British driver Oliver Rowland scooped one of the biggest titles of his career to date when he dominated the annual CIK-FIA World Cup for Super KF at the Japanese Mecca of motorsport, the fabled Suzuka kart circuit situated inside the equally revered Grand Prix circuit.
The McLaren protégé soundly defeated a field made up largely of Japanese drivers but also, significantly, his Chiesa Corse teammate and fellow McLaren backed driver Nyck de Vries in a sodden final to claim the Super KF World Cup title.
Although the local drivers had the upper hand in Saturday's dry conditions with Japanese KF1 Champion Shota Koyohara looking particularly impressive in his Tonykart Japan run machine, setting fastest time in qualifying and winning (on the road at least) all three heats. However he lost two of those wins after receiving time penalties for jumping the start allowing his countrymen Keishi Ishikawa and Shintaro Kawabata to claim the wins.
The 2009 European and German KF3 Champion de Vries, still a Super KF rookie at just 15 years of age, started fourth for the pre-final with 2008 KF2 World Cup winner Rowland directly behind him in sixth but with the rains pelting the 1264-metre circuit in true British fashion, the Englishman was unstoppable as soon as the lights flashed green.
Fourth at the end of the opening lap Rowland passed de Vries, Ishikawa and Yoshiaki Maehara on a sublime second lap to take a lead he wouldn't relinquish for the rest of the event. By the end of the 16th and final lap Rowland took the chequered flag a massive 19-seconds ahead of his Zanardi mounted teammate de Vries who, in turn was more than a full second ahead of the leading local driver, Hiroyuki Inoue.
His pre-final win was merely a precursor to his performance in the main event and with the rain pouring down as hard as ever Rowland simply cleared off into the distance right from the word go to totally demoralise the competition.
At the end of the 24-lap race Rowland was nearly 15 seconds ahead of his nearest rival with only seven others within half a minute of him as he not only won the CIK-FIA World Cup but won it in a style that nobody else has done in a major competition in quite some time.
Koyohara finished a distant second after moving past a sputtering de Vries in the late going while de Vries narrowly held on for third with his machine suffering with the affects of having taken on too much water during the race. Hironobu Yasuda was just behind de Vries in fourth in the leading CRG Japan entry with Kawabata fifth and Ishikawa sixth.
On the same bill as the World Cup was the Asia-Pacific Championship for KF2, which attracted 26 entries including Briton Lindsay Butcher, Denmark's Michelle Gatting and a smattering of other nationalities against the numerically superior Japanese challenge.