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February 18, 2013 News
Exciting 18th Winter Cup in Italy
 

Charles Leclerc took the top spot on the KZ2 podium in Italy
Charles Leclerc took the top spot on the KZ2 podium in Italy

This year's 18th edition of the famed Winter Cup of Lonato was particularly spectacular, as the race on the south Garda had a rather unexpected epilogue. There were almost 250 entrants coming from all around the world and, thanks to their performance, this classic event of the beginning of season was particularly exciting. All the top manufacturers and drivers took part in the event.

In the hard-fought KZ2 class, it was the Italian Paolo De Conto (Birel-Tm) who initially won after a rather wild final sprint, which was made absolutely thrilling by a slightly wet asphalt, the rain having started to fall during the last laps of the race. Charles Leclerc (Art GP-Tm) from Monaco was ultimately declared the winner, however, as at the end of the race De Conto was hit by a 5-second penalty because he was the responsible for a crash against Marco Ardigò (Tony Kart-Vortex) with two laps remaining, when the two, along Leclerc, Englishman Ben Hanley (Art GP-Tm), and Davide Forè (CRG-Maxter), were fighting for victory. So, the final ranking of KZ2 rewarded the two Art GP teammates Leclerc and Hanley who occupied the first two places, with Forè third after a good recovery over the Swedish Joel Johansson (Energy-Tm). After the crash, Ardigò managed to continue the race and placed fifth. De Conto, who until then had won almost everything - including the Pre-final-, was classified sixth. Arnaud Kozlinski (Birel-Tm) was seventh, before Antony Abbasse (Sodi-Tm), Andrea Dalè (CRG-Maxter), the Czech Patrick Hajek (Praga-Parilla). Several crashes characterized this final, such as the one which sent off the race leader Yannick De Brabander (Maranello-Tm), just when he had managed to reach the first positions after a good recovery; or the one which obliged Mirko Torsellini (Tony Kart-Vortex) to retire after he came in contact with Dalè.
 

Max Verstappen was atop the KF2 podium at Lonato
Max Verstappen was atop the KF2 podium at Lonato

In KF2 the superiority of the young Dutch driver Max Verstappen (CRG-Tm) in this Winter Cup was overwhelming, even though in the Pre-final he was obliged to leave the leadership - with few laps remaining - to the Danish Niklas Nielsen (Kosmic-Vortex). In the Final Verstappen had no troubles at all and won easily, thanks in part to the tussle behind him. With Verstappen always first, the runner-up fight featured Armand Convers (Kosmic-Vortex), who carried out an outstanding recovery starting from the second-chance heats (where he won) taking the spot. Third went to the Croatian Martin Kodric (FA Alonso-Vortex).

In KF3, everything went as expected after the first two racing days of the Winter Cup. So, it was no surprise when the Italian Alessio Lorandi (Tony Kart-Vortex) dominated the category and won the Final after winning the Pre-final and, earlier, the qualifying heats. In the Final, Lorandi preceded the Dutch Martijn Van Leewen (Zanardi-Parilla) and the English driver Dan Ticktum (FA Alonso-Vortex). David Beckmann (Zanardi-Bmb) achieved a good fourth place, preceding Lando Norris (FA Alonso-Vortex) and the French Gabriel Aubry (Birel-Tm). Alessio Lorandi's brother, Leonardo, at his debut in KF3, placed 12th after the second-chance heat.

Three Canadians competed in this year’s event, with all making the main events in their respective categories against some fierce competition. Zachary Claman DeMelo (CRG-Bmb) was the top driver in KF3 after the multiple heat races. His best result was a win in his fifth and final heat, but an 18th in the opening race cost him valuable points and placed him 13th in the heat classifications. Fellow countryman Lance Stroll (Zanardi-IAME) was 15th, with all top-10 finishes in his heat races. Both were outside the top-20 in the Pre-final. In the feature, Stroll was 22nd, while DeMelo ended 24th.

Canadian Parker Thompson (Energy-TM) had similar results in the KF3 heat races. Thompson was classified 17th after the qualifying heats, and earned direct spots into the Prefinal. Thompson unfortunately retired early. Thompson, much like seen at the Rotax Grand Finals in November, came from the back toward the front in the Final, as he went from 25th on the grid to end up eighth to earn the top finish of the North American squad.
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