It was time for celebration on day one at the penultimate round of the Maxxis Enduro World Championship at the GP Radio Suomi Pop Finland as KTM’s Christophe NAMBOTIN is crowned the Enduro 3 World Champion…
It’s what’s been a stunning year for the Frenchman; NAMBOTIN steered his way to a 12th victory this season to clinch the title. Adding to the KTM celebrations, Frenchman Antoine MEO recovered from a difficult start to his morning to win the Enduro 1 class while the French Husaberg pairing of Pela RENET and Mathias BELLINO claimed victory in the Enduro 2 and Enduro Junior to ensure a day to remember for France.
Hoping for a strong showing at his home race, Finland’s Eero REMES (KTM) was a non-starter on day one as a broken wheel during the Friday evening KTM Super Test ruled him out of contention. The difficult rocky forestry enduro test took its toll on numerous riders as Britain’s David KNIGHT (KTM) and Gas Gas’ Sebastien GUILLAUME (F) and Johnny AUBERT (F – KTM) crashed out of the race. Although putting in his best performance of the season, Finland’s Marko TARKKALA (Beta) was ruled out of a podium result when he picked up a one-minute noise penalty. In the fight for the Enduro 2 championship honours, Husqvarna’s Juha SALMINEN (FIN) kept his title hopes alive in benefitting from a one-minute time penalty by his teammate Alex SALVINI (I) to finish third.
On day one in Finland, KTM’s Christophe NAMBOTIN delivered a winning performance in E3 to clinch his first enduro world championship title. Putting his nervous tension bay, the Frenchman kept his cool to seal the championship with a victory. Winning all bar two of the day’s ten special tests, NAMBOTIN was crowned the 2012 Enduro 3 World Champion.
“I’m so happy right now,” said a delighted NAMBOTIN, the new world champion. “I knew I could win the title today so I pushed hard for victory. This season has been more than perfect for me and finally the dream of becoming world champion is realised.”With Nambotin securing his 12th win of the season, the battle behind him was fought out between Sweden’s Joakim LJUNGGREN (Husaberg), Estonia’s Aigar LEOK (TM) and home favourite Finland&rsqu o;s Marko TARKKALA (Beta) until a time penalty pushed the Beta rider back to seventh. With LEOK holding second until the final enduro test of the day, the TM rider crashed hard on the slippery rocky track and handed the runner up position to the Swede. Remounting unscathed, LEOK claimed the final step of the podium with third place.Although delivering a strong ride throughout the day, it was his costly mistake on the opening extreme test that prevented Spain’s Oriol MENA (Husaberg) from challenging for a top three finish. Ending his day in fourth position, MENA placed 17 seconds clear of fifth place Italy’s Manuel MONNI (KTM).
After a slow start to his morning due to riding too cautious on the first enduro test, KTM’s Antoine MEO found himself in the unfamiliar position of sixth overall in the Enduro 1 category. Gradually beginning to find his confidence in the rocky and challenging enduro test, he soon worked his way into contention for the race lead. Putting in a final charge for victory on the last lap, the Frenchman claimed the win by three seconds from Finland’s Matti SEISTOLA (Husqvarna).“I rode too cautious on the opening lap,” admitted MEO at the end of day one. “Once I was able to find my rhythm I began to push. I gave it everything I had on the final lap and was able to win.”Involved in a frantic battle for victory with Rodrig Thain (F &nda sh; HM Honda), SEISTOLA looked on course to claim his first victory of the season. Holding off the constant challenge from THAIN during the first two laps, the Husqvarna rider was unable to keep MEO at bay and had to settle for the runner up position. Making amends for his disappointing result at the GP of Sweden, THAIN returned to the podium for the first time since the GP of Portugal to finish third.Finishing just 21 seconds behind the fight for victory, France’s Fabien PLANET (Sherco) secured fourth position while Italy’s Thomas OLDRATI (KTM) ended his day in fifth.
In the Enduro 2 class, the championship fight continues to intensify between the leading duo of Pela RENET and Cristobal GUERRERO. With little to separate the pair on the opening two laps, Renet managed to build up a slender advantage until a crash on the final cross test closed the gap once more. Setting the fastest time in the final enduro test, the Husaberg rider narrowly beat his rival by four seconds. Taking an important victory on day one, RENET extended his championship lead to eight points over GUERRERO.“Today was an important victory in the championship,” confirmed RENET. “I crashed on the final cross test and Cristobal closed the gap to one-second. I pushed to my maximum in the end uro test and was able to win. It’s been a big fight today.”Battling hard for victory, Spain’s Cristobal GUERRERO (KTM) was not able to take advantage of a crash by his rival in the final cross test and had to be content with second position. Benefitting from a one-minute time penalty by his teammate Alex SALVNI, Husqvarna’s Juha SALMINEN improved his position to finish third. With Salvini dropping back to sixth, Portugal’s Luis CORREIA (Yamaha) finished eight seconds behind SALMINEN to place fourth while Spain’s Ivan CERVANTES (Gas Gas) rounded out the top five.
Making short work of the demanding Finnish terrain, Husaberg’s Mathias BELLINO delivered another flawless performance to secure his tenth win of the season in the Enduro Junior class. Remaining on the second step of the podium for the second weekend in a row, Britain’s Danny MCCANNEY (Gas Gas) finished as runner to BELLINO. Enjoying the technical and challenging enduro test, Italy’s Rudy MORONI (KTM) ended his day in third. Missing out on a podium result by seven seconds, Italy’s Jonathan MANZI (KTM) was fourth with Sweden’s Robert KVARNSTROM (Beta) completing the top three.There was no change in the Enduro Youth Cup proceedings as Italy’s Giacomo REDONDI (KTM) continue d his winning ways to claim the race win. Britain’s Jamie MCCANNEY (Husaberg) repeated his podium result for the GP of Sweden to end his day in second while Husaberg’s mounted Matteo BRESOLIN (I) finished third.