Kiwi karters Arie Hutton and Jacob Douglas are in the box seat after both claimed heat wins in their respective classes as this year’s ROK Cup Superfinal meeting in Italy overnight.
In doing so Hutton, 25, from Palmerston North, elevated himself to second place in the points in the Super ROK class, meaning he will start the Final (being held overnight tonight NZ time) alongside poleman Elliott Shaw from Great Britain on the front row of the grid at the Franciacorta Karting Track at Bargnana in Lombardy in Italy’s north.
Hutton’s win came in the third of three heat races for the Super ROK class on Friday, the multi-time NZ champion mastering the cool temperatures and changeable wet/drying track conditions to beat Shaw home by just 0.021 of a second.
Earlier in the day Hutton – who qualified fifth and finished the first Super ROK class race the day before in sixth place, improved to third place in his second heat race, crossing the finish line just 0.225 of a second behind winner Domenico Cicognini and just 0.112 of a second adrift of Shaw, who – just – held on to second place.
A penalty for a move at the start of his second qualifying heat, meanwhile, has disguised 15-year-old Christchurch driver Jacob Douglas’ true potential.
After qualifying 4th quickest and winning his first heat race on Thursday, Douglas went on to win both his heats on Friday, making him the only driver in the 57-strong Junior ROK field to win more than one heat.
However the start infringement penalty (10 seconds added to his race time) saw that win disallowed and he was relegated to P15.
He also endured a less than stellar start to his third heat, finding himself back in 5th place early on before charging back through the pack and claim his second heat win – albeit by a margin on just 0.057 of a second over local ace Manuel Scognamiglio! All eyes will now be on the young Kiwi to see if he can add a win in the A Final this year (to be held tonight NZ time) to his win in the Junior ROK B Final at last year’s Superfinal event