Martin Molnár was in the lead throughout the 27th Winter Cup in Lonato and in the OK Final he battled among the top 3 drivers and overtook his two main rivals to open the 2023 karting season with a victory. The event in Lonato, Italy, was only the third time the 14-year-old has competed in OK Class. 

On the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Hungarian National Anthem, it was Martin Molnár who was honoured to listen to it in Lonato after winning the OK Class Final of the 27th Winter Cup karting competition. The 14-year-old Energy Corse driver scored several podium finishes in the OK Junior field last year and started the year with a victory only in his third race in this category.

The HUMDA Academy-supported driver battled at the front of the field from the start of the weekend: he always finished in the top three in the Manches with one exception. After his fourth place in Sunday’s Super Heat, he was in third position for the start of the Final. He took it well, turning into the second corner ahead of second-placed Dmitry Matveev.

The race was a constant battling among Ean Eyckmans, Matveev and Martin Molnár. The Hungarian driver started the 20th lap in third place, then performed a sensational double overtake on his two rivals, storming past the leading pair at the same time and won the race with a confident lead.

“We were really looking forward to the moment when we could get our first win in this environment. When we started racing in these top competitions, we knew that it was a very different level compared to what we got used to and that results wouldn’t come immediately. We started a learning process, last year we were close to the top of the podium several times, the first place was just a matter of seconds away and this year it finally happened. I approached the start of this season with the idea that I had to do well straight away because normally in this category you don’t have time to improve for years. So far, I’ve managed to do that and I have to thank my parents, Energy Corse, HUMDA, MOTAM, Antonio Galluccio, my coach and Andrea Terron, my mechanic,” said Martin after the weekend.

“As far as the Final is concerned, we started battling at the beginning, with three of us trying to get away from the others. I enjoyed the competition and the fact that we passed each other back and forth several times. Near the end of the race, I didn’t manage to overtake in the last corner but afterwards when I saw Matveev on Eyckmans’ bumper I knew that they wouldn’t spare each other. Matveev couldn’t turn wide or I’d overtake him but by keeping his kart in the inside line he pushed Eyckmans and I was able to pass both of them. I wasn’t sure I could win at the time but I was when I looked back at the start of the last lap, I saw they were far away.”

The young athlete has a busy schedule in the coming weeks as he competes in the WSK Champions Cup, also in Lonato, a week after the Winter Cup.

Martin Molnár, OK Class results

Participants: 29
Qualifying: P10
Manche-1: P10 -> P3
Manche-2: P3 -> P3
Manche-3: P3 -> P2
Manche-4: P2 -> P3
Manches combined: P3
Super Heat: P3 -> P4
Overall before the Final: P3
Final: P3 -> P1