Josh Irfan shows impressive pace at Winter Cup

February 19, 2020

Karting

The Winter Cup is annually known as the official start to the Karting season. Held at the famous Lonato circuit in Italy, this would be the 25th running of the event which has been won by the likes of Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Daniil Kvyat and George Russell in recent years. Josh would race in the OK Junior class for the first time at the event having graduated from the Mini Rok class this year.

With the Ricky Flynn Motorsport team, Josh was racing with a team who have a number of wins and podiums at the event. However, this was just his third race in the class after the WSK Champions Cup and Super Master Series season opener.

Unsurprisingly the event drew in huge numbers Worldwide with 84 drivers coming from across the globe to compete for top prize. Josh got the weekend off to a good start with free practice on Thursday finishing in the top ten in his group in every session, ending particularly well with a 3rd place in the final session.

Friday would start with qualifying practice and once again Josh was flying finishing 3rd in his group which would leave him 12th overall when the times from the 84 drivers were put together. This would give Josh a row three start for all four of his heats with three of those being starts on the inside of the grid.

Having out qualified his experience by a long way Josh found himself surrounded by drivers with years of racing on him. That often saw him caught up in fierce battles for the top ten with drivers often refusing to try and work with Brit, but rather than tumbling down the order Josh got his elbows out and held his own!

After an explosive start to racing in heat one, which saw Josh finish 10th, he would go on to take two 6th place finishes and an 8th. It was an impressive result given the experience that surrounded him and it was Josh most certainly proving that he is very quickly getting to the winning form he showed in the Cadet classes.

The results left Josh 16th overall which would put him 8th on the grid for the super heat. A final chance for drivers to score points before the final grid was set where only 34 drivers would go through.

With Josh, comfortably in the final at this stage all he needed to do was stay out of trouble. The chances of him making a big step forward on the grid were small so he drove a sensible race to hold station and finish 8th which would put him 14th on the grid for the final.

The main event would prove to be a hard-fought race. Starting in the midfield Josh was caught in a scrappy fight for the top ten with drivers refusing to try and work with each other despite the number of laps ahead. As he did his best to hold position after the start, Josh was find himself pick up a nose cone penalty which would cost him at the end of the race with his 18th place finish turning into a 23rd.

Running as high as 12th early on was a huge positive for Josh, but the early phases of the race would prove to be tricky which would drop Josh down the lower end of the midfield. Pace wise, Josh matched the drivers in the podium positons and that was a result that Josh could take away from the event knowing that a better qualifying position would have seen him fighting for a trophy.

The result may not have been what Josh was hoping for, but it was further steps forward made from the eleven-year-old who his still very early into his OK Junior career.

Josh will return to the Lonato circuit this weekend for round two of the WSK Super Master Series where he currently sits 13th in the standings.