24th Winter Cup
14 - 17 February 2019
Previously won by new Williams F1 driver George Russell, the 24th edition of the Winter Cup at Lonato was the starting point for Lorenzo Patrese’s Italian racing season. Competing in OKJ once again Lorenzo had a years’ experience to call on, and he had made a big step forward in his development after racing in the USA at the start of this year.
Preparations went well in the build up to Sunday with Lorenzo and the KR Motorsport team on the pace, but competition would obviously be tough with just 0.5s covering the top twenty racers during practice on the 1.2km track. In the qualifying heats on Saturday Lorenzo maintained his strong progress positioning himself firmly in the top ten.
With conditions dry and sunny on Sunday morning, and the warm up session complete, Lorenzo was in P6 on the grid for his super heat. Lining up two by two the drivers were ready for 15 laps of racing. Lorenzo lost ground in the early laps and found himself 10th in a tightly packed field but there was still time to make progress and get a good result. Then, contact at the final corner from Josep Marti Sobrepera dropped Lorenzo to the back of the field. He was able to continue, and posted sector times right on the pace of the leaders, but finished a very frustrated 29th.
Lorenzo’s combined results in the heats meant he would start the 18-lap final from 21st on the grid. Shadows were lengthening a little in the sunshine as the drivers took the start and Lorenzo immediately made up places crossing the line 17th at the end of the first lap. An incident among the leading pack caused some confusion and Lorenzo slipped back a couple of positions into a large midfield group. Further progress proved difficult but he passed Xizheng Huang for 18th with a few laps to go and was closing in on those ahead, setting his fastest times on the penultimate lap.