Experience wins out for Travisanutto in OK at the Winter Cup
Due to the new age regs, OK at Lonato was a battle between drivers like Theo Pourchaire and Dennis Hauger who may only have been out of Mini for a year, and more experienced drivers like Lorenzo Travisanutto.
OK pole for Pourchaire
The weather at Lonato was still favourable on Friday morning for the timed Qualifying of the Winter Cup which began with the OK category. Only a slight veil of high clouds slightly tarnished the brilliance of the blue sky.
Theo Pourchaire (Kosmic / Vortex) fought in the lead of the first session, first against his team-mate Karol Basz (Kosmic / Vortex), then David Vidales (Tony Kart / Vortex). The young Frenchman continued to improve until the last lap when he definitively outpaced his rivals with 47.343s, 2.5s faster than Vidales and Lorenzo Travisanutto (Zanardi / Parilla). Daniel Vebster (Kosmic / Vortex) finished 4th in front of Basz. Théo Nouet (Energy / Parilla) was in the top 10 by 0.4s.
In the second session, Dennis Hauger (CRG / Parilla) and Caio Collet (Birel ART / TM) first took 1st place, soon joined by Adam Eteki (Zanardi / Parilla). Noah Milell (Kosmic / Vortex) and Isac Blomqvist (Tony Kart / Vortex) then joined the fight. Hauger finished in front of Eteki, with Blomqvist 3rd ahead of Milell and Collet.
Pole position returned to Pourchaire ahead of Hauger, Vidales, Travisanutto and Vebster in the top five. Eteki was in an excellent 6th place followed by Basz.
Pourchaire still ahead after the heats
The Qualifying phases proved to be very tight between the protagonists of the OK category. Pourchaire started with two wins before securing a good 3rd place when he had a more difficult start in his last heat. This allowed him to retain the advantage over Travisanutto who benefited from the technical difficulties of Hauger in the last laps of their last race. Eteki made very solid progress which led him to 5th position behind Vidales and Basz.
The idea came from track owner Marco Corberi, driven by the desire to test an intermediate solution that is more equitable, and less brutal than the Repechage or two Prefinals.
On Sunday morning, two more heats would be run for the top 2×34 of each category. Unlike the previous qualifying heats, they would not be run in groups, but in the order of the intermediate standings established on Saturday night. The scale would be identical with 0 points to the winner, 2 pts to the 2nd, 3 pts to the 3rd, etc. These points will be added to those of the qualifying heats to determine both the 34 finalists and the starting order of the Final grid.
Hauger and Travisanutto win Super Heats in OK
Hauger finished strongly at the top of SH1, while Eteki kept 2nd place against Pourchaire, the leader at the start of the race. Rasmus Lindh (Ricciardo / Parilla) made a good comeback in 4th position with the fastest lap to overtake Clement Novalak (Tony Kart / Vortex) and Paavo Tonteri (Tony Kart / Vortex).
Basz quickly took 2nd place in SH2 behind Travisanutto while Vidales, Gianluca Petecof (Tony Kart / Vortex) and David Schumacher disappeared in a crash. Pedro Hiltbrand (Tony Kart / Vortex) returned to 2nd. Milell managed to pull out of the group in 4th place, with Sami Taoufik (FA Kart / Vortex) finishing 5th in front of his former team-mate Finlay Kenneally (Energy / Vortex).
Travisanutto led the OK category before the Final, followed by Pourchaire, Hauger and Eteki, then Basz and Hiltbrand on the third row.
Final victory for Travisanutto
The start of the OK Final favoured the inner line to the detriment of Pourchaire and Eteki. Hiltbrand and Collet crashed and gave up quickly. The solid leader Travisanutto was however threatened by Hauger who even passed him. The Italian fiercely defended, relegating the Norwegian to 4th position. Longtime 5th, and the holder of the fastest lap in the race, Eteki had to retire during a crash with Vidales. Basz was a possible contender for victory against Travisanutto, but Hauger managed to take 2nd place, while Pourchaire went back to 3rd place. Hauger did not find the opening in the last five laps and it was Travisnutto who won, with Pourchaire completing the podium. Kenneally climbed from 16th to 10th place, Taoufik did not finish the race, nor did Nouet who was forced to retire after an incident.