Team Koene USA Adds Six Podiums at Second Round of US Open
Eight drivers score one victory and six podiums results in round two
Proving that round one results of the Cold Stone US Open powered by MAXSpeed Entertainment were no fluke, Team Koene USA made the cross country trek to Grand Junction, Colorado and once again, flexed their muscles in a the Rotax powered divisions. Taking three victories and four podiums in Dallas back in May, Koene USA drivers adapted to hot temperatures and the nuances of the Grand Junction Motor Speedway to claim one victory, two second place and three third place finishes and currently control two championship points battles.
Leading the way with results was Texan Trenton Estep. A newcomer to Team Koene USA back in April, Estep has only competed in four events with the team but has been at the front of the field in all of them. Claiming a win back in May, Estep repeated his performance this past weekend by having consistent runs in the heat races to claim the pole position for Sunday’s main event. Taking advantage of situations on track, Estep took the lead early and handily drove to his second major win of the season. With the result, Estep currently leads the Rotax Junior point standings and has earned a ticket to compete at the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals in Portimao, Portugal later this year.
Michael d’Orlando had a very successful weekend in Colorado. After overcoming an incident and DNF result in one heat race and a poor finish due to an on track incident in another, the elder of the d’Orlando brothers had a spirited drive in the weekend’s main event. Starting mid-pack, d’Orlando sliced and diced his way to the top-five, consistently turning the fastest laps aboard his Team Koene USA Tony Kart. Claiming the checkered flag in the fifth position, d’Orlando was elevated to a third place podium result after post race penalties and technical inspection, putting a pair of Team Koene USA drivers on the podium.
Ugo Ugochukwu and Sofia Zanfari would be the Team Koene USA duo in the Rotax Micro MAX ranks and both performed well throughout the weekend. Ugochukwu left Colorado as the point leader following consistent results through the heat races that would allow him to start Sunday’s main event from the pole position. Though the main event did not go as planned, Ugochukwu secured another podium result and will be a member of Team USA at the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals later this season.
Zanfari showed speed throughout the weekend and was a top-ten contender in the hot Colorado sun. Starting the main event from mid-pack and running just inside the top-ten, a broken throttle cable would force her to retire from the event.
Nicholas d’Orlando, Payton Durrant and Suleiman Zanfari would enter the Rotax Mini MAX division and all three would fight near the pointy end of the field. d’Orlando would get the best of the rest throughout the heat races and claim the pole position for the main event while Durrant would line up in P3. Zanfari would gain experience and improve throughout the weekend scoring a sixth place finish in heat three and starting the main event inside row seven. When the dust had settled and the final checkered flag had flows, d’Orlando would finish second and Durrant third claiming another two podiums for Team Koene USA. Zanfari would be involved in an incident early but had a great drive ending his weekend with a solid twelfth place result.
Making the trek from The Netherlands, Rinus Van Kalmthout had a trying weekend. After switching chassis on Thursday and struggling with a nagging engine issue throughout the heat races, the front-runner turned it all around on Sunday. Starting the Rotax Senior main event in fifth, the international competitor drove his way forward to battle for the lead. Showing the speed early, Van Kalmthout would fall behind later in the race and secure a second place podium result.
“It is a great feeling to have all your drivers run near the front of the field,” explained Team Koene USA’s Mike Maurini. “Heading to the US Open Finale in October, all eight of our drivers are in the top-ten in the point standings in their respective classes. This is proof that hard work does pay off and I would personally like to thank all team mechanics, tuners, helpers and supporters.”
For more information on Koene USA and their online store, please visit www.TeamKoeneUSA.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.