-- Grand Prix Polisport of Portugal
Antoine MEO, Pierre-Alexandre RENET and Christophe NAMBOTIN enjoyed a winning result on day two at the Maxxis Enduro World Championship GP Polisport of Portugal.
Spain’s Laia SANZ (Gas Gas) defeated France’s Ludivine PUY (Gas Gas) to win the Women’s Cup while France’s Mathias BELLINO (Husaberg) continued his dominating run in Enduro Junior to claim his sixth victory of 2012.
France’s Antoine MEO (KTM) put his disappointment of retiring on day one behind him to secure his seventh win of year with victory on day two in Enduro 1. Finishing second on the first Enduro Test of the morning, MEO quickly got to work on the dry and dusty conditions to set the fastest time in six of the day’s nine special tests.“It was unfortunate not to finish yesterday but today I needed to make amends for my mistake,” commented MEO. “I was a little unsure of the conditions during lap one so I was careful not to make any mistakes. After that I began to push hard and was able to win comfortably.”Finding the Cross Test to his liking, Finland’s Matti SEISTOLA (Husqvarna) was on top form on day two. Enjoying a tough battle with France’s Rodrig THAIN (HM Honda), the Finnish rider eventually beat his rival to secure second position by less than one-second. Adding to his winning result on day one, THAIN ended day two in third place. Although matching the pace of SEISTOLA and THAIN during the early morning, Finland’s Eero REMES (KTM) finished fourth. France’s Jeremy JOLY (Yamaha) rounded out the top five.
Pierre-Alexandre RENET (F - Husaberg) returned to the top of the Enduro 2 standings on day two. Etching out an early lead after the first Enduro Test of the morning, RENET maintained his pace throughout the day to secure an eight-second victory over KTM’s Johnny AUBERT (F). Recording his fourth victory of year, RENET now holds a 15-point lead in Enduro 2 as the championship passes the halfway point in the season.“It was a tough race,” remarked RENET. “I managed to set a fast pace early on and it was enough to hold off Johnny to secure the win and extend my championship lead.”While unable to record another victory in Enduro 2, AUBERT ended his GP of Portugal with a podium result. Matching RENET’S pace during the final lap of the race, AUBERT finished nine seconds behind the Husaberg rider. Spain’s Cristobal GUERRERO (KTM) improved on his fifth place result on day one to secure a podium finish with third on day two. After a fierce battle with GUERRERO, Italy’s Alex SALVINI (Husqvarna) finally placed just five seconds behind the Spaniard to finish fourth. France’s Jeremy TARROUX (KTM) produced a solid result to end his weekend in fifth.
It was another winning performance by France’s Christophe NAMBOTIN (KTM) in Enduro 3 as he recorded his eighth consecutive victory of the season. Mastering the dry and slippery special tests, the Frenchman remained unbeaten throughout the day to top his class by 67 seconds. “I’m really happy with my result today as I managed to win all the special tests,” confirmed NAMBOTIN at the end of day two. “Although I have a 50-point lead in the championship, my goal is to keep focused on each day and try to do the best I can. In Italy I will keep fighting for victory.”Spain’s Oriol MENA (Husaberg) led a three-way battle to claim second position in Enduro 3. Setting a fast pace on the long Enduro Test, MENA held off Estonia’s Aigar LEOK (TM) and Sweden’s Joakim LJUNGGREN (Husaberg) to record his best result of the season. Adding to his third place result on day one, LEOK ended day two less than ten seconds behind MENA to finish third.Finishing fourth, LJUNGGREN now moves up to second overall in the championship standings placing just one-point in front of LEOK. Gas Gas’ Sebastien GUILLAUME (F) completed the top five.
France’s Mathias BELLINO (Husaberg) claimed another comfortable victory in Enduro Junior by winning all of the day’s nine special tests. Making a slow start to the morning, Spain’s Victor GUERRERO (KTM) overhauled Britain’s Danny MCCANNEY (Gas Gas) on the final lap to secure second. With MCCANNEY recording his second podium result of the weekend with third place, Italy’s Rudi MORONI (KTM) and Jonathan MANZI (KTM) finished fourth and fifth respectively.Italy’s Giacomo REDONDI (KTM) was once again victorious in the Enduro Youth Cup finishing over 30 seconds clear of runner up Portugal’s Luis OLIVERIA (Yamaha) and Italy’s Matteo BRESOLIN (Husaberg).
Fortunes were reversed on day two in the Women’s Cup as Laia SANZ (Gas Gas) claimed victory. After her second place result on day one, the Spaniard started day two in a determined fashion. Beating her teammate, Ludivine PUY (F – Gas Gas) on all but three of the day’s special tests, SANZ secured her third victory of the season. With PUY finishing second, France’s Audrey ROSSAT (KTM) took advantage of Husaberg’s Blandine DUFRENE’S (F) early retirement to claim third. The Australian duo of Jessica GARDINER (Yamaha) and Jemma WILSON (Yamaha) placed fourth and fifth respectively.
The Maxxis Enduro World Championship continues with round five in Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy on June 30-July 01.
-- Day One Report
Aubert Back To Winning Ways In Portugal
Rodrig THAIN, Johnny AUBERT and Christophe NAMBOTIN secure victory on day one at round four of the Maxxis Enduro World Championship in Torres Vedras, Portugal. Mathias BELLINO claims a winning result in Enduro Junior while defending champion Ludivine PUY tops the Women’s Cup.
Marking the halfway point in the 2012 season, day one at the GP Polisport of
Portugal was full of surprises as the series saw new winners emerge and
championship contenders retire.
However, it was the retirement of Enduro 1 championship leader Antoine MEO (F - KTM) that became the biggest talking point of day one. Damaging his engine casings on the liaison section on lap one, the Frenchman was forced to stop. Italy’s Simone ALBERGONI (HM Honda) was next to follow him when he crashed heavily on the second Cross Test, while in Enduro 2 Spain’s Ivan CERVANTES ended his day early on lap one after a technical issue with his Gas Gas. Taking advantage of the early departures of MEO and ALBERGONI, Rodrig THAIN battled his way to the front of the field in Enduro 1 at the end of lap two. Setting some impressive times in the technically demanding Extreme Test, the HM Honda rider held off the late charge by Finland’s Eero REMES (KTM) to win the day. “I have been waiting for this moment all year,” commented THAIN. “When MEO and ALBERGONI retired I knew that I needed to attack and take advantage of the situation. I’m so happy to have finally won a race - it’s been a big relief to win.” Charging hard towards the end of the race, KTM’s REMES was also determined to capitalise on the day’s early retirements. However, falling just five seconds short of victory, REMES had to be content with second. After a tough battle with France’s Fabien PLANET (Sherco) for third place, Finland’s Matti SEISTOLA (Husqvarna) put in his best performance of his season to claim the third step of the podium.
Johnny AUBERT firmly stamped his authority on day one in Enduro 2 in Portugal. Making a fast start to the morning, the KTM rider quickly opened up a ten-second lead at the end of lap two. Fastest on the Cross Test, AUBERT maintained his advantage to secure his first victory of 2012. “Everything went excellent today,” confirmed AUBERT. “I felt very comfortable with my bike and was able to lead the race early on. It’s nice to finally get my first victory of the season.” After his double victory just one week earlier in Spain, France’s Pierre-Alexandre RENET (Husaberg) finished 20 seconds behind Aubert. Unable to match the pace set by the KTM rider, RENET maintains his championship lead with the runner up position. In only his second race in 2012, France’s Jeremy TARROUX (KTM) has already recorded his first podium result by finishing in third place on day one in Portugal. Ending his day fourth, Finland’s Juha SALMINEN (Husqvarna) finished a very slender one-second behind TARROUX. Spain’s Cristobal GUERRERO (KTM) placed just two hundredths of a second behind SALMINEN to end his day in fifth.
In Enduro 3 it was France’s Christophe NAMBOTIN (KTM) who once again lead the way. Winning all of day one’s special tests bar the KTM Super Test, NAMBOTIN comfortably placed almost 90 seconds clear of Gas Gas’s Sebastien GUILLAUME (F). “It’s great to win again but it was a tough race for me,” remarked NAMBOTIN. “I struggled to find a comfortable rhythm on the very dry and dusty Cross Test but in the Extreme Test I could set a fast pace. I must also thank my teammate David KNIGHT (GB – KTM) for his very generous help. I drowned my bike in the river crossing during the final liaison section and if it wasn’t for his help it may not have been possible to finish.” With NAMBOTIN the clear winner of Enduro 3, it was GUILLAUME that claimed second overall. Setting an incredibly fast time in the final Cross Test of the day, GUILLAUME secured his first podium result with Gas Gas. Returning to the top three for the first time since round one in Chile, Estonia’s Aigar LEOK (TM) finished two tenths of a second behind GUILLAUME for third. Spain’s Oriol MENA (Husaberg) put in a solid ride to finish fourth while Finland’s Joakim LJUNGGREN (Husaberg) completed the top five.
Proving to be a rider very much on top form, France’s Mathias BELLINO (Husaberg) recorded another winning result in Enduro Junior. Making his way to the podium for the first time in 2012, Italy’s Rudi MORONI (KTM) beat Spain’s Mario ROMAN (KTM) to finish in second place. With ROMAN securing third, Britain’s Danny MCCANNEY (Gas Gas) produced another strong result to finish fourth. Argentina’s Kevin BENAVIDES (KTM) rounded out the top five. Claiming his sixth win of the season, Italy’s Giacomo REDONDI (KTM) was the clear winner of the Enduro Youth Cup. Portugal’s Luis OLIVERIA (Yamaha) ended day one at his home race on the podium with second place while Guido CONFORTI (Yamaha) completed the top five.
Ludivine PUY returned to her winning ways by clinching victory in the Women’s Cup. Beating her rival and teammate Spain’s Laia SANZ by less than three seconds, day one was a perfect start to her GP of Portugal. With SANZ finishing second, France’s Blandine DUFRENE (Husaberg) finished third with Juliette BERREZ (F - TM) and Audrey ROSSAT (F - KTM) completing the top five.
-- KTM Report
KTM’s Enduro factory riders picked up another slew of podiums in this weekend’s Rounds 7 &8 of the Enduro World Championship at Torres Vedras in Portugal but the outstanding rider for the Orange team was undoubtedly Christophe Nambotin of France.
Nambotin has proved to be the dominant force in this year’s competition as the season reaches its half way mark as he continued his charge this weekend with another two victories. On Sunday he won all the tests in the hot and dusty conditions but admitted it had been a good but tough day. “I did win all the tests and I liked the extreme test but it was very difficult physically today,” the Frenchman commented. Nambotin also thanked teammate David Knight for his help on Saturday when he had trouble in the river crossing during the final liaison. “If it wasn’t for his help it may not have been possible to finish,” he said.
Sunday proved to be a better day for Antoine Meo in E1 who also came to Portugal with an unblemished score card for the first six rounds. Meo failed to finish on Saturday after hitting a rock in the Extreme test that was built into a disused quarry. This damaged the engine casing, the engine lost all the oil and he was forced to retire. Sunday was a happier day for Meo. “I made a big mistake yesterday but I am very happy today,” the French rider said after resuming his usual place on Sunday on the top of the podium. He said the team were right behind him and had worked very hard to make sure he could race on Sunday.
Meo’s E1 teammate Eero Remes picked up a strong second place on Saturday just five second behind the leader Rodrig Thain and followed it up as fourth fastest on Sunday. He went well throughout the three x 70 km laps, except in the Extreme test where he was 3 x seventh. Meo still holds a commanding lead in the E1 standings, 31 points ahead of second placed Thain. Eero Remes is currently third.
The KTM factory team also celebrated the return of the popular Johnny Aubert to the top of the E2 podium on Saturday. The Frenchman was fast again on Sunday, if not quite fast enough to take the first place away from rival Pierre-Alexandre Renet. He did well in most tests but also lost some time in the difficult Extreme Test. He had a difficult start to his season in the first four rounds in South America but his 1-2 for the weekend earned him enough points to move up to fourth in the standings and he now trails Juha Salminen in third by just one point.
After Saturday’s outing Aubert said he felt comfortable on his KTM 450 EXC and was pleased to return to dominance by leading the race from an early stage. KTM factory team boss Fabio Farioli also praised the efforts of Aubert’s E2 teammate Cristobal Guerrero who was fifth on Saturday in a field where the top five were very close. In fact the Spanish rider was deprived fourth place by just two hundredths of a second. Guerrero wrapped up his weekend with a podium third on Sunday.
KTM riders in the EJ class were also up with the best this weekend. On Saturday Rudi Moroni of Italy and Mario Roman of Spain finished 2-3 while Cristobal Guerrero’s younger brother Victor scored a podium third on Sunday. Giacomo Redondi wrapped up another two wins in the Enduro Youth Cup to remain unbeaten in the competition.
Of all the Orange factory riders it was only only Nambotin’s E3 teammate David Knight who failed to find his rhythm on the bike this weekend in Portugal. He finished with a 7-13 result in the two rounds and is now fourth in the standings. He now has a chance to regroup before the next two rounds in Italy on June 30-July 1, 2012.
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