Nicolai Elghanayan storms Lime Rock Park with an impressive first win in his second race weekend of his GTS debut season
Laguna Beach, CA – Nicolai Elghanayan scores his first Pirelli World Challenge win in Round 5 of the GTS – AM Series held at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. After capturing Pole Position in Qualifying, Nicolai slid wide at the first corner and battled hard to stay in touch with the leader all the way to the pit stops. With superior pit strategy and execution by the Marco Polo Motorsports team, Nicolai found himself with an extremely narrow lead but managed to battle past the lapped competitors to keep second place at bay. The race ended under caution after two racers tangled in the high speed corner entering pit straight with the Marco Polo Motorsports team claiming their first checkered flag in Pirelli World Challenge competition!
Most first time winners have a critical adjustment in their program to increase performance, the Marco Polo Motorsports team made a key decision after much post event analysis from their PWC series debut. The choice was made to focus all resources on testing and setup for Lime Rock Park, a track which highlights the strengths of the Reiter Engineering KTM X-bow GT4, and take aim at improved qualifying speed and finishing on the podium. An ambitious testing plan was scripted for the week prior to Lime Rock. To have the highest potential of success for both Nicolai and team, Reiter Engineering’s chief development driver Tomas Enge was enlisted to test with Nicolai at the high speed Willow Springs Raceway, and also Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California the week preceding Lime Rock.
During these sessions many combinations of vehicle setup and driving techniques were tested, with a solid improvement in qualifying trim and approach to driving the KTM. To close out the team’s week, they towed to Portland International Raceway to test again on the Friday to start preparations for racing at the July PWC event. While on site at Portland, Nicolai competed in the SCCA event in his Lotus, winning the STU class race to close out an extremely successful week.
Race 2 at Lime Rock Park started with Nicolai on pole positon, as the qualifying grid was set by the fastest race lap times in Race 1. The MarcoPolo KTM took the lead at the start, only to have the first lap end with the beginning of a lengthy full course caution, due to competitor contact and subsequent course clean up. Once the green flag dropped again, Nicolai had a huge battle for the lead which ended at his scheduled pit stop. His pit stop went flawlessly, and crew chief John Mueller’s choice of timing of his stop was key as the KTM rejoined in clean air and started turning extremely fast laps stretching the lead. Unfortunately, an issue developed resulting in massive vibration and with 8 minutes remaining in race 2, Nicolai slowed to ensure a finish, taking a third place podium in the Amatuer class and sixth place overall.
With the win in Race 5 and lessons learned in Race 6, Nicolai and the Marco Polo Motorsports team are prepared and ready for the next racetrack, Road America, to continue their efforts and secure points for this fledgeling team and build experience in the series.
About Marco Polo Motorsports
Marco Polo Motorsport started in the 80’s as a self-funded independent race organization that participated in vintage motorcycle racing. As of 2014, Jeff Elghanayan founder of Marco Polo Motorsports acted on his family’s enthusiasm with Lotus, and purchased 3 Lotus race cars to participate in the Lotus Cup USA events with his older sons Nicolai and Bryson for the 2015 -2017 season. As the 2017 season ended in Lotus Cup USA with a championship for Nicolai, Jeff set his sights for the Pirelli World Challenge 2018 season. Marco Polo Motorsports purchased 2 KTM X-BOW GT4 cars for Nicolai to campaign and expand his talents. Marco Polo Motorsports is on the search for additional corporate partners to grow the brand for the 2018 PWC season.
For more on Marco Polo Motorsports please visit www.MarcoPoloMotorsports.com
Facebook – @MarcoPoloMotorsports, Twitter/Instagram – @MarcoPoloRacing
About Muellerized Inc.
Muellerized Inc. is a suspension and chassis specialist shop founded in 2004 by third generation champion racer John Mueller, who draws upon his 34 years of road race driving experience to identify and implement many unique solutions. The Muellerized Team offers a full range of vehicle services, for street, competition and also track day vehicles in their well-equipped 5600 sq. ft. headquarters located in Santa Ana, California.
For more on Muellerized, please visit. www.muellerized.com
About Tahirih Justice Center,
The Tahirih Justice Center, or Tahirih, is a national charitable non-governmental organization headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, United States that aims to protect women and girls fleeing gender-based violence and persecution. Tahirih’s holistic model combines free legal services and social services case management with public policy advocacy, training and education.
For more on Tahirih Justice Center, please visit.www.tahirih.org
About Scuderia Rare Parts,
Rod Drew from FAI founded Scuderia Rare Parts in partnership with Jeff Elghanayan to create a cutting-edge rapid prototyping machining company to re-create the unavailable, and often obsolete Ferrari vintage parts. Scuderia Rare Parts is capable in reproducing automotive, motorcycle and aviation components for any rare vehicle in need of this service.
For more on Scuderia Rare Parts please visit www.ScuderiaRareParts.com
About Ferrari Electronics,
Rod Drew from FAI founded Ferrari Electronics in partnership with Jeff Elghanayan to repair, refurbish, and restore electronic dash clusters for Ferrari vehicles including any rare Ferrari electronic components that is need of this service.
For more on Ferrari Electronics please visit www.FerrariElectroncs.com
About KTM Reiter Engineering
REITER Engineering is the only manufacture worldwide of Race – Lamborghinis, Camaros and KTM X-BOW GT4 vehicles. Its core business sectors are the race team division and engineering unit. The company is able to provide a full range of race services and development services for racecars. It covers the full range of motorsport service from design, development, prototyping, testing and manufacturing. Up to now, the race cars developed by Reiter Engineering fight on 4 continents in several championships (e.g. Blancpain GT Series, ADAC GT Masters, Asian GT, Pirelli World Challenge) and in the History (24h von Le Mans)
For more on KTM Reiter Engineering please visit www.reiter-ktm.com/en/
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