The international show of the ROK Cup Superfinal is again protagonist at the South Garda Karting of Lonato for the 2021 edition. A lot of emotions at the track from Tuesday 12th October, the day of the first free practices, to Saturday 16th, the final appointment with the finals, for the 311 enties (coming from 43 countries) in the 7 categories.
In this 2021, too, the ROK Cup Superfinal has proved to be a unique event, worldwide and rich in numbers. At the South Garda Karting of Lonato (Italy), more than 300 Rokkers, coming from 43 different nations, made the challenge of what the insiders live as a real "World Championship" of the ROK Cup by Vortex championships alive and burning until the last bend.
The great spectacle of the prize-giving ceremonies has gone back to its "classic" form, at the end of all the finals, but still in compliance with the COVID-19regulations in force. Fireworks, trophies and magnificent prizes made the end of the day more sparkling than ever.
Always consistent the prize money, worthy of the great event that the Rok Cup Superfinal is: the first 5 of each category, in fact, were celebrated with engines, technical material and the unmissable trophies.
The track’s feedback confirmed Alex Machado as the best of the Super ROK drivers, while six new champions were elected in the other categories: Jensen Burnett (MINI ROK), Yuanpu Cui (Junior ROK), Karol Czepiel (Senior ROK), Gustavo Carreira (Expert ROK), Tino Donadei (Expert ROK Plus) and David Liwinski (Shifter ROK).
Below, the details, category by category, of all stages of the ROK Cup Superfinal 2021.
104 is the number of drivers in the MINI ROK, a very high attendance that forced the qualifying to be divided into four groups. In the combined standings, Marek Piórkowski (Poland) signs his fastest time of 53.951 in the very first group going on the track. Sebastian Garzon (Colombia) is second by just 95 thousandths, followed by Mariano Lopez in third position, +0.188 from pole position.
In the first heats on Thursday, Bruno Gryc (Poland), Mark Pilipenko (Russia), Jensen Burnett (Canada) and Dries van Langendonck (Belgium) emerged as the first winners, while on Friday, Lopez, van Langendonck, Gryc (the latter two for the second time this weekend) and Zdenék Bábícek (Czech Republic) take the top step of the podium.
The final races on Saturday morning were won by Dean Hoogendoorn (Netherlands), David Cosma-Cristofor (Romania), Lopez and Garzon. With the sum of the penalty points, Gryc is at the top of the general ranking of groups A, B, C and D of the qualifying heats, while in the second ranking (of groups E, F, G and H) we find van Langendonck in first position.
Continuous overtaking and counter-overtaking in the MINI ROK final. Van Langendonck keeps the first position thanks to the pole position, followed by Lopez, Burnett and Gryc. Ahead, a trio of van Langendonck, Lopez and Gryc (who, in the meantime, had moved up to third position) is running fast and, on lap 3, Lopez and Gryc overtake van Langendonck, who becomes third. After two laps, it’s Gryc taking the lead of the race and Burnett wisely stays in the slipstream without trying to attack in the following laps. On the penultimate lap, Burnett finds it way in the final corners to take the lead and run straight to victory. Gryc loses the second place, too, which goes to van Langendonck.
MINI ROK Vortex Trophy
In the trophy reserved for those not entering the final, Tidor-Ioan Jercan (Romania) jumps well from the pole position, but Deonarine Mayer (Canada) takes the reins of the race on lap 4. The Canadian keeps the top position, but on lap 8 it is Lorenzo Campos’ (Angola) to take the lead. Campos runs under the chequered flag first, ahead of Mayer, second, and Rafal Paprota (Poland), third. In the post-race, a 10-second penalty sends Papota back while Ethan Lennon (South Africa) takes the lowest step of the podium.
The Junior ROK class is also divided into three groups, with 80 drivers ready to fight for the title in Lonato. There are three drivers with less than 50 thousandths of a second in the combined ranking: Samuele Leopardi (Italy) is first with a time of 48.952, ahead of Iwo Beszterda (Poland), second with +0.042, and Marcel Kasprzycki (Poland), third with +0.047.
Thursday has a total of five heats scheduled. Colin Würthenberger (Switzerland) scores a win, while Leopardi and Bartosz Grzywacz (Poland) each take first place twice. In the remaining five heats on Friday, Beszterda, Kasprzycki and Tomas Stolcermanis (Latvia) win, while Leopardi and Grzywacz increase their number of victories to three.
The response of the general ranking, decisive for the starting grid of the final, is as follows: Leopardi first, Grzywacz second (despite the same penalty points) and Stolcermanis third.
The protagonists of the Junior ROK offer exciting challenges in the final. At the start, Leopardi stays ahead of Grzywacz, while Parker Delong (USA) overtakes Stolcermanis on lap 2 for getting the third position. On lap 4, Yuanpu Cui (China) moves up to second position, with Delong, Lorenzo Bedetti (Italy) and Grzywacz behind him. Cui runs fast, catches and overtakes Leopardi for the race lead. Delong also finds a way to overtake Leopardi and takes the second. Cui, Delong and Leopardi form a lively trio, with Delong taking the lead on lap 10. With just two laps to go, Cui gets back in front and runs away, with Delong and Leopardi battling for second. An almost reassuring distance allows Cui to control and win, with Delong (second) ahead of Leopardi (third).
Junior ROK LeVanto Trophy
Rich battles in the runners-up final of the Junior ROK category. Hugo Herrouin (France), in pole position, loses his position to Marek Skrivan (Czech Republic), however the latter doesn't last long as Luca Viisoreanu (Romania) takes the lead on lap 3. Alessandro Antonelli (Italy) also runs in front, but the Italian gives his way again to Viisoreanu. In the last few laps, Yicheng Qu (China), Skrivan and Roman Bushuev (Italy) pass Viisoreanu and cross the finish line in this order. Skrivan then receives a 10-second penalty for forcing Viisoreanu to run wide: thus, Bushuev is promoted to second place and Sabin Stroescu (Romania) is third.
With 64 participants, the Senior ROK is divided into two groups for Thursday's qualifying. Herman Ovenstad (Norway) is the fastest in Group 1 with a time of 48.068, while Pietro Ragone (Italy) is first in Group 2 thanks to a lap of 48.109. Eliseo Donno (Italy) is third, Tereza Babickova (Czech Republic) fourth.
The first two heats on Thursday are the land of conquest for Karol Czepiel (Poland) and Piotr Protasiewicz (Poland), while the four races on Friday see winners Andrea Ladina (Italy), Babickova, Leonardo Megna (Italy) and Czepiel again. With a high level of competitiveness on track, constancy rewards Ragone going in first position of the general ranking, with Protasiewicz second and Michalina Sabaj (Poland) third.
The final of the Senior ROK closes the rich Saturday’s schedule and the show is immediately assured from the first laps already. When the lights turn off, Ragone leads the group ahead of Sabaj and Babickova, but after two laps are the two girls (Babickova ahead of Sabaj) who take control of the first two positions for most of the race. In the behind group there are Czepiel and Ladina, both starting from the middle of the starting grid: the two catch up with Babickova and Sabaj in the final laps: Czepiel gets the better of the two girls on lap 17, while Ladina two laps later. Czepiel wins, ahead of Ladina, second, and Babickova, third.
Senior ROK OMP Trophy
The Senior ROK trophy opens the Sunday’s final races of the ROK Cup Superfinal. Rodrigo Pavez (Chile) jumps from the pole position and keeps his position, pushed behind by Andrew Maciel (Canada). Megna, unfortunately withdrawn in one of the three qualifying heats, jumps from the middle of the grid and, with a series of fast laps, is already fourth after four laps. No one is able to contain Megna, leading already on lap 7: the Italian flies solo to victory. Behind him, also Sebastian Blanco (Colombia) is author of a great recovery and conquers the second position in the last laps. Federico Biagioli (Italy) finishes in third position.
Gustavo Carreira (Argentina) is first in the Expert ROK, with a time reference of 49.049. Renato Jader-David (USA) is second by a difference of only 24 thousandths of a second while Martin Hudec (Czech Republic) takes the third position.
The first challenge of the Expert ROK sees Carreira win ahead of Jader-David and Derek Wang (USA). Among the three, it is Jader-David setting the best time. Jader-David from the USA wins the second heat, with Carreira second (and with the fastest lap in his pocket) and Hudec third. In the last heat, Jader-David is again in front of everybody, with Hudec second and Wang third, while Carreira finishes only eighth.
Jader-David is perfect at the start thanks to his pole position and immediately leads the final race. An interesting quartet formed, with Jader-David followed by Tino Donadei (of Expert ROK Plus), Hudec and Carreira. On lap 7, Carreira takes the lead and defends against Jader-David and Hudec. Unfortunately, a technical problem stops Jader-David on lap 17, so Carreira finishes undisturbed in first position under the chequered flag. Hudec finishes second and Michele Zampieri (Italian) takes the bottom step of the podium.
EXPERT ROK PLUS
Marco Chiari (Italy) sets the fastest time overall in Thursday's qualifying session, including the Expert ROK drivers (with whom the Expert Plus drivers share the track). The Italian driver sets a time of 48.979, ahead of Tino Donadei (Italy), second, and Angelo Ardito, third.
Chiari and Donadei end the first heat in second and third place overall, respectively first and second of the "Plus" category. Ardito confirms the third position. In the next race, Donadei finishes ahead of Chiari, with Ardito again third, and the same result is repeated in the third and last eliminatoty heat, too.
From the first row of the overall grid, Donadei runs close to the fastest Expert ROK drivers and is firmly in the lead of his "Plus" category. Chari is too far away to be able to worry his compatriot and Donadei prefers not to risk throughout the whole race, so he doesn't attack his rivals of the Expert category.
In the end, Donadei triumphs, crossing the finish line in third place overall. Chiari is second, while Ardito confirms his third position.
Defending champion Alex Machado (Andorra) confirms to be fit in the 2021 edition of the ROK Cup Superfinal, too. Machado takes the pole position with a time of 47.305, 23 thousandths of a second better than Lukas Muth (Switzerland). Adreja Vibriantyte (Lithuania) and Leonardo Cesaretti (Switzerland) set the same time (47.398), but it is the Lithuanian coming third.
Machado makes no mistakes from the first heat and wins with a gap of just 0.273 seconds on Vibriantyte, second. Elliot Shaw recovers four positions, sets the fastest lap and is third. In the second heat, Machado is still first, this time ahead of Lukas and Shaw, while Gaia Cardinali (Monaco) grabs the best lap. Machado scores a hat-trick in the final heat, with Lyon Mathur (Switzerland) second and Shaw third. Cardinali gets the best lap again.
The Super ROK final has only one protagonist: Machado. The driver from Andorra doesn't give up the first position at the start and immediately imposes his own rhythm on his rivals, until he reaches a gap of over a second on the chasing group made up of Muth, Shaw and Mathur. On lap 15, Shaw overtakes for the second position, while Mathur touches the rear of Muth's kart and sends him into a spin. Machado wins with an advantage of 1.334 seconds over Shaw, second, while Mathur is penalized at the end of the race for his collision with Muth: as a result, Cardinali, already winner of the fastest lap in this race and recovering from sixth place, is promoted to third place.
In the shifter category, it is David Liwinski (Poland) who imposes his supremacy in the qualifying: 46.548 for the Polish driver, with Davide Cordera (Italy) second at +0.057 and Mihai Muncean (Romania) third at +0.157.
Liwinski is also very fast in the first heat, with a victory and a fast lap ahead of Muncean, second, and Gabrio Bizzozero (Switzerland), third. Liwinski repeats the same result in the second heat, again with Muncean in second position, but Mauro d'Agostino (Italy) takes the third. The last heat is the land of conquest of the usual Liwinski, with Muncean second and Ayato Iwasaki (Japan) in third place.
A fierce challenge in the first corners of the final marked Shifter ROK. Munchean jumps strong at the start, so much so that he is ahead of poleman Liwinski at the turning off of the lights. However, Munchean cannot get the best on Liwinski: the Polish driver overtakes him on the 2nd lap and, in the following laps, also gets the best time of the race. Liwinski ends the race triumphant in first position, with Munchean in second place at +2.885 behind the winner. Mattia Sergio Limena, who started third, tries to stay in the wake of the first two drivers and confirming his position under the chequered flag.