The 23rd Winter Cup proved to be exciting and dramatic as ever with 70 drivers battling for glory over the weekend in the OK class. Featured in the grid were seven British drivers, three of which managed to finish inside the top ten. Oliver Hodgson had a particularly good run finishing in 4th place, Jonny Edgar continued his impressive progress in the senior class with 8th place whilst Callum Bradshaw recovered from 23rd early on to take 10th.
For the majority of the weekend it looked like Lorenzo Travisanutto was going to be impossible to beat! The Italian breezed to pole position and went on to take all three of his heat wins with a combined margin of over eight seconds. But as the weather changed for finals day the Kart Republic drivers luck quickly began to fade.
He got off to a poor start in his super heat and was beaten to the flag by Nicklas Nielsen. Things got worse for Travisanutto who also received a ten second penalty, along with Nielsen, gifting the victory to David Vidales with Pedro Hiltbrand 2nd. There was good news as far as Great Britain was concerned in super heat two with Oliver Hodgson and Jonny Edgar following Hannes Janker home to take top three finishes.
With the track still damp the final saw several drivers becoming victims of the tricky conditions. The mission for all drivers was now to stay on the track whilst the brand new slick tyres were scrubbed in. Clearly the most comfortable driver in the early stages was Nielsen who built up a decent lead. Janker was in chase and piled on the pressure for a number of laps before finally passing on lap 15.
From there Nielsen simply had no response and Janker went on to take his second win of the season with Nielsen on the podium once again. Pedro Hiltbrand seems to be back at his best and made up the podium whilst Travisnattuo ended his weekend with another penalty and 7th place.
This was Oliver’s first time back at the Winter Cup since 2015 and results wise there was no difference between the two. Oliver was 4th in the KF class in 2015 and was 4th again this year although he was a lot closer to a podium this time around! Starting 9th in the final Oliver did a good job to climb up five places and challenge former European and World Champion, Pedro Hiltbrand, for the final podium spot. It’s hopefully the start of a re-emergence in the WSK/CIK-FIA circus after his success in 2016/17 both in the UK and at the IAME International Final.
Jonny Edgar continues to impress everyone with how quick he has adapted to the OK class taking yet another top ten finish in 2018. The Forza Racing driver was in the top ten all weekend threatening a top five finish, but fell just short in the final with 8th place. It was an 8th place that came in tricky conditions which couldn’t have been easy for a Junior graduate. The Red Bull Junior certainly has a big future ahead if he continues as he is.
Callum has been showing tremendous pace in 2018 but has yet to have any luck come his way. His weekend started brilliantly as he qualified 9th and ended Friday with 3rd place in his first heat. The remaining heats saw Callum encounter problems which saw him end the heats with 6th and a disappointing 21st. Another penalty in his super heat saw him down in 17th on the road and 18th on the grid for the final. However, in tricky conditions Callum did a good job to recover from 23rd early in the race to steal a top ten finish.
Similar to his Forza Racing teammate, Jonny Edgar, Dexter Patterson had a very consistent weekend knocking on the door of the top ten positions. The young Scot continued his impressive form with 13th in qualifying which is where he’d remain after the heats were completed. A super heat still couldn’t change his position and Dexter then saved the best till last with 12th in the final.
Tom was the last of the British drivers to qualify for the A final as he continues his progress on the Sodi chassis. His weekend got off to a difficult start, 20th in qualifying was quickly followed with 23rd in his opening heat but two top ten finishes in the remaining two heats quickly pulled Tom back into contention. A strong super heat left the Brit with a good chance of a top ten finish, but he was unfortunately involved in an incident in the final whilst battling for 12th place leaving him watching the seven laps.
It was a surprise to see Harry appear on the senior grid for the winter cup, but a pleasant one at that. His first experience in the class was certainly a tough one! Problems in qualifying left him down in 66th and with a huge fight on his hands to make the final. One DNF in the heats didn’t help his case and dropped him from a potential 29th in the standings to 43rd. However, in super heat one Harry drove a fantastic race to climb from 22nd on the grid to 8th in just 15 laps. It unfortunately left him one point away from the final, but was a performance to be proud of.
For Chris Lulham his weekend would end on Friday evening unfortunately. The young Brit had a solid start to the weekend with 23rd in qualifying, just behind the afore mentioned Hodgson! But a collision in heat one left Chris unable to take part in any further races throughout the weekend. A real shame for the Forza Racing driver, but he’ll be back fighting fit at the WSK Super Master Series Round Two, next weekend!
It was good to see Archie back at the Winter Cup. It’s an event he often goes to although the weight changes to the OK class have affected him over recent years given his height. Having been out of the seat for a while I doubt Archie went in with high expectations, but he would have been disappointed to hit the problems he did over the weekend which ultimately resulted in him watching the final from the side-lines.
Written by Chris McCarthy
Images by Alex Vernardis / The RaceBox & Sportinphoto