Florida Winter Tour Completes Round Two of 2019 with Second Event at Hard Rock Stadium
Brooks, Myers, and Mars among the repeat winners in Miami
The second event of the Florida Winter Tour was held outside the Hard Rock Stadium on February 14-17. The home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins was site for Round One in January and Round Two of the famed winter series, with two different temporary circuits composed within the parking lot. While the first event in last month enjoyed a circuit that mirrored the South Garda Karting facility in Italy, Round Two this past weekend was an homage to the famed X-Plex circuit outside Las Vegas. Weather this month was perfect, with qualifying and the opening round of heat races on Friday, final two rounds on Saturday with Prefinal and Final on Sunday. A special Dash for Media Cash was held on the weekend for the top-six drivers in Senior Rok, won by Diego Ramos to take home $1,500.
It was a repeat in the Senior Rok division as Christian Brooks once again swept the category. Brooks (Orsolon / Tony Kart) swept the opening round in January and came back to do the same this weekend. The only session Brooks was shut out in was the Dash for Cash. Brooks included a Prefinal win this time, with no weather issues for Round Two, leading the Final wire-to-wire for the victory over Arthur Leist (PSL / Birel ART). Eduardo Barrichello (Orsolon / Kosmic) grabbed the third spot on the podium over Dash for Media Cash winner Ramos (HRM / Tony Kart) with Canadian Nicholas Hornbostel (REM / Kosmic) up five spots to fifth.
It was another great battle in the Shifter Rok division, however, with the same end result. EKN Driver Rankings #1 AJ Myers (MONR / Croc) came away with his second victory of the program. Former #1 Danny Formal (LEM / Formula K) set fast time in qualifying and won the opening heat race. Mathias Ramirez (PSL / Birel ART) grabbed the final two heat race wins and the Prefinal top spot to start the main event from P1. Ramirez dropped to third early and retired on lap four. Formal grabbed the holeshot with Davide Greco (PSL / Birel ART) slotting in behind. Myers was third and bought his time, first working past Greco and then Formal for the lead on lap 13. From there, Myers drove away to a 1.1-second victory over Formal and Greco for a USA, Costa Rica, and Canada podium. Jimmy Cabrera (AKT / Kosmic) moved up to fourth with Giano Taurino putting a second Mad Old Nut Racing / Croc entry into the top-five.
Shifter Master Rok Round One winner Victor Jimenez (RPG / Tony Kart) was on course to another victory. Jimenez set the pace in qualifying and led the way in all three heat races. Issues in the Prefinal dropped him out of the race, turning over the point to Rene Martinelli (TB Kart). Martinelli grabbed the holeshot in the Final, only to relinquish the top spot to Luis Schiavo (Goodwood / Kosmic) on lap five. Schiavo led the rest of the way to score the victory. Jimenez was able to climb his way forward, reaching the second spot by the checkered flag, only to receive a penalty for contact with Martinelli with four laps to go. That promoted Hernando Sanchez (Goodwood / Formula K) to second with Daniel Dibos (JCM / OTK) up 10 spots to third while Peter Licciardi (Midway / FA Kart) and Farshad Bagheri (TB Kart) completed the top-five.
Going 2 for 2 in the Master Rok division is Renato Jader-David (Orsolon / Tony Kart). After sweeping the opening round in January, the Brazilian-native duplicated that feat with another sweep from beginning to end. The event was capped off with a 10-second advantage in the Final, winning over Andres Fonseca (LEM / Praga) with Rodrigo Ospina (TM / Tony Kart). Flavio Menezes (HRM / Tony Kart) drove up to fourth with Steven Heffley (Tanda / Praga) dropping one spot to fifth.
Luca Mars was also able to double up in the Junior Rok category. It was a battle all weekend long with no clear top driver. Diego Contecha (Orsolon / Tony Kart) set fast time in qualifying while Mars (SCR / Tony Kart) won two of the three heat races as Enrico De Lucca (NF / Kosmic) grabbed the win in Heat #2. Mars started the Prefinal from the pole position, going on to win the race over De Lucca before going green-to-checkered in the main event for a second straight victory. Alessandro De Tullio (AM / Exprit) jumped up three spots to second, dropping De Lucca to third. Luke Lange (SCR / Tony Kart) advanced five spots to fourth with Contecha ended in fifth.
The 100cc Junior category grew to 10 drivers for the second round, welcoming a second different winner. Round One winner Chloe Chambers (MDR / Kosmic) set the quick time in qualifying with three different drivers winning in the heat races – William Cox (TF / Tony Kart), Santiago Biagi (AM / Exprit) and Chambers. Biagi won the pole position for the Prefinal, but it was Kyffin Simpson (SCR / Tony Kart) taking the race win. Four different drivers took a turn leading in the 17-lap Final, including Biagi, Simpson, Chambers and Ian Aguilera (Exprit). At the checkered, Biagi scored the victory ahead of Simpson. Chambers beat Aguilera to the line for the final step of the podium. Aguilera suffered a two position penalty, dropping him to sixth behind Adam Maxwell (Top Kart) and Marcos Telle (JCM / Tony Kart).
While it was not a sweep as he did in Round One, Kai Sorensen (ST / Tony Kart) stood on top of the podium at the end of Round Two in Mini Rok. It was just 34 thousandths that separated the fast laps of Nikita Johnson (AKT / Energy) and Sorensen. In the first two heat races, Sorensen would have the edge until Italian Riccardo Ianniello (NF / FA Kart) came away with the top spot. Sorensen fought off challenges in the Prefinal for the win to earn the pole position for the main event. The Final was a 15-lap battle with Sorensen out front for early. Jack Jeffers (Orsolon / Benik) got into the mix, leading five laps before Ianniello took his turn. Anderson Leonard (ST / Tony Kart) started sixth but found his way to the point in the closing laps. On the final circuit, Ianniello came across the finish line as the provisional winner. Officials handed Ianniello a two position penalty for a ‘driving infraction’, thus handing the victory to Sorensen. The penalty put Ianniello to third on the podium behind Leonard. Miguel Costa (Parolin) was fourth with Johnson recovering up to fifth.
Beckham Jacir has doubled up in the Micro Rok win column thus far in 2019. Jacir (JC / Kosmic) was not at the front of the field until Sunday, advancing up five spots to win the Prefinal before winning the Final by over three seconds. Heat #1 winner Karsyn Walters (ST / Tony Kart) finished second with top qualifier Enzo Vidmontiene (IM / Benik) in third. Christian Quijano (Zanella / Parolin) and Jan Philipp-Krull (Goodwood / Intrepid) completed the top-five.
The Florida Winter Tour will wrap up on the March 21-24, moving north to the Ocala Gran Prix facility in Ocala, Florida.