The 25th Winter Cup started on a high at the South Garda Karting in Lonato, where more than 300 drivers from 47 countries and all 5 continents gathered to compete. This is the record in terms of number of represented countries, which proves once again the value of this event as a classic karting race. Importantly, the main teams and strongest drivers decided to partake in this event.
The long racing weekend in Lonato started with qualifying practice on Friday, February 14th. The initial heats followed and will continue for the whole day of Saturday for categories KZ2 (68 drivers on track), OK (85), OK-Junior (84) and Mini Rok (64). The final stages will take place on Sunday, February 16th with the closing heats, Super Heats and the finals for all categories in the afternoon.
Qualifying practice named the early protagonists of the 25th edition of the race in three qualifying sessions for each category. In KZ2 the Finn Simo Puhakka (Tony Kart-Vortex-Bridgestone/Tony Kart Racing Team) posted the fastest time in 46.299s, while Giuseppe Palomba (Birel Art-Tm/Birel Art Racing) was the quickest in the third session in 46.400s and the Swede Viktor Gustafsson of Team Leclerc by Lennox Racing (Birel Art-Tm) was the best of the second session in 46.522s.
The quickest of OK was the Russian Kirill Smal (Energy-Tm-Bridgestone/Energy Corse) in 47.352s. He led his teammate from Holland Robert De Haan, who was the fastest man in the second session in 47.647s, and the Brit Joseph Turney (Tony Kart-Vortex/Tony Kart Racing Team), that posted the fastest time in the first session.
Category OK-Junior has a lot of drivers at the debut that are stepping their game up from Mini. The Jamaican Alex Powell (Energy-Tm-LeCont/Energy Corse) put in a great performance posting the quickest time in 47.818s. He was followed by the Norwegian Martinius Stenshorne (KR-Iame/Rosberg Racing Academy), who was the fastest of the second session in 47.845s, and the Pole Tymoteusz Kucharczyk (RK-Tm/Birel Art Racing) who topped the charts of the first session in 48.118s.
The Russian Dmitry Matveev (Energy-Vortex-Bridgestone/Energy Corse) confirmed his speed in Mini Rok and was the quickest in 55.027s, leading United Arab Emirates’ driver Rashid Al Dhaheri (Parolin-Vortex/Team Ippoliti), who went quickest in the first session in 55.205s, and the Hungarian Adam Hideg (Parolin-Vortex/Baby Race), who topped the second session with a fastest lap of 55.346s.
The winners of the first heats of the weekend are:
KZ2: Heat A-B Palomba; Heat C-D Viganò; Heat B-E Longhi; Heat A-D Puhakka.
OK: Heat A-B Bedrin; Heat C-D Turney; Heat B-E Hiltbrand.
OKJ: Heat A-B Stenshorne; Heat C-D Kucharczyk; Heat B-E Stenshorne.
Mini Rok: Heat A-B Foteev; Heat C-D Skulanov.
The program of the 25th Winter Cup
Saturday, February 15th: 8:30 Warm-up; 11:00 heats.
Sunday, February 16th: 8:30 Warm-up; Live Streaming from 11:00 with the closing heats; 12:10 Super Heats; 14:40 Final OK; 15:15 Mini Rok; 15:50 OKJ; 16:25 KZ2.