The halfway point of the 2017 Florida Winter Tour has come and gone already as the ROK Cup portion rolled into West Palm Beach this past weekend. The entry count nearly matched the series opening in Homestead as the ROK Cup program continues to grow in Florida and attract drivers from around North and South America at the FWT showing big promise for the program.
GFC showing up when he needs to most at the FWT
No one has ever questioned Gary Carlton’s ability but through two rounds of the Florida Winter Tour, he has shown that he knows when to show his best efforts. In two races so far, he may not have qualified on top or swept any heat races, but when it comes to the Final race, the one that means the most, his true colours shine and he has delivered. Racing with Canadian outfit Goodwood Kartways with Brian Bettencourt turning the wrenches, Carlton is now two-for-two in FWT ROK Shifter action.
Sunday started off on an interesting note as pole-sitter AJ Myers requested a second race start after his clutch failed and he stalled while sitting in the P1 box. Forced to the rear of the field, Myers all but ended his chances before the PreFinal even began. This opened up the opportunity for Rubens Barrichello to win the PreFinal with Carlton coming in second. Myers on the other hand drove up to sixth after doing circles behind the starting grid until the green flag flew, knowing he couldn’t stop his kart without a clutch.
The Final saw Carlton bolt off the starting line and into the first corner with the lead while Barrichello slipped to second with Daniel Formal hot on his heels. With the two trading positions early, Carlton snuck off to a small lead. But Barrichello fired off some blistering laps and caught back up to the rear bumper of Carlton with Formal in the mix as well.
But as the race hit the halfway mark and just about to get really interesting, Barrichello made one mistake, out-braked himself and allowed Carlton to break free. That was all GFC needed as he managed the gap and ensured Barrichello and Formal stayed more than a second back.
Noteably, Jonathon Thonon had an awful week and it looked like it was going to turn around in the final. But a broken chain while running fourth ended his day and his weekend. Hopefully he returns for Ocala.
As for the Canadian’s on the grid, Gianfranco Mazzaferro rolled from the tail of the field to twelfth in the Final, Antonio Serravalle was seventeenth, Ethan Simioni nineteenth and Matthew Barry was twentieth in his debut.