The top Kiwi finisher at last weekend’s ROK Cup International event in Italy, young Christchurch karter Jacob Douglas, will stay on in Italy to contest the three round WSK Final Cup series, after getting the call up from the team he has run with for the past two weekends, Lennox Racing.
Two-time New Zealand Vortex Mini ROK class champion Douglas, 13, was due to return home with father Craig Douglas this weekend and chase South Island Island Junior Rotax and Yamaha titles at this year’s South Island Sprint championships meeting in Invercargill.
But after setting the fourth quickest qualifying time (out of 143 starters), winning a heat and running as high as 6th (before crossing the finish line in 10th but classified 15th) in the Mini ROK Final, team boss (and 2012 KZ2 Super Cup title winner) Jordon Lennox-Lamb, prevailed upon Craig to let Jacob stay in Italy.
“I initially said no,” said Craig, who only arrived back home in Christchurch on Tuesday afternoon. “But that was more because Jacob and I already had a programme pretty much planned out for the next month or so. We were going to come home, do the South Islands, then start planning for the SKUSA SuperNats meeting in Las Vegas which we went to – and thoroughly enjoyed – last year.
“Jordon kept coming back to me over the weekend though and telling me how well Jacob was going and how he thought he would respond well to staying on and doing the WSK Final Cup meetings. Jacob was obviously keen, and when my wife Rowena reckoned it was an opportunity we couldn’t turn down we agreed he could stay.”
As part of the deal with Lennox, who runs the works Exprit squad, Douglas will contest the 60 Mini class at the three-round WSK Final Cup series. The 60 Mini class is a CIK-FIA-recognised Junior category using the same basic chassis and engine package the young Kiwi ran at the Vortex-based ROK Cup International event, but the Vortex engine will run in a slightly higher state of tune.
Douglas will be part of a 90-strong Mini 60 field at this weekend’s opening series round and should hit the ground running. The round is being held at the South Garda Karting track where he has been competing amongst some of the world’s best drivers in his age-group for the past two weekends.
He won’t be the only Kiwi competing at the event either. Fellow ROK Cup International Mini ROK class driver Kaden Probst – currently on an extended trip to Europe with his family – has also signed up for the WSK’s Final Cup series and will join Douglas in the Mini 60 class this weekend driving a TM-engined Parolin kart for the Black kart team