Australian cadet driver William Calleja enjoyed a win at the third round of the Italian Championship at the Val Vibrata circuit on the weekend. Competing in the Mini class with Babyrace Driver Academy, the Parolin/IAME driver qualified 7th in the 52-kart field.
Ranked sixth after the heats, Calleja had an awesome Final 1, coming home P1. He backed this up with third in Final 2 (and fastest lap) but was dropped to 10th after a penalty.
In Mini Under 10, Sebastian Eskandari-Marandi (Tony Kart Racing Team, Tony Kart/Vortex) spent the event playing catch up after not setting a time in qualifying. A seventh and eleventh (both from the back!) moved him to 14th overall. The Queenslander continued to march forward in Final 1, taking 7th, but dropped to 11th in Final 2.
- full results are HERE
The ACI Sport press release for the event is below.
The victories in Val Vibrata went to Bertuca and Irlando in KZ2, Gorski and Pietrantonio in MINI U10, Calleja and Baglin in MINI Gr3, Gryc and Rocchio in OK-NJ, while Albanese claimed a double win in OK-N.
The third round of the Italian ACI Karting Championship at the Val Vibrata Circuit proved to be quite exciting in all categories, with 210 drivers present out of the 221 entered, providing excellent entertainment. From the powerful KZ2 to the two junior categories MINI Gr.3 and Under 10, and the two new OK-N and OK-N Junior categories with their 74 drivers, the competitiveness of the Italian series was raised to a new level.
The Val Vibrata weekend was made even more challenging by the intense heat that characterized this third event of the series. It made the competition tougher for all drivers and those involved, but the on-track spectacle was truly remarkable, with many standout performers.
KZ2 – Bertuca wins race1, Irlando race2
It was a fiercely contested final in race 1 for the KZ2 category, where a great performance by Cristian Bertuca (#105 LG Motorsport/BirelART-TM Kart-MG) saw him withstand the attacks of his competitors and secure a spectacular and hard-fought victory. Behind the Italian driver, who also claimed first place among the Under 18 drivers, a determined and fast Maksim Orlov (#149 Modena Kart/Parolin-TM Kart) finished in second place. Orlov had already shown his talent in the heats and engaged in a thrilling battle with Bertuca in the final. In third place, another top performer of the Val Vibrata weekend, former European champion Alex Irlando (#114 Drago Corse/Drago-TM Kart), deservedly earned a spot on the podium. In the other top positions, championship leader Daniel Vasile (#145 KCS/BirelART-TM Kart) had to settle for fourth place, ahead of the young Matteo Spirgel (Renda Motorsport/Sodi-TM Kart) who made an impressive comeback, gaining six positions.
In race 2, it was Alex Irlando who took the spotlight, securing the victory, with Cristian Bertuca making a comeback to finish in second place ahead of his teammate Daniel Vasile. Bertuca also reclaimed first place in the Under 18 category. Matteo Spirgel finished fourth, followed by Alessio Piccini (#107 TribeOne/BirelART-TM Kart) and Maksim Orlov.
Bertuca regained the lead in the championship with 188 points, Vasile is in second place with 157 points, and Irlando is in third place with 143 points.
MINI Gr.3 Under 10 – Gorski and Di Pietrantonio win the two finals.
A fierce battle characterized the first final of the MINI Gr.3 Under 10 category, where the Polish driver Leonardo Gorski (#218 BabyRace/Parolin-Iame-MG) emerged victorious after a comeback of eight positions. He finished ahead of two other key players, the Portuguese driver Lazaro Xavier (#228 DR/DR-TM Kart) who made a comeback of 5 positions, and the Spanish driver Daniel Miron Lorente (#289 Team Driver/KR-Iame) who also climbed seven positions. The Italian Lorenzo Di Pietrantonio, making his debut with BabyRace, had to settle for fourth place after leading the race. Fifth place went to Edoardo Colucci (#210 CMT/Parolin-Iame) and sixth to Alessandro Nanni (#236 AVRacing/Parolin-Iame). However, in race 2, Lorenzo Di Pietrantonio (#215 BabyRace/Parolin-Iame) claimed the victory, followed by the Spanish driver Daniel Miron Lorente in second place and Edoardo Colucci in third.
In the Italian Championship: 1. Gorski points 163; 2. Perico 107; 3. Truchot 90.
MINI GR.3 – Calleja takes race1, Baglin race2.
There was a great comeback in MINI Gr.3 as well, with the Australian driver William Calleja (#10 BabyRace/Parolin-Iame) finishing with a comfortable lead over the Spanish driver Bosco Arias Chavarri (#3 Team Driver/KR-Iame), while the Turkish driver Iskender Zulfikari, Calleja’s teammate, took third place after being in the fight for the win. In the other positions, poleman Noah Baglin (#21 iKart/KR-Iame) finished fourth, Pietro Bagutti (#58 Gamoto/EKS-TM Kart) fifth and Michele Orlando (#78 IPK Official Team/IPK-TM Kart) sixth. In race 2, Noah Baglin emerged victorious, with Bosco Arias Chavarri once again taking second place, while William Calleja made a comeback to secure third place and a spot on the podium, but is penalized. Third is the Spanish Nicola Stanley (#43 Gamoto/EKS-TM Kart).
In the Italian Championship: 1. Baglin points 169; 2. Zulfikari 136; 3. Calleja 128.
OK-N Junior – Gryc wins race1, Rocchio bounces back in race2.
OK-N Junior offered a series of surprises, such as the disappointment of the two Gamoto Team drivers who were expected to perform well. Nikita Nikishov, who was the best in the heats, only managed to finish ninth in the first final, while poleman Vladimir Ivannikov was out of the race in the first lap. The victory in this category went to the American driver Asher Ochstein (#342 CRG Racing Team/CRG-TM Kart) after a remarkable comeback, but he received a 5s time penalty, dropping to ninth place. Therefore, it was the Polish driver Bruno Gryc (#315 MLG Racing/Parolin-TM Kart) who claimed the victory ahead of Italian Giovanni Toso (#334 NGM Motorsport/Kalì Kart-TM Kart) and another Italian, Cristian Tonalini (#347 Tonalini/Tony Kart-TM Kart). The Dutch driver Dean Hoogendoorn, making his debut with the AKM Motorsport team of Antonelli, finished fourth. The championship leader, Gino Rocchio (#339 DR/DR-Modena Engines), showed a strong recovery and finished fifth. However, Rocchio redeemed himself in race 2 by taking the victory, with Giovanni Toso securing another solid second-place finish and Cristian Tonalini returning to the podium in third place.
In the Italian Championship: 1. Rocchio 155; 2. Gryc 138; 3. Toso 114.
OK-N – Federico Albanese takes it all.
The OK-N category was dominated by Federico Albanese (#439 Italcorse/Italcorse-TM Kart-Vega), who secured pole position in qualifying, won the heats, and claimed an undisputed victory in the first of the two finals. Francesco Marenghi (#414 Modena Kart/Parolin-TM Kart), the championship leader, had a good performance, finishing in second place, ahead of the Polish driver Grzwacz Bartosz (#402 KGT Motorsport/Tony Kart-Vortex) who made a comeback. Antonio Apicella (#416 Team Driver/Kosmic-TM Kart) finished in a solid fourth position, followed by Luca Liberati (#413 Spino Project/KR-Modena Engines) and Niccolò Coppotelli (#405 KGT Motorsport/Tony Kart-Vortex). In race 2, Grzwacz Bartosz put on a great performance and crossed the finish line in first place, but he was penalized with a 5-second penalty for a misplaced spoiler. Federico Albanese, who made a remarkable comeback due to the reverse grid, secured second place, and with Bartosz’s penalty, celebrated his second victory. Bartosz slipped to second place, while Antonio Apicella finished third and secured a spot on the podium.
In the Italian Championship: 1. Albanese punti 169; 2. Marenghi 157; 3. Bartosz 153.
Demonstration for the youngsters of Baby Kart.
The event in Val Vibrata also featured a practical demonstration on the track for the Pre-agonistic category, which is for the youngest drivers aged 6 to 8 years old.
The next rounds of the Italian ACI Karting 2023 Championship:
- 4th round – August 27 – Circuito Internazionale Napoli, Sarno (Salerno)
MINI Gr.3, OK-N, OK-N Junior, KZ2, KZN
- 5th round – September 24 – Franciacorta Karting Track, Castrezzato (Brescia).
MINI Gr.3, OK-N, OK-N Junior, KZ2, OK, OKJ