50.586
Heat 1: 9th

#573 – Kurtis Breeding (Vemme)

Warm-up: 23rd – 53.264
Qualifying: 21st – 52.855
Heat 1: 21st


Super ROK

One of only three North America drivers to receive a penalty on the day was Jace Denmark-Gessel. The California driver was fighting inside the top-15, but the penalty will hurt his heat point position at the end of tomorrow.

#302 – Jace Denmark-Gessel (Tony Kart)

Warm-up: 7th – 48.069
Qualifying: 13th – 48.264
Heat 1: 20th +5-second penalty


Shifter ROK

COTA vice-champion Nick Firestone enjoying his time in Italy (Photo: Erik Tomsons)

While he is flying the Costa Rican flag, Daniel Formal grew up racing here in the United States. The five-time US Rotax Grand Nationals champion had a wild opening heat race, getting run over at the staging lights before the race began. He fought back to hold his starting position when the checkered flag. He is the lone North American in contention after day one, with Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello lurking outside the top-20.

#402 – Daniel Formal (Tony Kart)

Warm-up (Group 2): 5th – 47.445
Qualifying: 10th – 47.451
Heat Group: B (Row 3)
Heat 1 (AvsB): 6th

#411 – Isaac Marritt (Birel ART)

Warm-up (Group 2): 16th – 47.772
Qualifying: 29th – 47.659
Heat Group: A (Row 8)
Heat 1 (AvsB): 16th

#420 – Justin Luik (Birel ART)

Warm-up (Group 1): 22nd – 48.273
Qualifying: 48th – 48.054
Heat Group: D (Row 12)
Heat 1 (CvsD): 26th

#421 – Andre Martins (Tony Kart)

Warm-up (Group 1): 23rd – 48.460
Qualifying: 47th – 48.008
Heat Group: C (Row 12)
Heat 1 (CvsD): 19th

#439 – Nick Firestone (Tony Kart)

Warm-up (Group 2): 30th – 48.769
Qualifying: 56th – 48.529
Heat Group: D (Row 14)
Heat 1 (CvsD): 23rd +5-second penalty

#440 – Rubens Barrichello (Exprit)

Warm-up (Group 1): 13th – 47.806
Qualifying: 25th – 47.627
Heat Group: A (Row 7)
Heat 1 (AvsB): 18th

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