Qualifying practice and the initial heats have kicked off the 26th edition of the Winter Cup. Qualifying heats will continue on Saturday, while the final stages featuring Super Heats from local 10.55 and Finals from 14.00 will enjoy Live Streaming coverage on Sunday

Lonato del Garda (Brescia). The classic yearly appointment with the Winter Cup has started well at the South Garda Karting Circuit. The 26th edition of the race is underway in the weekend of November 12-14 2021 with the participation of the main international karting manufacturers and the most credited drivers. A total of 170 drivers entered the race from 40 different countries. Qualifying heats have started the event of Lonato that is open to the four categories KZ2, OK, OKJ and Mini Rok, where the first indications gave an initial taste of the challenge ahead among the very many big names present.

Giacomo Pollini is the quickest in KZ2.
In KZ2, the new European Champion Giacomo Pollini (NGM Motorsport/CRG-TM Racing-Vega) was the quickest of the first session in 45.678s. He was followed by former European Champion Fabian Federer (SRP Racing Team/Maranello-TM Racing-Vega), who was 0.029s shy of the leader, while former World Champion Pedro Hiltbrand (Leclerc by Lennox Racing/BirelART-TM Racing) is 0.075s from the top in P3. Other big names like BirelART’s Riccardo Longhi follow. Longhi is at 0.085s from the top, the Dutch Senna Van Walstijn (Sodikart/Sodi-TM Racing) at 0.099s and the Belgian Marijn Kremers at 0.130s. Former F1 driver Jaime Alguersuari (CRG/CRG-TM Racing) completed his fastest lap in 46.122s instead.

Karol Pasiewicz shines in OK, as the Japanese Nakamura makes his debut.
In OK the Pole Karol Pasiewicz (Ward Racing/Tony Kart-Vortex-Bridgestone) set the pole position time in 46.584s. He was followed by Singapore’s Akshay Bohra (KR Motorsport/KR-Iame) at 0.135s. The new OKJ World Champion Kean Nakamura-Berta (Forza Racing/Exprit-TM Racing) follows in third at 0.161s at his debut in OK. The Austrian Kiano Blum (TB Racing Team/KR-Iame) currently is 0.220s off the pace, while the Russian Artem Severiukhin (Ward Racing/Tony Kart-Vortex) is 0.231s shy of the top. The first of the Italians is Cristian Bertuca (BirelART/BirelART-TM Racing), who posted the sixth fastest time at 0.245s.

The Russian Popov chased by the Italian Pavan in OKJ.
A lot of candidates to the final win are challenging each other in OKJ and ended qualifying practice within a few thousands of a second. The Russian Maksimilian Popov (Ward Racing/Tony Kart-Vortex-Vega) completed a very good lap in 47.754s. He is followed by the Italian Sebastiano Pavan (Team Driver/KR-Iame) at just 0.029s, the recent winner of the Trofeo delle Industrie from Russia Kirill Dzitiev (Ward Racing/Tony Kart-Vortex) is 0.064s from the top, while the American  Luis James Egozi (Tony Kart Racing Team/Tony Kart-Vortex) follows at 0.066s and Singapore’s Dion Gowda (Ricky Flynn/Kosmic-Vortex) at 0.068s.

Mini Rok is very tight. Alfie Slater on pole. 
The fastest of the hard-fought Mini Rok was the Brit Alfie Slater (Energy Corse/Energy-Vortex-Levanto) in 54.321s, but the Italian Davide Bottaro (AV Racing/Parolin-Vortex) was only 0.049s shy of him. The Turkish Iskender Zulfikari (Team Driver/KR-Vortex) came to the fore ending 0.119s from the top, the Canadian Jensen Burnett (Energy Corse/Energy-Vortex) ended at 0.120s and the Brit Lewis Wherrell (Team Driver/KR-Vortex) at 0.164s.   

The results of the initial qualifying heats.
The best drivers of the initial qualifying heats follow:
KZ2: 1. Hiltbrand; 2. Van Walstijn; 3. Pollini; 4. Travisanutto; 5. Longhi.
OK: 1. Pasiewicz; 2. Nakamura; 3. Tsolov; 4. Bohra; 5. Severiukhin.
OKJ: 1. Egozi; 2. Antonov; 3. Kutskov; 4. Slater; 5. Popov.   
MINI ROK: 1. Bottaro; 2. Josseron; 3. Van Langendonck; 4. Burnett; 5. Sala.

The program.
The racing program will continue on Saturday, November 13th, with the remaining qualifying heats. Super Heats will take place on Sunday, November 14th, from local 10.55 and will be followed by all the finals – with Live TV Streaming from the website – at 14:00.
South Garda Karting

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