William Calleja was top placed Australian at the WSK Champions Cup at Lonato on the weekend. Calleja put in a strong comeback after qualifying 20th in the Mini class to eventually place fifth in the final.
“A weekend to show what I’m capable of” he wrote on social media. “After getting the fastest lap in basically every session of the weekend, I was able to make up 10 positions in the final to finish in P5. So close to the podium but not quite there… I will keep pushing.”
The Pocket Rocket Brothers (Koda and Oscar Singh) contested the Mini class, Koda taking 12th in the “Under 10” division.
Xavier Avramides raced in OK with the Leclerc team but missed qualifying for the final by just three positions.
A wrap of the results for the Australians is below, followed by the official WSK report and photos from Italy.
William Calleja (Mini – Parolin Motorsport/Parolin/TM)
Q: 20 (of 71). Heats: 12, 15, 14, 8. Pre-Final B: 5. Ranking: 15. Final: 5th.
Oscar Singh (Mini – Babyrace Driver Academy/Parolin/IAME)
Q: 48 (of 71). Heats: 26, 22, 33, 23. Pre-Final B: 13. Ranking: Ranking: 45. Final: DNQ.
Koda Singh (Mini Under 10 – Babyrace Driver Academy/Parolin/IAME)
Q: 20 (of 40). Heats: 13, 15, 17. Pre-Final B: 7. Ranking: 16. Final: 12th.
Xavier Avramides (OK – Leclerc by Lennox/Birel/TM)
Q: 29 (of 41). Heats: 22, 20, 19. Pre-Final A: 21 (DNF). Ranking: 39. Final: DNQ
(Scroll down for report and photos)
Official WSK report
The WSK Champions Cup has kicked off the international season
Several good Finals at the tenth edition of the WSK Champions Cup that opened WSK season 2023.
WSK Promotion’s events got off to a spectacular start to the 2023 season with the tenth edition of the WSK Champions Cup, the first race of the year held at South Garda Karting in Lonato. A decidedly positive start to the international karting season, both for the important participation, with over 320 drivers from 51 countries, and for the high level of sporting and technical competition.
Starting with the traditional categories MINI, OKJ, OK, and KZ2, the 2023 edition of the WSK Champions Cup also saw the entry of the two single-make categories: X30 Junior and Senior. Among the innovations was also the splitting of the smallest category, MINI, which due to the great success of participants was divided by age groups, from 8 to 10 years and from 10 to 12 years.
After the qualifying heats and the Prefinals, the highly anticipated Finals were won by Cristian Bertuca (KZ2), David Walther (OK), Lewis Wherrell (OKJ), Iskender Zulfikari (MINI Gr3 sub judice), Oleksandr Legenkyi (MINI Gr.3 Under 10), Riccardo Ferrari (X30 Junior) and Brando Pozzi (X30 Senior).
The drivers to the fore in the Prefinals
The Prefinals held on Saturday had these winners:
MINI Gr.3: Prefinal-A was won by the Chinese Zeyu Shen (AV Racing/Parolin-TM-Vega), Prefinal-B by the Brit Noah Baglin (IKart/KR-Iame-Vega);
MINI Gr.3 Under 10: Prefinal-A went to Ukraine’s Oleksandr Legenkyi (Team Driver/KR-Iame-Vega), Prefinal-B to the Pole Antoni Ociepa (Gold Kart/Righetti Ridolfi-Iame-Vega).
OK-Junior: Prefinal-A went Lewis Wherrel’s ways (Forza Racing/Exprit-TM-Vega), Prefinal-B to the Ukrainian Oleksandr Bondarev (KR Motorsport/KR-Iame-Vega);
The winners of the Prefinals held on Sunday morning:
X30 Junior: the Prefinal was won by Angola’s Lorenzo Campos (Team Driver/Tony Kart-Iame-Vega);
X30 Senior: Prefinal-A to the Italian Brando Pozzi (M2 Racing/Tony Kart-Iame-MG), Prefinal-B to the Brit Luca Griggs (Falcon/Falcon-Iame-MG);
KZ2: Prefinal-A was won by the British driver Freddie Slater (BirelArt Racing/BirelArt-TM-Vega), Prefinal-B by the Frenchman Adrien Renaudin (DR/DR-Modena Engines-Vega);
OK: Prefinal-A went to Dmitry Matveev (KR Motorsport/KR-Iame-LeCont), Prefinal-B to the Dane David Walter (Koski Motorsport/Tony Kart-Vortex-LeCont).
KZ2 – Bertuca Triumphs
The KZ2 Final saw the triumph of the Italian Cristian Bertuca (BirelART-TM-Vega) who took the lead from the second row with a quick start and then was in command for all 21 laps of the race. His teammate, the Englishman Freddie Slater, lost positions at the start from pole position, but then gained ground in the final part to reach second place with the fastest lap of the race. Excellent third place for the Ukrainian driver Viacheslav Putiatin (LA Motorsport/Palcon-TM). The French driver Matteo Spirgel (CPB Sport/Sodi-TM) was fourth, while the German Paul Maximilian (DR/DR-Modena Engines) was fifth after a great comeback.
1 Cristian Bertuca (ITA)
2 Freddie Slater (GBR)
3 Viacheslav Putiatin (UKR)
OK – Walther wins the Final
Several protagonists challenged each other in OK, but in the end the Danish driver David Walther (Koski Motorsport/Tony Kart-Vortex-LeCont), winner of Prefinal-B, secured the victory in the Final. He took the lead shortly after the halfway point of the race. At the start, the winner of Prefinal-A Dmitry Matveev (KR Motorsport/KR-Iame) took the lead, but his race stopped at the fifth lap due to a technical problem. The command then passed into the hands of the Hungarian driver Martin Molnar (Energy Corse/Energy-TM), who however could not match Walther’s winning pace and had to settle for second place.
Molnar finished ahead of his teammate, the Latvian driver Tomass Stolcermanis. The fourth place went to the Austrian driver Kiano Blum (DPK/KR-Iame), and the fifth to the Czech driver Miroslav Mikes (Mikes Premy/MS-Iame) after a great comeback.
1 David Walter (DNK)
2 Martin Molnar (HUN)
3 Tomass Stolcermanis (LVA)
OK-Junior – Werrell is unstoppable
In the final, the English driver Lewis Wherrell of Forza Racing/Exprit-TM-Vega was relentless, leading the race throughout and cruising to victory after also winning the Prefinal. In the final, Wherrell was followed by the Austrian driver Niklas Schaufler of DPK/KR-Iasme who had managed to secure second place after a great comeback, and the German driver Taym Saleh of Sauber Academy/KR-Iame, who also made a comeback.
The Spanish driver Luna Fluxa Cross of KR Motorsport/KR-Iame also run a great race, finishing fourth after a recovery, while the Italian driver Filippo Sala of Sodikart/Sodi-TM crossed the finish line in fifth.
1 Lewis Wherrell (GBR)
2 Niklas Schaufler (AUT)
3 Taym Saleh (BEL)
MINI Gr.3 – Zulfikari is excluded, but the classification is sub-judice
The MINI Gr.3 final was quite lively, with the race lead passing to the Turk Iskender Zulfikari (BabyRace/Parolin-Iame-Vega) after an initial dominance by the Dutchman Dean Hoogendoorn (Kidix/Alonso-Iame). However, the post-race offered surprises with the exclusion of the winner Zulfikari for unsportsmanlike conduct. His team has filed an appeal though and the classification is sub judice. At the finish line, Iskender Zulfikari finished ahead of Vladimir Ivannikov (Gamoto/EKS-TM) and the Romanian Bogdan Cosma Cristofor (Team Driver/KR-Iame), with his teammate Ilia Berezkin in fourth place.
The Australian William Calleja (Parolin Motorsport/Parolin-TM) finished fifth after a great recovery, and the American Keelan Harvick (BabyRace/Parolin-Iame) finished sixth. Hoogendoorn closed his effort in seventh.
1 Iskender Zulfikari (TUR)
2 Vladimir Ivannikov (ITA)
3 Bogdan Cosma Cristofor (ROU)
MINI Gr.3 Under 10 – Legenkyi dominates the Final
The Ukrainian Oleksandr Legenkyi (Team Driver/KR-Iame-Vega) lost the lead of the race for only one lap, then he regained it and kept it until the end of the race. The Polish Leonardo Gorski (BabyRace/Parolin-Iame) tried to surprise Legenkyi by conquering the first position for a moment, but then he finished third, overtaken also by the Belgian Antoine Sylva Venant (Kidix/KR-Iame) who closed in second place. A nice race was also completed by the Italian Lorenzo Leopardi (LGK/BirelArt-TM), who placed fourth, in front of the Swiss Albert Tamm (BabyRace/Parolin-Iame).
1 Oleksandr Legenkyi (UKR)
2 Antoine Sylva Venant (BEL)
3 Leonardo Gorski (POL)
X30 Junior – Ferrari takes the Final
In the X30 Junior category, the Italian driver Riccardo Ferrari (Zanchi Motorsport/Tony Kart-Iame-MG) secured the final victory in the last laps after a duel with the Swiss driver Tiziano Kuzhnini (Team Driver/Tony Kart-Iame) and his teammate, the Angolan Lorenzo Campos, who had won the Prefinal. The Dutch driver Sacha Van’t Pad Bosch (Martinis/Red Speed-Iame) was handed a 5s time penalty and classified sixth after crossing the finish line in second place. He was preceded by his two teammates, the Dutch driver Rocco Coronel and the French driver Clovis Nougueyrede.
1 Riccardo Ferrari (ITA)
2 Tiziano Kuzhnini (CHE)
3 Lorenzo Campos (AGO)
X30 Senior – Pozzi dominates
After winning the Prefinal-A, the Italian driver Brando Pozzi (M2 Racing/Tony Kart-Iame-MG) also won the Final after an initial struggle with French driver Pacome Weisenburger (Martins/Red Speed-Iame), who finished fifth. The other Italian Federico Rossi (PRK/Tony Kart-Iame) managed to take second place at the end of a nice recovery, while the Belgian Elie Goldstein (TBKart/TBKart-Iame) ended third and Andrea Giudice (Marra61/Tony Kart-Iame) fourth.
1 Brando Pozzi (ITA)
2 Federico Rossi (ITA)
3 Elie Goldstein (BEL)
The next round: February1-5, the opening round of the WSK Super Master Series, also at the South Garda Karting circuit in Lonato.