It was another strong day for the French in the 2012 Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship as Antoine MEO, Pierre-Alexandre RENET, Christophe NAMBOTIN and Mathias BELLINO all claimed victory in their respective classes at the GP of Euskadi. In the Womens Cup it was Laia SANZ that grabbed the first win of the season.
With 112 competitors taking to the start of the EWC in Munitibar in northern Spain, the forecasted rain held off to provide an exciting and thrilling start to the EWC’s arrival in Europe. With MEO (F - KTM) and NAMBOTIN (F – KTM) continuing to remain unbeaten in Enduro 1 and Enduro 3, it was the performance by RENET (F – Husaberg) in Enduro 2 that confirmed his intention to be a real championship threat this season as he delivered his second victory of the season.
It was yet another victorious day in the EWC for France’s Christophe NAMBOTIN as he claimed his fifth win of the year in Enduro 3. Edging out an early lead on the Friday evening KTM Super Test, the Frenchman continued to stretch his advantage throughout the day.
Proving unbeatable on the challenging Enduro Test, the KTM rider posted his first time of the day almost 30 seconds faster than his competitors. Opening up a comfortable lead at the end of lap one, NAMBOTIN went on to claim victory on Day One by over 95 seconds.“It was another perfect day for me,” commented NAMBOTIN. “I felt really comfortable on the Enduro Test and was able to set some fast times on it. Once I opened up a safe lead I concentrated on controlling it to the finish.”Aft er a daylong battle with the Husaberg pairing of Joakim LJUNGGREN (S) and Spain’s Oriol MENA, Britain’s David KNIGHT (KTM) eventually claimed the runner up position to NAMBOTIN.
Fending off a last lap charge by LJUNGGREN, KNIGHT finished 13 seconds clear of the Husaberg rider to finish in second place. Following a slow start to the morning, LJUNGGREN upped his pace during the final lap to place third.Unable to capitalise on his strong start to the morning, MENA eventually slipped back to fourth while Estonia’s Aigar LEOK (TM), whose progress was hampered by numerous crashes, finished fifth.
Making it five wins from five starts, France’s Antoine MEO was again the clear winner of Enduro 1. After a cautious start to the morning, the KTM rider soon overhauled the fast starting Marc BOURGEOIS (F – Yamaha) as conditions dried out. Setting the fastest time in the final six special tests of the day, MEO eventually placed 52 seconds ahead of BOURGEOIS.“I found it difficult this morning,” confirmed MEO.
“It was quite muddy early on and I struggled to find grip in some of the grassy corners but once the conditions dried I was able to up my pace and secure my fifth victory of the season.” BOURGEOIS once again proved to be the revelation of Enduro 1. Posting the fastest time in the Friday evening KTM Super Test, the Frenchman etched out an early lead on Day One over MEO. However, unable to match the pace of his fellow Frenchman during the afternoon, BOURGEOIS eventually settled for second. Finding the conditions to his liking, Finland’s Eero REMES (KTM) recorded his third rostrum finish of the season with third place.With Italy’s Simone ALBERGONI (HM Honda) ending his day in fourth, Rodrig THAIN (HM Honda) completed the top five.
In the highly competitive Enduro 2 class, France’s Pierre Alexandre RENET secured victory on Day One. Settling into an early lead after the first Extreme Test of the morning, RENET gradually grew his lead as the day progressed to claim a well-earned win.“I’m so happy to have won today,” remarked RENET. “The conditions were perfect and it reminded me of my home tracks. Once I got into the lead I just tried to build on it throughout the day and end the day strongly.
”For France’s Johnny AUBERT (KTM) second place on Day One was a satisfactory result. Putting his disappointing results in South America behind him, the Frenchman put in a strong ride to finish 20 seconds behind RENET. Continuing to deliver solid results in the EWC, Spain’s Cristobal GUERRERO (KTM) ended his day in third place j ust 10 seconds adrift of teammate AUBERT.Although only his first race in the 2012 EWC season, KTM’s Jeremy TARROUX wasted little time in making his presence felt by finishing fourth overall. Finland’s Juha SALMINEN (Husqvarna) completed the top five.
In Enduro Junior Mathias BELLINO (Husaberg) set the fastest time in all but two of the ten special tests to record a commanding victory. Powerless to match the pace of the Husaberg rider, Italy’s Jonathan MANZI (KTM) beat Spain’s Victor GUERRERO (KTM) by five seconds to finish in second. With GUERRERO in third, Argentina’s Kevin BENAVIDES (KTM) placed fourth while Italy’s Mario ROMAN (KTM), now fully recovered from a knee injury, completed the top five.Italy’s Giacomo REDONDI (KTM) recorded another commanding win in the Enduro Youth Cup. Husaberg’s Matteo BRESOLIN (I) was second with Portugal’s Luis OLIVERIA (Yamaha) third.
With the GP of Euskadi marking the first outing in the Womens Cup, it was Spain’s Laia SANZ (Gas Gas) that claimed the opening victory of the season. Withstanding a fierce battle from defending champion Ludivine PUY (F - Gas Gas), SANZ narrowly placed just nine seconds in front of her teammate. KTM’s Audrey ROSSAT (F) finished third while the French duo of Juliette BERREZ (TM) and Blandine DUFRENE (HUSABERG) rounded out the top five.