LAGUNA BEACH, Cal. – The 2018 Pirelli World Challenge season came to a close last weekend at Watkins Glen International, and MarcoPolo Motorsports KTM X-BOW driver Nicolai Elghanayan finished the championship with his fourth podium finish of the year in his rookie season.
The California native started the Grand Prix of Watkins Glen in strong standing, wasting no time climbing up the charts of the opening practices in the No. 71 MarcoPolo Motorsports KTM X-BOW. In its first race weekend with the new KTM 2018 kit, the X-BOW showed a noticeable improvement on track from earlier this season, sporting a new wiring harness, ECU, and gearbox, as well as receiving a weight reduction from the previous version. Elghanayan prepared for his Watkins Glen debut with hours of simulator training, and quickly got up to speed, qualifying in third for race one.
Race one went green on Saturday afternoon, and Elghanayan produced an impressive start, charging through the opening corners to take the race lead in the first lap. Jeff Courtney challenged Elghanayan, taking the lead in the second lap. The two went back and forth, racing side by side through the rolling turns and elevation for the lead position. As a three way battle for the lead with Jeff Courtney and Mike Hedlund continued, daring moves by Elghanayan moved the KTM X-BOW back in the lead, and quickly extended his gap over the field to 1.2 seconds. In the final fifteen minutes, Courtney came back to challenge for the lead, and took the position, moving Elghanayan into second place until the checker flag.
Elghanayan’s fast lap in race one placed him in a third place starting position for Sunday’s race two. Unfortunately, contact in the opening laps moved the KTM X-BOW to the back of the field, but a stellar drive from the young Californian brought the KTM X-BOW back from 22nd overall to 13th, finishing fifth in the GTSA class.
Future racing plans for Nicolai Elghanayan and MarcoPolo Motorsports will be announced at a later date. To stay up to speed on all news and updates, follow Nicolai and the team on Facebook, twitter, and Instagram.
Nicolai Elghanayan No. 71 KTM X-Bow
It was a really good weekend for the MarcoPolo Motorsports team. In race one, we were able to gain a few spots on the start, up into the bus stop, then Courtney and I battled it out for about half of the race. The battle was fun and the car felt great from the beginning. We had a really clean race, and I’m happy we were able to keep the car out there after an alternator issue during the race. It was an excellent effort by the entire MarcoPolo team! It’s great to end the season on such a high note.