Three of our Canadian drivers got off to a great start at the Rok Cup USA Festival in Biloxi, Mississippi. The challenging Finishline Performance Karting circuit is hosting a race for the first time and drivers are having all kinds of fun getting up to speed with big awards on the line.
Friday was Qualifying day and Dale Curran led the way in Rok Junior, the biggest class on track this weekend. Curran blistered off a lap more than two-tenths of a second faster than his competitors to top the session and take the provisional pole and he was joined on the front row by his REM teammate Joey Atanasio, followed by Luca Mars, Jeremy Fletcher and Evan Hagberg, another driver with REM this weekend. It wasn’t a great session for Marcello Paniccia, as his Team Benik entry could only manage to post the twenty-first fastest time.
Heat one saw Curran and Mars engage in a great battle for the win, with Mars getting the edge at the line and officials handing Curran a 3-place penalty for contact, relegating him to fourth. Paniccia had a great driver to advance up to tenth.
In Senior Rok, Axel Cabrera of the Dominican Republic posted the quickest time. Diego Ramos put his REM machine on the front row, edging out FWT Champion Christian Brooks, Nicholas Hornbostel and Colby Dubato. Thomas Nepveu was seventh in his PSL Karting BirelART entry.
There was no shortage of action in the heat race, which saw Hornbostel out-hustle Cabrera to take the win. Brooks snuck by Cabrera on the final corner to take second with Ramos fourth and PSL Karting’s Arthur Leist fifth. Nepveu had a great start and was up to third before being tagged into a spin. He was having a good recovery until another incident forced him to retire.
In Shifter Rok, it was all Danny Formal on Friday. He nipped Canadian Davide Greco by 0.081 seconds in Qualifying and then cruised in the heat race. Greco slipped back to third in the race, after being passed by Jimmy Cabrera.
Supertune USA led the way in Mini Rok Qualifying, taking the top three spots led by Frenchman Enzo Deligny, followed by Kai Sorenson and Anderson Leonard. However, it was a disaster of a heat race for the squad, as Sorenson and Leonard were caught up in a turn one incident and Deligny fell to third as PSL Karting’s Caleb Grafarar took the win. Liam Flanagan had an eventful run, as he spun on the pace lap, started at the tail of the 23-kart grid, and drove all the way to second place in the seven-lap sprint.
Canadian Ayden Ingratta qualified ninth, but he too was caught up in the lap one incident and fell to the tail of the field, eventually finishing eighteenth.
Other fast qualifiers in Biloxi were: Camryn Reed in LO206 Junior, Alexandre Searle in LO206 Senior, Danilo Ramalho in Rok Masters, Carson Weinburg in Micro Rok, Chloe Chambers in 100cc Junior, Austin Osborne in 100cc Senior and Ryan Kinnear in Rok Shifter Master.
With progressive starting grids for all four heats this weekend, there is plenty of excitement still to come in the Battle at the Beach.