This weekend saw the opening event of the 2012 FIM Enduro World Championship and, as predicted, it was a scorching affair...
KTM’s newest E1 signing, Antoine Meo launched a strong opening bid for the E1 world title with a double victory in the opening two rounds of the World Championship in Talca, Chile.
In what turned out to be a challenging second day of racing, the Frenchman followed up his winning ride on Saturday, where he won five of the special tests to beat Honda’s Rodrig Thain, to set the fastest time in six of the eight tests on Sunday.
I can’t quite believe how well this weekend has gone,” said Meo. “Overall my riding has been really good and I’m happy about my speed. I still think I have a little bit more to find so I will keep trying to push at my maximum.”
1, Antoine Meo, France, KTM, 40
2, Rodrig Thain, France, HM-Honda, 32
3, Marc Bourgeois, France, Yamaha, 25
4, Simone Albergoni, Italy, HM-Honda, 23
5, Matti Seistola, Finland, HVA, 21
Spanish rider Ivan Cervantes stands atop the E2 rankings after the first event in the 2012 FIM Enduro World Championship season having performed admirably all weekend.
Finland’s Juha Salminen took the second spot, while France’s , Pierre-Alexandre Renet was ranked third after a brace of impressive Cross Test times . “Everything was perfect,” said Renet. “I started off within reach of the leaders this morning and was able to increase my pace as the day progressed.”
Spain’s Cristobal Guerrero proved to be the best E2 rider from the KTM factory as he finished just off the podium in fourth place. Teammate Johnny Aubert, meanwhile, had a difficult weekend after losing ground on a tricky Enduro test and finding it tough going progressing past the field of 150 competitors. In the end, Johnny had to settle for fifth overall.
“Johnny got stuck on one test on Saturday and on Sunday he had a crash and this cost him time but it was not easy with the slow riders and such a big field,” said KTM team boss Fabio Farioli.
1, Ivan Cervantes, Spain, Gas-Gas, 34
2, Juha Salminen, Finland, HVA, 31
3, Pierre-Alexandre Renet, France, Husaberg, 30
4, Cristobal Guerrero, Spain, KTM, 24
5, Alex Salvini, Italy, HVA, 23
Christophe Nambotin laid down the E3 challenge with a perfect scorecard in Chile. It was the French rider’s first competitive outing for the KTM Enduro Factory Racing Team and he immediately indicated his intentions for the season.
On Saturday, Nambotin set the fastest time in the first five tests to wrap up the day with a commanding 50 seconds lead and said it had been “a perfect day”. But on Sunday he went one better being fastest over six of the eight tests to prove he intends to set the pace in this year’s championship.
“I knew coming into Chile that if I wanted to fight for the title then I needed to win here,” said Nambotin. “I’ve never won the opening round of the championship before so to come away with two victories is the best start that I could have hoped for.”
E3 factory teammate David Knight fought his way back from a bad start on Saturday to finish fourth in what was a close race for the minor places.
Knight, who is making a comeback after double hip surgery took him out for most of the 2011 season, was only four seconds off the pace of second-placed Aigar Leok. It was a different story on Sunday when he had a strong ride. He was second fastest in six of the eight special tests to finish the day on the podium in second place.
“We worked a lot on the setup of the bike during the weekend and it really helped with my riding,” said Knight. “My speed was good and I felt that I was beginning to ride like I know I should. With a better starting position next week in Argentina I hope I can continue to improve my results.
1, Christophe Nambotin, France, KTM, 40
2, Aigar Leok, Estonia, TM, 32
3, David Knight, GBR, KTM, 29
3, Oriol Mena, Spain, Husaberg 26
5, Joakim Ljunggren, Sweden, Husaberg 23
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