The Winter Cup, which is held at the start of the season on the circuit of Lonato (Italy), is always a much awaited event in the world of international karting, and this is especially true for this 17th edition, hosted a few weeks after the formalisation of new chassis homologations for 2012.
CRG and Maxter had the satisfaction of seeing their drivers fight at the front of the pack, a confirmation of all the good work done over the last few months. Thonon, Torsellini and Forè put in some great drives in KZ2 from timed qualifying to the final, Felice Tiene showed some impressive performance in KF2, while Alex Palou staged a superb recovery in KF3 on his first race with CRG and Maxter.
KZ2: Torsellini Achieves the Best Result
Drivers defending CRG-Maxter colours had the opportunity to put the extraordinary competitiveness of their karts to the test starting from timed qualifying. After numerous successes achieved over the last few years and a renewed partnership with Tec-Sav, victory was again the order of the day on the circuit near the Lake of Garda. Jonathan Thonon won two heats out of three, Davide Forè conquered a victory ahead of his team mate Fabian Federer, while Mirko Torsellini secured a 6th place in qualifying. During Sunday morning's warm-up in the rain and the pre-final in dry weather, Thonon took the measure of his competitors. There was some intense fight in the pack during the final race, but unfortunately it did not turn in CRG drivers' favour. Thonon was inflicted a penalty at the start, Federer (who set the fastest lap in the pre-final) concluded with a 12th place after a few accidents during the race, while Torsellini secured an encouraging 4th place in this hard-fought race.
KF2: Tiene Takes Leap Forward
Felice Tiene had a weekend in constant progression behind the wheel of his CRG-Maxter. But despite his second place in a heat and the fastest lap time in another, he lost precious points after retiring once and ended up 20th on the pre-final grid. He recovered five places in the pre-final and continued his offensive up to 7th. The CRG-Maxter driven by Tiene will be certainly among the protagonists of 2012, together with that of his team mate Jordon Lennox-Lamb, who however was not as successful as expected in Lonato during the final phase.
KF3: + 71 Places for Palou!
It is never easy to start with a new team and Alex Palou became fully aware of it after the timed qualifying session, when he finished a distant 83rd place! But with his team CRG-Maxter, the young Spaniard found the right reaction! First of all by regaining ground in each heat, and then by winning the repechage race. Once he had the qualification in his pocket, he focussed on his progression, by moving up from 15th in the pre-final to 12th in the final. "This last race was a bit crazy", Alex confessed. "Drivers in the pack were very aggressive, but little by little I managed to gain a few places and began to set times comparable to those of the leaders. Of course the ideal thing would have been to do better in timed qualifying, because considering my level of performance, I could have achieved something more".
Performances staged by Luke Varley in KF2, and by the US driver Santino Ferrucci and the Brazilian Baptista Vitor in KF3, are also worth mentioning. On his first race in Europe, the latter showed great determination and almost achieved the qualification during repechage. Drivers representing LH, a make manufactured by the Tinini Group, also showed excellent performances, in particular with Tom Joyner's 4th place in KF2.