Eight Australians will be taking on the best in the world at the Rok International Cup, due to be held at the South Garda International Circuit in Italy this weekend.
Last year saw Scott Sorensen start his final on the front row and Broc Feeney make the podium, and this year’s team is another strong representation.
Leading the Australian team will be Tasmanian Lochie Dalton – who earned his berth in the Rok International Cup by virtue of his Australian KA1 (Vortex DVS-SV) Championship win. He will line up in the Super-Rok category among some of the best in the world.
“It’s my first international event, so I’m looking forward to seeing how I go over there,” said Dalton. “My aim is to finish inside the top 10, but we’ll certainly be doing our best to be right up there.”
Australian Junior star – James Wharton – will be Australia’s lead driver in the 100-strong Junior Rok field. He’ll be joined by Christian Mansell who has been competing in both the European OK Junior and Rotax Challenge this year.
Both Wharton and Mansell have raced at South Garda before, but in the OK Junior category, not the Rok category they’ll be in this weekend.
“I finished 12th in the Rok Cup last year, but the aim this year is to win,” said Wharton – who recently won the final round of the European Rotax Challenge. “Having said that it is going to be difficult, as it is a World Championship field out there, but I feel now with my experience internationally, we can be in the mix.”
It will be Mansell’s first event with the Rok Engine.
“We have a bit to learn with the engine and tyres, but having raced at the track earlier this year, we go there with some knowledge,” said Mansell. “With our international racing program the aim is to continue to build, gain more experience and move forward.”
The biggest contingent for Australia will come in the Mini Rok category – as indeed it will for the event with five Australians forming part of a total of 152 competitors in the Under-12 age group that will converge on Lonato.
The Australian charge will be headed by Marcos Flack who earned his position at the event after finishing second in the Australian Championship and earlier this year, he raced Mini Rok in the WSK Series’. He will be joined by South Australia’s Jimmy Piszcyk who won his and EVO Kart’s first rounds of the Australian Championship on his way to third overall.
Flack is excited by what lies in prospect:
“I’ve been working hard all year on physical fitness, both in race trim and overall general health,” said Flack. “The preparation for the event has been fantastic and I’ve raced all year with the package I’ll be racing with in Italy. We’ll be on home turf for Rok and Energy Corse and we know the products well – our aim certainly would be to try and win this time around.”
This will be Pisczyk’s first attempt at an international event.
“I’m hoping to make the final and then give it a shot to finish as high as I can,” said the young South Aussie.
“I’m looking forward to the different competition and driving styles, and keen to gain the experience from doing something different.”
Scuderia PCR driver, Cody Maynes-Rutty will be joined by Joe Fawcett – who was right at the front of the Australian Championships in 2018, while Karting Australia’s SP Tools Junior Sprockets graduate, Cadel Ambrose will be the fifth member of a strong Mini Rok representation.
Australian importer of the Vortex Rok Engines, Paul Feeney praised the drivers that have entered and those who earned their position through the SP Tools Australian Kart Championship.
“It is a very strong team from Australia that will be in Lonato this year,” said Feeney.
“Lochie Dalton came out of the blocks firing from the start in KA1 this season, while James Wharton has become incredibly accustomed to the European style of racing – his performance in the World Championships recently where he matched times with the front-runners proof of this.
“The toughest races in Australian karting are in Cadet 12 and we are fortunate to have five of our best in the Mini-Rok category at Lonato.
All the action from the Rok International Final can be followed at http://www.vortex-rok.com/intcup-home_eng.php – including live results and live video stream from October 10-13.