In an exciting affair on Sunday afternoon at Palm Beach Karting, the Rok Cup USA Florida Winter Tour crowned their first round of winners.
Rok Shifter lined up on the starting grid with Indycar driver Robert Wickens (BirelART) on the pole-position with young shoe Mathias Ramirez (Parolin) alongside. Just behind them was Dutchman Marijn Kremers, the factory racing driver for BirelART.
When the flag dropped, all three hit the hammer and launched toward turn one, entering three-wide and banging wheels around the 180-degree opening curve.
Wickens emerged with the lead while Kremers slipped back behind Ramirez and AJ Myers (TB Kart) after trying to hold the outside line.
From there it was an exciting 22-lap battle that saw Wickens open up a lead, then have the pack close back in, including Kremers jumping to the lead with two laps to go. The move was questioned by the officials and while Kremers would cross the finish line first, he was accessed a three-second penalty, awarding the victory to a deserving Wickens.
Myers won the battle for third, which turned into second with Kremers penalty while Austin Garrison (TonyKart) completed the podium. Ramirez slipped to fourth while Rory Van Der Steur (FA Kart) finished out the top-five. Kremers ended up seventh after his 3-second penalty.
The big mover in the race was Rubens Barrichello (TonyKart), who advanced sixteen positions in the race to finish eighth after a failure in the Prefinal.
Unfortunately for us, Wickens will not be able to compete in the final two rounds of the FWT due to his Indycar season.