It’s the first time a FIM Women’s World Championship round is held in Vantaa and the crowd couldn’t be more pleased as well as the riders who are happy to show their skills on the fast Finnish track after the windy race in Sevlievo and the rainy one in Greece. On the Vantaa-Speedway venue the temperatures reached 28 degrees on a perfectly prepared track.
KTM Red Bull Teka Factory Team rider Steffi Laier started the day by being the fastest in free-practice although on a boiling hot pre-qualifying session had to give it up to Chiara Fontanesi and KTM Sarholz rider Larissa Papenmeier. In the afternoon’s qualifying race they made the top-three once more with Steffi leading the race almost from start to finish as Papenmeier got the holeshot but crashed while attacking one slippery corner having to recover positions from seventh to third. Chiara had an average start and sat on second place after passing Elin Mann’s Regenta Racing team rider Sara Pettersson who got a great start managing to hold in second and then third, only giving it up to a faster Papenmeier.
While the first three riders continue to break up from the rest of the pack with at least one second per lap, the competition is clearly catching up and the group fighting for fourth place will soon see its ‘dissident’ on the podium. Sara Pettersson, Francesca Nocera, Anne Borchers and Marianne Veenstra were the main candidates on today’s qualifying race after Marielle de Mol having a small crash right after the start.
Britt van der Wekken, Marie Petersen and Joanna Miller closed the top-ten but still on the same lap as the winner. One of the main Finnish riders, Ria Virtanen crashed during practice and also Sanna Kärkkäinen while practicing to the make her debut on this FIM WMX round in her home country.
“I was expecting the track to have more sand and harder to ride. I think that it will be again Chiara and Larissa tomorrow. I don’t know if Larissa was riding 100% but she should be the strongest one.”
“I think I started in sixth or seventh position. Between me and Steffi the riders were not as fast so she could get her rhythm but I couldn’t. When I got to second I saw that I could get closer to Steffi but I hold the position and I’ll try to do it tomorrow instead. I like the sand and I think this track can make a difference.”
“Good start -crash! (laughs) I had the holeshot but I couldn’t turn in the corner because it was too slippery. Steffi and Sara went pass and then I tried to pass Sara and crashed. I like this track; it’s fun but not so easy to pass! I’m looking forward for tomorrow!”
WMX Qualifying Race : 1 Laier, Stephanie GER, 2 Fontanesi, Chiara ITA, 3 Papenmeier, Larissa GER, 4 Pettersson, Sara SWE, 5 Nocera, Francesca ITA, 6 Borchers, Anne GER, 7 Veenstra, Marianne NED, 8 van der Wekken, Britt NED, 9 Pettersen, Marie S. NOR, 10 Miller, Joanna POL