RACE: FRussell: Mandarino race notes 2006-02-14

VICTORY FOR MANDARINO IN RUSSELL ACTION Canadian karter impresses in pre-season formula car outing SONOMA, CA -- Top Canadian kart racer Lorenzo Mandarino enjoyed a victorious outing at Infineon Raceway this past weekend (Feb. 11-12) during...

VICTORY FOR MANDARINO IN RUSSELL ACTION
Canadian karter impresses in pre-season formula car outing

SONOMA, CA -- Top Canadian kart racer Lorenzo Mandarino enjoyed a victorious outing at Infineon Raceway this past weekend (Feb. 11-12) during the opening rounds of the SCCA Formula Russell Championship. Focused on gaining more open-wheel experience for his eventual full-time graduation to car racing, the 19 year-old impressed the paddock with a new level of maturity and poise. Mandarino scored a win in the opening main of the weekend events and then took a steady third on Sunday in a less-than-stellar car.

"We accomplished almost everything we were after with two podiums and a more experience," offered Mandarino. "I'm focusing on my karting this year, but any seat time in cars is valuable and I really feel like I took a lot away from this weekend."

After qualifying on pole for the opening race, Mandarino got a great jump at the green flag and steadily pulled away to the win. Sunday's event was more of a challenge as he needed to coax more from his car, qualifying fourth before racing to third. A hard last-lap battle for the final podium position drew on Mandarino's growing maturity. After losing the spot, he remained focused and took it back by capitalizing on his challenger's error. The end result of the weekend was a pair of well-deserved podium appearances.

"When I ran the full series back in 2003 after winning the Graduate Runoffs, I was much younger and less poised. I pushed too hard and wanted to win by a big margin and this obviously didn't lead to the best results as I made too many mistakes." admitted the maturing pilot. "I felt so much more focused this time around and was able to better adapt to my Sunday car and bring home another podium. That run was almost more satisfying than the win on Saturday, considering the circumstances. I can't wait to get back here for the next event."

The Burnaby, BC pilot has a full schedule of karting events in North America and Europe planned for the upcoming season but, thanks to his win at last fall's Superkarts! USA SuperNationals -- the most prestigious kart race in the country, he was awarded a pair of race weekends in the Formula Russell program. Mandarino will be back for the second round of the series on March 11-12 to complete this particular program. The Canadian's '06 karting debut will take place on March 17-19 at the Stars of Karting Race of the Americas in Norman, OK.

-lm-

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Series SCCA
Drivers Lorenzo Mandarino