"PSL Karting driver takes the second step on the podium at the USA Grand Nationals"
Article By: Race Tech Development
September 4, 2012 - Always a threat for victory, Rotax DD2 Masters pilot Rene Martinelli scored another Team USA Berth with a solid second place effort at the United States Rotax Grand Nationals and will now represent the United States at the Rotax Grand Finals in Portimao, Portugal later this year. Descending on the tricky Jet Karting of Michiana Raceway Park facility in early August, Martinelli used his wisdom and experience to overcome changing weather conditions to stand on the second step of the podium joining teammate Alan Rudolph in a TeamPSLKarting.com 1-2 finish.
Not being able to attend the first unofficial test day on Monday, Martinelli hit the track on Tuesday morning and was immediately on pace with the top times in the Rotax DD2 Masters division. Focusing on finding the correct gear and carburetion settings for the long sweeping corners was the plan for the day and heading into Wednesday's first official day, Martinelli was confident with his PSL Karting CRG.
"Tuesday was important for us to find the major tuning elements of the chassis," explained the three-time Team USA member. "Wednesday we focused on fine tuning the minor details and getting those extra tenths out of the kart, motor and myself. However, we realized that we had a problem with our back-up motor and lost two valuable on track sessions but our main motor was good, which we decided to stick with for the rest of the event."
Back to the track on Thursday, rain would begin to fall for the ever-important qualifying session. With the three-heat race flight format in effect, Martinelli would start all of his heat races in the same position, as he would look to move forward. With heat race results setting up the grid order for Championship Saturday's prefinal, the goals of consistent results and staying out of trouble were first and foremost.
Hailing from the state of Florida, Martinelli was unfazed by the rain as he and his tuner Brian Fletcher went to work on the CRG. Making changes to accommodate the now slippery track conditions, Martinelli would claim the third quickest lap of the session and would line up inside row two for all of his heat races.
Martinelli continued, "I narrowly missed out on the second position but I prefer to start third with the layout of the first few corners. I believe I will be able to attack early and move to the front."
The first of three heat races would be run that afternoon and Martinelli showed his speed as he overcame some bad racing luck. Moving into second on the start, the Florida resident was hit from behind and spun only a few laps later. Falling to the tail of the field and forced to drive forward, the CRG would turn some of the fastest laps of the race as Martinelli sliced and diced his way through the field. Working his way back into the top six, Rene was hit a second time and sent off the racing surface. Coming from the back yet again in the same heat race, Martinelli would claim a fourth place result when the checkered flag flew.
Wanting to rebound on Friday morning, heat two did not go as planned as Martinelli would fall back from his third place starting position to finish sixth. With two decent finishes and some of his closest competitors encountering problems, a strong and clean third heat would put Martinelli in a position to challenge for the win on Saturday. Staying out of trouble and crossing the line in fourth, the PSL Karting pilot would claim just enough points to maintain his heat race starting position through to the prefinal.
With all weather reports showing a dry Saturday, Martinelli would show up to a rain soaked track due to lake effect precipitation that would last for the majority of the morning. With a wet weather practice session and a damp but drying track, Martinelli and his tuner decided to utilize slick tires for the prefinal and the gamble paid off. While half of the field chose the grooved wet weather Mojo's, Martinelli's CRG would struggle during the opening laps as his tires had very little grip on the slick surface. As the prefinal wore on, a dry line began to develop and Martinelli was able to gain a few positions that he lost to cross the stripe in the fifth position.
After the opening ceremonies had concluded, it was time for the main events and national champions to be crowned. Looking for a good start, Martinelli rocketed forward at the drop of the green flag and slotted into the third position. A few laps later, he would make the move into second where he would begin to settle into a rhythm. Passed by Florida Winter Tour Champion and PSL Karting teammate Alan Rudolph, Martinelli would work with the eventual race winner to catch the leader. Pushing hard lap after lap, Rudolph would take the top spot while Martinelli would move to second a few laps later. Opening a gap on the third place driver, Martinelli ran comfortably in the second position as he continued to try and put pressure on the leader. With laps winding down, the PSL duo would run 1 - 2 and remain consistent until the checkered flag flew.
Martinelli added, "I am happy with the result and the chance to represent the United States overseas for the third time in four years. I need to thank my sponsors, supporters, family and friends for all of their continued support."
Rene Martinelli would like to thank TeamPSLKarting.com, Brian Fletcher for his hard work and precise trackside tuning as well as his trainer Johnnie Earl. A big thanks to PSL Karting, Wheeler Motorsports, Bell Helmets and Muscle Milk Greg Pickett Racing for their support throughout the season.
For sponsorship opportunities or for more information on Rene Martinelli, please contact him via e-mail at ReneMartinelli@Yahoo.com .
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