BirelART karts dominate Saturday heat races in Utah
Cody Schindel reports from another hot day of action at the Sofina Foods US Open of Utah in Tooele, Utah.
All nine classes completed three rounds of heat races to go along with Friday's heat to help set the grids for Sunday's Finals at the second stop of the US Open Karting championship. And one manufacturer stood out among the rest on Saturday, as the BirelART chassis from Team PSL Karting topped the rankings in many of the categories.
Canadian Jeff Kingsley found no troubles in Rotax DD2, sweeping the heat races by large margins. He was followed by PSL teammate Alessandro Bizzotto. Another BirelART leads the DD2 Masters race too as Nathan Mauel appears to have the pace to score his second victory of the season, ranking third overall of the DD2 drivers.
A second PSL Karting driver to sweep the heat races on Saturday was Oliver Askew in Rotax Senior. While he did win them all, Luke Selliken kept him on his toes, and the lap times are very close in the category. Kellen Ritter is third, followed by Walker Hess and Michael Michoff.
In Shifter, Kyle Kirkwood is showing well on his US Open debut with Team PSL, winning a pair of heats and ranking first overall. Nick Neri, Tyler Bennett and Sabre Cook are chasing him for the top spot on the podium and will line up for the Final in positions 2, 3 and 4. The Shifter Masters is a tight battle between Ryan Kinnear, Ryan Pool and Chris Jennings as they rank mid-pack in the Shifter category.
Rotax Junior was mightily exciting Saturday. The first heat of the day saw nearly half the field get collected in a crash in the first corner after polesitter Manuel Sulaiman got turned, and it wiped out many of the front-runners. Ryan Macdermid and Nick Brueckner benefitted to finish 1-2 while Sulaiman recovered to finish seventh.
Heat 2 featured the same front two, but this time Brueckner took the win. In the final race of the day, the excitement continued with a six-way battle for victory, and this time Sulaiman came out on top.
When the dust settled after four heat races, Macdermid will start on the pole for the Final with Sulaiman alongside. Jacob Gulick and Matthew Latifi fill out row two followed by Hannah Greenemeier and Mathias Ramirez. Brueckner will start seventh after being excluded from the final heat race in tech.
Diego LaRoque was unstoppable in Micro Max on Saturday, posting a perfect record. Josh Pierson was close in the final heat but had to settle for second at the line. Next up in the rankings are Santiago Trisini, James Egozi and Jeremy Fletcher as BENIK Karts own positions 1, 3, 4 and 5.
Putting in a similar performance in Rotax Mini-Max, Tyler Gonzalez is looking good for another big win as he controlled each heat race. Jak Crawford followed Gonzalez throughout the day but just didn't have enough to challenge the leader. However, he’ll still start from the front on Sunday.
Finally in Rotax Max Masters it's another PSL Karting/BirelART driver on top as Jeremie Charon closed out the day with two heat wins to earn the pole position for Sunday's Final. Mike Rollison will join him on the front row with double heat winner Billy Cleavelan back in third after finding trouble in the final heat race.
Scorching pace in hot climate for US Open qualifying
Askew, Kirkwood, Kingsley dominate US Open of Utah