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Rok Cup International Final Driver Analysis: Mazzaferro, Crupi and Gysi

Gianfranco Mazzaferro (Photo by Cody Schindel / CKN)

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Rok Cup International Final Driver Analysis: Mazzaferro, Crupi and Gysi

It was a superb week of racing at the Rok Cup International Final in Italy, the 15th year of the event. By far the largest turnout of drivers the Rok Final has ever seen, over 400 drivers from around the world took part, including a dominant Italian contingent that brought home victories in three of the five categories. Among the massive list of entrants was seven Canadian drivers, spread across the Junior, Senior and Shifter Rok platforms.

There was also one very happy half-Canadian who delivered the biggest victory of his young career, as Connor Zilitsch, who now calls North Carolina, USA home, stood atop the Mini Rok podium with the championship trophy, topping a massive 162 drivers in the category.

Here is how the weekend broke down for the Canadians in Italy, who no doubt will be pushing to return to this spectacle in a years time.

Gianfranco Mazzaferro

Category: Rok Shifter
Team: BirelART Junior Team
Qualifying: 34th of 43 Entries
Heat race ranking: 35th
Final result: N/A

As a last-minute addition to the entry list to the Rok Cup International Final, Gianfranco Mazzaferro didn’t have much time to prepare for the race and even jetted off to Italy with a full stomach of Thanksgiving dinner fresh from his family table. After arriving in Italy, Mazzaferro was behind the ball in comparison to his fellow competitors, most having already been there for more than a week.

But he persevered and got up to speed as quick as he could. Qualifying thirty-fourth, Mazzaferro started each of his heats from the ninth row on the grid and while he stayed out of trouble and finished all of his heats, he didn’t advance much up the order. Ranking tied for thirty-fourth, the last spot to transfer to the main event, Mazzaferro lost out to a tie-breaker, ending his weekend a little early.

Joe Crupi

Category: Rok Senior
Team: Intrepid Kart
Qualifying: 71st of 81 Entries
Heat race ranking: 75th
Final result: N/A

Like his Goodwood Kartways teammate, Joe Crupi arrived in Italy early and took part in the Autumn Trophy race the weekend before the Rok Cup. Enjoying the weekend, Crupi felt pretty confident going into the big show. But when the entrant number increased to 81 and the track conditions changed basically every time he hit the track, Crupi had a hard time adjusting.

One of the highest ranked Masters drivers in the Senior category, Crupi had high hopes until the heat races brought him down. A crash in his second race, saw him arrive at the scales on the recovery trailer, amassing a large number of points and also a bent go-kart. Doing all they could to repair the damage, the kart just wasn’t the same in the final two heat races for Crupi and he accumulated a total of 114 points through four heat races. It was 12 points too many and he was unable to transfer to the B-Main.

With his first International race in the books, Crupi will be back in Europe in less than two weeks when he represents Canada again, this time at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Portugal.

Joe Crupi (Photo by Cody Schindel / CKN)

Christian Gysi

Category: Rok Shifter
Team: BirelART Junior Team
Qualifying: 42nd of 43 Entries
Heat race ranking: 40th
Final result: N/A

Just like Mazzaferro, Christian Gysi was a very last minute addition to the Rok Shifter field and to complicate things a little more for the Quebec driver, he arrived in Italy directly from his vacation. He too was behind the pack and was forced to catch up as quick as he could and learn. Still very new to the sport, Gysi was a little out of his element, but thanks to his mechanic for the week, Dany St-Hilaire, Gysi had some guidance from a driver who raced in the Rok Cup Finals in the previous year.

Gysi was still learning when it came to qualifying and he ranked at the bottom of the list. Continuing to push, he drove well in the heat races and scored a best result of sixteenth in his second heat race. Moving up a few spots in the rankings after the heat races, it, unfortunately, wasn’t enough and his weekend came to an early end.

But he was still all smiles about the event and even reached out to CKN to let us know.

“I really liked the experience. It’s something to do at least once in your life and I learned more over the week than in all the years that I’m racing karts. The only thing that disappointed me a little bit was that I had to race in the Senior Shifter class in Italy even if I won the Master’s ticket here in Canada.”

Christian Gysi (Photo by Cody Schindel / CKN)

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