Team Koene USA Looks to Carry Momentum to US Open Program
Eight drivers set to contest in Rotax divisions at Dallas Karting Complex
Looking to carry the momentum from the first quarter of the year and into the heart of the 2015 racing season, Team Koene USA is set to embark on the first round of the US Open program at the Dallas Karting Complex. Dubbed the US Open of Texas and set to take place May 13-17, Team Koene USA will enter eight drivers in the inaugural event in the hopes of claiming race wins, podium results and championships when the series concludes in November.
“I am really happy with the team of drivers we have assembled for the US Open,” explained Team Manager Mike Maurini. “All of our drivers know how to win and have what it takes to run at the front of the field. With our preparation, coaching and experience, we look to give these drivers the best possible chance at victory.”
Putting together a last minute deal to travel to North America for the entire US Open, Rinus Van Kalmthout will throw his hat into the Rotax Senior mix as he looks to battle for the win. Always a threat in whatever he competes in, Van Kalmthout has a long list of race wins and championships in Europe and is a natural talent behind the wheel. Competing around the world and with loads of experience, the young Dutchman will race aboard a Tony Kart chassis and utilize Ocala Gran Prix’s potent power as he looks to be contender in Dallas.
Entering two strong drivers in Rotax Junior, Michael d’Orlando and Trenton Estep will be ones to watch. Estep, who joined the team during the second round of the Cold Stone Florida Winter Tour, has seen consistent runs in the top-ten and immediately made a jump to the top of the charts since joining Koene USA. Nearly scoring the victory in his first event, Estep now understands the demands of Team Koene USA and will be a threat for the victory in Dallas. Michael d’Orlando will continue his Rotax Junior rookie campaign as he shows speed and is gaining experience along the way. Running at in the front half of the stout field, the former Florida Winter Tour TaG Cadet champion has consistently developed both his race craft and demeanor as he becomes more and more comfortable with the full size chassis and the aggressiveness of some of the junior drivers.
A pair of Vice-Champion drivers already in 2015, Nicholas d’Orlando and Payton Durrant will be joined by Moroccan pilot Suleiman Zanfari in the Rotax Mini Max ranks in US Open competition. Durrant, who was a front-runner the Rotax Challenge of the Americas, scored a pair of victories en route to a second place result in the overall series title. Contact on the final main event start of the weekend caused Durrant to retire, thus eliminating him from the championship chase. He will head to Dallas with redemption on his mind.
Nicholas d’Orlando claimed five podium results including three victories in the Vortex Mini ROK category so far in 2015 and secured the runner up spot in the Florida Winter Tour championship battle. In Rotax Mini Max, d’Orlando was once again one of the drivers to watch as he always managed to find himself at the pointy end of the field. Claiming multiple podiums in the five race championship series, d’Orlando would end the points battle in third and just like Durrant, he will enter the US Open program with the championship on his mind.
Lotus Racing Karts drivers Suleiman and Sofia Zanfari will join Team Koene USA for the entire US Open program as they work towards more events in the United States later this year. Suleiman will compete in the Rotax Mini Max division and is no stranger to the podium. Claiming a trio of podium results in 2013 in 60 Baby in Italy, the elder Zanfari would go on to race around the world in 2014 and claimed the Rotax Micro Max victory in race one of the first event of the Sportsil Cup in Croatia earlier that year. 2015 has seen Suleiman compete in the WSK program where he claimed an eighth place finish in the WSK Trofeo Vega in Adria, Italy. Competing in the 60cc Mini category, Suleiman has been in the upper half of the field and he hopes to continue those results in North America competition.
Sofia Zanfari, the younger sister of Suleiman, will see action aboard a Team Koene USA Tony Kart with support from Lotus Racing Karts. As one of the youngest competitors in the 2014 season at only seven, Sofia claimed the 44th position in the Rotax Micro Max Euro Final. In 2015, she will compete with her brother around the world including events in Australia, Italy, Austria and the United States.
Fresh off his Cold Stone Florida Winter Tour Rotax Micro Max championship, Ugo Ugochukwu will enter the US Open as one of the favorites. Since claiming the 2014 Rotax Pan American championship last October, Ugochukwu has been on a tear claiming multiple podium results, big race wins, the Florida Winter Tour title and most recently a World Karting Association Manufacturers Cup victory. Showing his true diversity, Ugochukwu has run at the front of the field in Rotax, Vortex and IAME powered karts in both wet and dry weather competition. The New York resident and second-generation racer will look to put his speed and race craft to work as he threatens to be the inaugural US Open race winner.
Please check out the Team Koene USA website at www.TeamKoeneUSA.com.
For more information on Koene USA and their online store, please visit www.KoeneUSA.com or contact company representatives at 317.270.8723 or via e-mail to Info@KoeneUSA.com. Team Koene USA is also very active in social media and can be found on Twitter at @KoeneUSA or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/KoeneUSA.