When the Rok Senior Final rolled out on track at Palm Beach Karting on Sunday at the Rok Cup USA Florida Winter Tour, there were a number of potential headlines in the making. Could Arthur Leist overcome his last place qualifying effort to win? Could defending Champion Ryan Norberg remain hot out front? Would the rookie, Eduardo Barrichello surprise everyone and take home the victory? Or was it going to someone else stealing away the win?
Well, Leist (Kosmic) led the way early after a great start, but Norberg (BirelART) was right with the leader. Canadian Ryan MacDermid (BirelART) was also right in the early mix along with Barrichello (TonyKart), who started sixth after being pushed wide on the start of the Prefinal and clawing his way back forward.
The excitement kicked off on lap ten when Norberg went to the lead. Leist quickly battled back and contact was made between the two leaders. Norberg held on to the top spot, but Leist fell back to fourth as Barrichello and MacDermid overtook. Victor Schoma (TonyKart) then joined in on the action and when Leist went by MacDermid for third, he followed through.
Hot laps for Norberg allowed him to slowly build up his gap to Barrichello, who just didn’t have enough for the leader. Leist was no less than 2.3 seconds back of Barrichello at the halfway mark, but he blistered off fast laps in the closing stages to catch up to the rookie. But Barrichello held his ground and didn’t allow his fellow Brazillian to get by.
Norberg crossed the finish line with a 1.4-second margin of victory. However, officials issued him a 2-position penalty after the race for the incident with Leist, sliding him down to the third step of the podium. Barrichello inherited the win, a major one for the rookie, while Leist’s comeback was one position short of victory.
MacDermid and Schoma rounded out the top-five.
The Racing Edge Motorsports Canadian trio of Logan Cusson, Tommy Simard, and Nicholas Hornbostel finished up seventh, eighth and ninth while Trevor Pace (Intrepid) crashed hard on the opening lap and did not finish.