For the midway point of the 2023 ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour, OTK USA drivers headed to the new Piquet Entertainment & Race Park for Round Two of the series. The 15-corner circuit has a great mix of high-commitment corners and low-speed technical, with the walls close to the edge of the track a looming threat, ready to catch drivers out even if a driver pushes over the limit by even a small percentage. Overall, OTK drivers came away with a successful weekend, collecting four victories in total along with 15 podium finishes.
Wes Duchak (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) led the way for OTK USA drivers in VLR Senior, spearheading an all OTK podium on Sunday. Duchak took the top spot in every competitive session on the weekend, scoring maximum points aiding his championship bid for 2023. Duchak had Iron Rock Motorsports driver Helio Meza (Tony Kart) for company during the weekend, with Meza finishing second behind Duchak from qualifying to the Pre Final. On the first lap of the Final, championship leader Meza would retire, handing over second to Joseph Botting (Piquet Sports / Gillard). Botting finished second, 7.1 seconds back from the lead, and had Gracian Rzedzian (Tony Kart) a few seconds back in third.
In dominant fashion, Ernesto Rivera (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) was the class of the field from qualifying to crossing the line in the Final of ROK Junior, taking the win by 2.5 seconds over fellow OTK USA pilot sporting the Redspeed colors, Anthony Martella (Speed Concepts Racing). Martella and several others fought for the best of the rest all weekend long, with a best finish of third up until that point, brought it home for an OTK 1-2 and a spot on the podium. His fellow teammate and Canadian Caleb Campbell (Redspeed) gained 19 spots in the final to take P5 at the end of the day.
Andre Nicastro secured his first Florida Winter Tour victory in the ROK Master division (Photo: CanadianKartingNews.com)
A podium lockout for OTK USA products in VLR Junior saw Ernesto Rivera (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) on the top step of the podium after completely dominating the class, being first on the results page from qualifying to the Sunday Final, where he won by over six and a half seconds to Zanella Racing driver Leonardo Escorpioni (Tony Kart). Escorpioni qualified on Friday in second with Redspeed pilot Anthony Martella (Speed Concepts Racing) not far back. The two swapped placed throughout the weekend, with the Canadian of Martella ending his weekend in third.
Continuing OTK USA's dominate form in the Master categories in 2023, Sunday's result in ROK Master was no different, with OTK securing every spot in the top ten. Brazilian Andre Nicastro led the charge on Sunday and took the win on his Racing Edge Motorsports prepared Kosmic kart, with American William Isaias (International Motorsports / Tony Kart) and Japan's Takeharu Nakamori (Supertune USA / Tony Kart) making up the podium, with drivers representing three different continents. Alex Mueller (Tony Kart) finished just off the podium in fourth, and David Laplante (Premier Karting / Tony Kart) crossed the line in fifth, with the Canadian making it four different nationalities in the top five.
Blake Nash (Nash Motorsportz / EOS) led the charge for OTK USA drivers throughout the weekend in the ever-competitive ROK Senior category, being the fastest of the OTK drivers all event long. Nash kept the pressure on the front runners all weekend, and was able to come home with a solid second place finish on Sunday, alongside Iron Rock Motorsports driver Helio Meza (Tony Kart), who made it a double on the podium for OTK drivers. Further back and fighting through a difficult weekend to achieve a fifth-place finish, was the Kosmic pilot of Connor Zilisch (Racing Edge Motorsports)
Ernesto Rivera swept the Junior categories at Piquet Race Park, winning both VLR and ROK main events (Photo: CanadianKartingNews.com)
ROK Master Shifter started off strong for Tony Kart driver Daniel Dibos (International Motorsport) snatching pole by just two-thousandths of a second. Dibos dropped back to second in Heat 1 where he would stay for the remainder of the weekend, coming across the line in second for Sundays Final. Further back and just a few seconds away from a podium position was Alex Mueller (Tony Kart).
Alex dal Bon (LFB Racing / Tony Kart) scored a podium finish in the VLR Master category, after showing significant pace all weekend. dal Bon went fastest in qualifying on Friday and took the win all three heat races, and after a hard-fought 16 lap main event Sunday afternoon, took third 2.5 seconds back from the winner. Luis Quinones (LFB Racing / Kosmic) finished his weekend behind his teammate on track, just a few seconds away from the podium finisher in fourth.
In ROK Micro, Zayne Burgess (JC Karting / LN Kart) had a rough start to the weekend qualifying in 19th but made up places charging his way through the field in the Heat races. Starting 15th in the final, Burgess gained 11 spots during the race, and managed to get into a top-five position, ending an impressive weekend in fourth.
The ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour wraps up its 2023 season at the Orlando Kart Center on March 17-19 in Orlando, Florida. For more information about the series, head to www.rokcupusa.com for more information.
Drivers looking to compete with the most popular kart brand in the world or purchase OTK karts and components can contact their local OTK USA dealer. Head to www.otkusa.com for a complete list of dealers and details on the entire brand roster.