WKA: IRL SoK: Lorenzo Mandarino Desert MINI summary

TOP FIVES HIGHLIGHT RETURN FOR MANDARINO Canadian karter back in groove after missing last Western round PRIMM, NV - Canadian kart racer Lorenzo Mandarino was back in action this past weekend as he posted a pair of solid top five finishes in...

TOP FIVES HIGHLIGHT RETURN FOR MANDARINO
Canadian karter back in groove after missing last Western round

PRIMM, NV - Canadian kart racer Lorenzo Mandarino was back in action this past weekend as he posted a pair of solid top five finishes in his return to action in the Western Division of the Snap-on Stars of Karting national championship. After missing the second Western stop while competing in Europe, the Burnaby, BC resident was back running in the ICC 125cc shifterkart category with Sonoma, CA's KLS Racing, the importer of the Italian-made GP chassis. The race -- the Desert MINI Grand Prix - was held on a temporary circuit laid out in the expansive parking lot of the Buffalo Bills Resort and Casino in Primm, NV -- just 30 minutes West of Las Vegas -- putting all the drivers on a level playing field. A strong fourth on Saturday was followed by a challenging Sunday that required Mandarino to fight through a problem that was eventually diagnosed as an engine issue, one that left him significantly down on power. Despite getting visibly pulled on the straightaway, he was able to bring his GP home in fifth at the checker to cap the weekend.

In the Saturday events, Mandarino kicked off the weekend with a tough 17th in qualifying, putting him on the inside of the ninth row for the Prefinal. The Canadian was pushing his kart hard during the opening laps of the timed session and clipped a haybale that lined the temporary course, breaking his wheel in the process, ending his run immediately. From his deep starting position, Mandarino attacked aggressively in the Prefinal, turning the fastest lap of the race en route to fifth. This was startling recovery that would open the door for a steady drive to fourth in the main event. Mandarino had used up a great deal of his tire's performance in the Prefinal and it was all he could do to keep the kart on the track over the final laps of the headline race. Fourth was an excellent result, considering the circumstances and the depth of competition is the Stars of Karting program.

On Sunday, the previously-mentioned motor issues made themselves known early, as the engine was rather flat in qualifying as Lorenzo recorded the ninth-quickest time of the 23-kart field. The 19 year-old stayed out of trouble in the Prefinal to advance to seventh, but he was already getting pulled the long shutes, which made over-taking an almost insurmountable obstacle. Lorenzo would race hard to fifth in the main event and, despite closing on the fourth place driver in the late stages, he would have to settle for fifth in the final tally.

Despite the obvious mechanical challenges, a pair of top fives was an excellent result, although not one that would satisfy the young charger. Mandarino will now look towards the upcoming round of the Stars of Karting Eastern Division, which is scheduled for July 7-9 at the karting facility at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC.

-lm-

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Series Kart
Drivers Lorenzo Mandarino