Doing Canada proud as the lone representatives in the 2020 Rok Cup SuperFinal in Italy, Andrew Maciel and Jensen Burnett displayed great pace and earned great results on the Franciacorta circuit.
Following the last-minute switch of the circuits, both Burnett and Maciel packed up and trekked to the new circuit and a fresh challenge awaited them.
Monday was their first taste of the new track and by Thursday more than 250 Rokkers were qualifying for the 3-day competition. After three days of dry practice, rain also arrived on Qualifying day.
Burnett showed great pace in Practice, regularly near the top with his Energy Corse teammates, but disaster struck in Qualifying. The rain caused an electrical issue and the young Canuck was unable to put in a time representative to his pace. He wound 62nd overall among the 86 entrants, 2.5 seconds off the pace, and would need to race his way forward in the heat races if he wanted to make the Final.
In those heat races, Burnett had to face more wet conditions for his first two runs and he raced smart and advanced forward in both, taking eighth and tenth. Dry conditions arrived for the final heat and under the guidance of Darren White, Burnett was given the green to light to make as many spots as he could. A brilliant drive to sixth place secured him a starting spot in Saturday’s SuperFinal, ranking fourteenth in his group and starting 27th on the grid.
An intense Final saw Burnett bounce up and down the running order. Running as high as twentieth and low as thirtieth, he crossed the finish line in twenty-fourth, up a few spots from where he started.
It was a great result in his first international start, which he reflected to CKN before flying back home.
“My first experience in international competition was a steep learning curve. It was my first time racing in Europe and I got to drive on two new tracks, the world-famous South Garda and a ‘B Track’ Franciacorta. The biggest challenge was getting used to the narrower front tire Europeans use on the mini kart. Competition wise Europe was very close compared to what I’m used to but I had to learn to be more aggressive with a ‘pass or be passed’ attitude. I had fun and made some new friends and I hope I can come back again next year.”
With 42 entrants in Rok Senior, mainly from Italy and Poland, Andrew Maciel knew he had a serious challenge ahead of him in Italy, especially as the lone privateer entrant.
He was one of the first drivers to arrive at the Franciacorta circuit to get an idea of what he was in for and got off to a great start in practice.
He backed it up in Qualifying with the eighth quickest time in his group, ranking him fifteenth overall and giving him a chance to race with the leaders in the heat races.
His first heat race on Thursday saw him race upfront in the wet conditions, finishing where he started in eighth, but trouble in heat two forced him to retire early with water in the airbox causing issues. A ninth place in the final heat race salvaged some points and Maciel ranked twenty-fourth to easily make it into the SuperFinal.
A big mover in the Final, Maciel had great pace on the dry track and advanced up eighth spots from where he started to finish sixteenth, a great result in his second appearance at the Rok Cup SuperFinal.
“I could not be happier with my result. It has been one of the craziest and most exciting events of my career. From changes in venue, slicks on a wet track, mechanical issues, up to racing at the front, wheel-to-wheel with world champions. Terry [Ventresca] had our kart perfect for the Final and made an ‘out of the box’ motor one of the fastest in Rok Senior. We were the only ones in Senior without a major team behind us, which makes the result even sweeter.”