There’s a good number of Canadian drivers taking part in this weekend’s Florida Winter Tour ROK Cup race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. As the primer for the Rotax Max weekend that follows, Canadians are taking part in almost every category available including a good number in the ROK Shifter class.
Following three heat races throughout Friday and Saturday, the grids are set for Sunday’s PreFinal races that precede the afternoon finals.
A couple notes from the day:
- There’s an impressive turnout of drivers in ROK Shifter and Belgium’s Jonathon Thonon has dominated so far, sweeping all three heat races. However, he was excluded from the final heat for a tire violation (incorrect direction) and will start the PreFinal from eighth. Even with Gary Carlton, Daniel Formal, Zachary Claman DeMelo and Rubens Barrichello ahead of him, we’re expecting Thonon to be back up front before the PreFinal is complete.
- Speaking of the ROK Shifter class, there are 33 drivers in the Senior portion as officials needed to separate the ROK Shifter Masters after a total of 43 shifters arrived in Homestead. The classes initially started their races from a standing start on the main straight, however with the big grid, officials moved the start to the back straight to allow for a little more room in what have been very hectic starts.
- 41 drivers in ROK Junior meant the class needed to be split up for the heat races. A late decision to scratch the Last Chance Race on Saturday afternoon means that all 41 drivers will advance to main event on Sunday. The same can be said for Mini ROK which has 39.
- As the heat races resumed this morning, a heavy breeze brought in some misty air and it appeared it may rain. But the dark clouds were just for show as the mist barely even made it to the ground.
- With 194 entries this weekend, this is the largest weekend the Florida Winter Tour has enjoyed since Maxspeed Entertainment took ownership of the program.
Here’s how the Canadian drivers stacked up:
- Mini ROK
Dale Curran has held his own in a very competitive Mini ROK class. He ranks sixth and will start the PreFinal from the outside of row three. Justin Arseneau was victim of a scary flip in heat two, but a 30-minute repair period allowed his PSL Karting team to prepare a race-able kart for his to resume. He ranks twelfth heading into the PreFinal. American driver Luca Mars leads the way with support from Darren White’s Energy Kart North America. Christian Alger is making his two-cycle debut this weekend in Homestead and he continues to learn every time he hits the track.
- Junior ROK
After starting all of his heat races from the rear of the grid, Ryan MacDermid recovered well and scored three top-eight finishes to rank thirteenth. He has the pace to get up front but will need a little luck in the PreFinal as the juniors have been awfully anxious this weekend. Jeremy Fairbairn is ninth, Nicholas d’Orlando ranks fifteenth while Jade Hubert is twenty-fourth. Eduardo Barrichello, son of former F1 driver Rubens, is on top after the heat races, scoring two wins on the way.
- Senior ROK
There’s only one Canadian in the Senior category and he’s enjoying a good one. Logan Cusson qualified eighth overall and has stayed inside the top-ten with the exception of the third heat where he found some trouble mid race. PSL Karting’s newest recruit, Ryan Norberg, has been lights out so far, going undefeated in the heats.
- Shifter ROK
As mentioned, Zachary Claman DeMelo is doing very well in ROK Shifter racing against some very elite shifter drivers. He starts the PreFinal from grid spot three. Gianfranco Mazzaferro has quietly kept his nose clean, earning two tenth-place finishes and will start from P10 Sunday. Making his shifter debut, Ethan Simioni is holding his own and will start seventeenth, the position he finished twice in his heats. It’s been a rough go for Antonio Serravalle, who is also making his shifter debut this weekend. He’s got some work to do, starting from twenty-first on the grid. Racing with Goodwood Kartways this weekend on a Formula K kart, Gary Carlton will start on the pole-position.
Don’t forget, you can watch the live video broadcast of the Florida Winter Tour right on CKN. Tell your friends, grab some snacks and sit back and enjoy.