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Conquer, Laplante and Zhao Open Florida Winter Tour with Mega Victories!


Conquer, Laplante and Zhao Open Florida Winter Tour with Mega Victories!

Lemieux and Pavan also find the podium in St Petersburg

It was a very successful opening round of the 2023 Rok Cup Florida Winter Tour for our Canadian contingent of racers as three race victories and a pair of runner-up finishes were tallied on Sunday in St Petersburg.

Challenged on a quick and rather bumpy circuit set up in the parking lot of the Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays Baseball club, racers had to stay precision sharp lap after lap every time they took to the track to navigate the barrier-lines circuit.

After Qualifying on Friday and running through a number of heat races and a Pre Final on Saturday, the grids were all set for Sunday’s main events and Canadian drivers were in the running in a number of categories.

Highlighting the race wins was a beautiful effort by Joshua Conquer in Rok Shifter. Lining up third for the Final, Conquer watched as the lead pair, PSL Karting’s Marijn Kremers and Magik Karts AJ Myers, came together in front of him on the opening lap, eliminating both drivers before the first lap was even complete.

Taking the lead from there, Conquer came under heavy pressure from Hunter Pickett, surrendering the lead for a few laps before making a great lunge to gain it back in corner three. From there, he held off Pickett and Giorgio Carrara right up until the checkered flag flew after 20 laps. The victory was Conquers first major in the USA and a perfect start to the 2023 season, which he will embark with Maranello USA.

In the Mini Rok division, David Zhao left an impression on his fellow competitors when he emerged vicarious on Sunday.

Consistently in the top five throughout the week, Zhao delivered his best drive of the weekend in the Feature. Advancing forward through the first half of the race, Zhao was the fastest driver through most of the race and he gained the lead with five laps to go. Under pressure, he surrendered the position on the final lap and did his best to find an opening but initially had to settle for second at the finish line.

However, following the race, the initial race winner, Max Christie, was accessed a penalty for not staying in the tram lines at the start and this elevated Zhao to the top of the podium.

There were a number of penalties after the Mini race and when the dust settled, Antoine Lemieux, who crossed in third place, joined Zhao on the podium in second place making it a Canada 1-2.

Scoring Canada’s third win of the weekend was Lemieux’s Premier Karting teammate Dave Laplante in the Rok Masters division.

Laplante battled throughout the weekend with Racing Edge Motorsports’ Andre Nicastro for the top position but on track, Nicastro was just too much and he crossed the finish line with a comfortable gap with Laplante in second. But, after contact early in the race with another driver, Nicastro received a penalty, which elevated Laplante to first place.

After a challenging time in the heat races, Mark Pavan hit his marks in the VLR Masters Final and he raced his way to a second-place finish.

Three victories and two podiums are a great success for our Canadian drivers and more proof of our strong our programs back home currently are. In total, there were 48 Canadian drivers competing in the opening round and we’ve heard even more could be coming to round two of the FWT.

Other notable performances on the weekend go to Ayden Ingratta and Anthony Martella. The pair racing with Speed Concepts Racing was up front all weekend long in their classes, VLR and Rok Junior for Martella and Rok Senior for Ingratta. Both started their Pre-Finals from the front row, but luck would not be on their side in the Finals. Martella wound up sixth in Rok Junior while Ingratta moved forward to finish seventh in Rok Senior after an accident in his PreFinal forced him to start deep in the field.

We also want to mention how awesome it was to see so many Micro Rok drivers on track this weekend. There were 31 in total and 13 of them were Canadian, showing there is plenty of future talent being developed as well.

Registration for round two, which will take place at the Piquet Sports and Entertainment complex in Loxahatchee on February 17-19, will open soon on the website.

Final Results from Round #1 of the Rok Cup USA Florida Winter Tour

Micro Rok

14. Dominick Mosklenko
15. George Ho
16. Nicholas Lorusso
17. Kingston Gadoury
18. Leo Da Silva
19. Asher Pavan
21. Massimo Lorusso
23. Melvelle Dos Santos
24. Domenico Crupi
25. William Choquette
26. Aiden Kishun
29. Jayden Francisco
31. Leo Simone

Mini Rok

1. David Zhao
2. Antoine Lemieux
8. Rocco Simone
9. Decklan Deonarine
13. Hudson Urlin
16. Cole Medieros
21. Edward Kennedy

Junior Rok

6. Anthony Martella
8. Caleb Campbell
10. Mayer Deonarine
11. Joseph Launi
12. Pearce Wade
14. Aristeides Theodoropoulos
15. Carlo Sasso
20. Frederique Lemieux
23. Alexandre Goulet

Senior Rok

7. Ayden Ingratta
13. Frankie Esposito
19. Tristan Deshaies
20. Franco O’Dowd-Savaglio
23. Nolan Bower

Shifter Rok

1. Joshua Conquer
6. Lucio Masini
7. Dominic Legrand

Master Shifter Rok

8. Martin Janson
10. Michel Legrand
16. Francesco Vassallo

Master Rok

1. David Laplante
8. Sylvain Coulombe

VLR Junior

7. Ty Fisher
13. Jordan Di Leo
24. Sebastien Blanchet
25. Nathan Dupuis
27. Anthony Martella

VLR Master

2. Mark Pavan
7. Bruno Sorgiovanni

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