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Two Victories and a Podium for Canadians at FWT Opener!

Zachary Claman DeMelo

Florida Winter Tour

Two Victories and a Podium for Canadians at FWT Opener!

Claman Demelo and Ali top the podium while Stehle takes third in Masters!

Canadian teams and drivers made a statement at the opening round of the 2020 Rok Cup Florida Winter Tour, driving home two race victories as well as a third-place podium effort. Tackling a unique temporary circuit set up in the parking lot of the Isle Casino in Pompano Beach, Florida, Zachary Claman DeMelo (REM/Kosmic) and Daniel Ali (REM/Kosmic) were able to secure the top honours in ROK Senior and Briggs Junior, while Marc Stehle (PSL/BirelART) finished third in ROK Masters.

Nearly 40 Canadian drivers competed in the event that attracted over 200 drivers from across the Americas and many of them were on contention for a podium finish all week long.

Friday and Saturday

A great start on Friday afternoon saw Jordan Prior (Prime/BirelART) post the fastest time in Briggs Senior Qualifying to earn the pole position, while Thomas Nepveu (PSL/BirelART) was second quickest in ROK Senior, as was Mathieu Cousineau (BCR-PSL/BirelART) in Briggs Junior. Third place qualifying efforts were also delivered by Jordan Di Leo (Goodwood/Intrepid) in Micro ROK and Logan Ferguson (Prime/BirelART) in Briggs Junior.

Following three rounds of heat races, Nepveu stood atop the standings in the highly competitive ROK Senior division, only to have a starter failure on the grid for the PreFinal, impacting his earlier successes and forcing him to start his Final from the rear of the grid. Advancing from fourth on the grid, Claman DeMelo quietly snuck into second place and earned himself a front-row starting spot for the Final.

Ali and Ferguson took charge of the Briggs division to start on the front row of the PreFinal, but it was Cousineau who pulled off the race win with a bold outside line pass on the final lap on Ferguson. Prior slipped back to second in the Senior Briggs heats and PreFinal but managed to keep himself in a fighting position.

Jordan Prior

Sunday

All of the races culminated on Sunday with everything on the line. Beautiful sunshine was on display and the intensity built up just in time to determine some race winners.

The day started off with Ali and Ferguson going toe-to-toe in the Briggs Junior Final. The two were able to break free from the pack as the racing for third slowed up the chasing group in the middle stages of the race. With four laps to go, Ali began a defensive line and while Ferguson did manage to slip by, Ali countered and that slowed the pair up enough to allowed the chasing four drivers to catch. It all came down to the final lap where Ali defended perfectly to hold off Ferguson at the finish line. Cousineau crossed in fifth, one spot ahead of Daniel Ali (REM/Kosmic). However, after the race, officials accessed a penalty to Ferguson for an incident at the start, knocking him back to ninth in the results and elevating Cousineau and Daniel Ali into the top-five.

Jumping to the lead on the opening lap of the Rok Senior Final, Claman DeMelo wasted no time getting out front of the pack. After holding off his REM teammate Diego Ramos for the first few laps, ZCD began to build up a lead and made no mistakes en route to a 1.9-second victory, celebrating in style at the finish line. Nepveu was the biggest mover of the race, advancing up 20 positions to finish fourteenth, one spot behind Gianluca Savaglio (REM/Kosmic) who enjoyed a promising first race weekend in Senior, and one ahead of Nolan Bower (VSR/TonyKart).

Canada’s third podium came in the hands of Marc Stehle, who was making his first two-cycle start in more than a decade. Following a Friday qualifying session that saw Stehle one-second off the pace of the leaders, he sought out some driver coaching and advice and went to school as he put it. His hard work paid off, with an impressive drive to finish third, surrendering the second position with only four laps to go in the twenty-lap main event. His happiness following the race was like he just scored his first-ever podium race, a pure reaction a weekend of hard work paying off.

Marc Stehle

In the Briggs Senior Final, Prior just wasn’t able to find anyone to help him, allowing the early race leader to break away, while he fought just to stay inside the top-five. He would eventually cross the finish line in sixth place, two spots ahead of Kelsey Hann (GCR-PSL/BirelART).

In the Mini Rok division, Ayden Ingratta rebounded from an eleventh-place qualifying effort on Friday to finish fourth in the Sunday Final. He started the race in eighth and quietly worked his way forward to finish just one spot off the podium.

Matching Ingratta’s performance, Jordan Di Leo also scored a fourth-place result in Florida. Competing in Micro Rok, Di Leo was battling with the leaders on a number of occasions throughout the weekend, but at to settle for fourth, narrowly missing out on the podium and a trophy.

Ayden Ingratta

The 2020 Rok Cup Florida Winter Tour continues in just under a month’s time as the series heads north to Ocala Gran Prix on February 13-16.


Full Canadian Results

ROK Micro
4. Jordan Di Leo
6. Jensen Burnett
7. Ilie Tristan-Crisan
8. Rocco Simone

ROK Mini
4. Ayden Ingratta
10. Michael Riccio
19. Caleb Campbell

ROK Junior
21. Callum Baxter
22. Daniel Ali
23. Marcello Paniccia
25. Marco Filice
26. Luke Mann

ROK Senior
1. Zachary Claman DeMelo
13. Gianluca Savaglio
14. Thomas Nepveu
15. Nolan Bower
18. Nicky Palladino
20. Nicholas Hornbostel
24. Adam Ali
31. Jared Ramnarayan

ROK Masters
3. Marc Stehle
11. Sylvain Coulombe

ROK Shifter
14. Davide Greco
17. Lucio Masini
20. Owen Clarke
23. Dominic Legrand

ROK Shifter Master
11. Thierry St-Onge
12. Michel Legrand
14. Nicolas Bedard
15. Martin Janson

Briggs Junior
1. Adam Ali
4. Mathieu Cousineau
5. Daniel Ali
7. Matthew Demarinis
9. Logan Ferguson
12. Franco O’Dowd

Briggs Senior
6. Jordan Prior
8. Kelsey Hann
12. Rich Folino
13. Eli Yanko

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