Antoine MEO and Christophe NAMBOTIN claimed their third consecutive victories in Enduro 1 and Enduro 3 classes of the 2012 Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship at the GP of Argentina. Spain’s Ivan CERVANTES secured a sensational victory in Enduro 2 to mark his first win with Gas Gas this season while Jonathan MANZI topped the Enduro Junior class.
With riders facing a long and demanding day of racing in the scorching heat of South America, day one at the GP of Argentina in San Juan proved to be a challenging one for all the 146 competitors. Ivan CERVANTES (E – Gas Gas) secured his first victory in over one and a half years by winning Enduro 2. Marc BOURGEOIS (F- Yamaha) continues to impress in Enduro 1 as he grabbed yet another podium finish. After establishing an early lead in Enduro 2, Finland’s Juha SALMINEN (Husqvarna) became the biggest shock of day one when he retired following a stone getting caught between his front sprocket and chain, locking his rear wheel.
Gas Gas’ Ivan CERVANTES finally ended his one and a half year win drought as he took full advantage of SALMINEN’S misfortune to top Enduro 2. With SALMINEN setting the early pace, the Finnish rider caught a stone in his chain during the third Cross Test, which ended his chance of victory. With the Husqvarna rider out, CERVANTES suddenly found himself with a 30-second advantage. Controlling his lead the Spaniard took a well-earned victory. “I’m so happy to have finally won again,” declared CERVANTES after the podium celebrations. “It’s been a long time since I last won and I’m very grateful to be able to give Gas Gas this important victory.”
Behind CERVANTES a battle ensued between KTM riders Cristobal GUERRERO (E) and Johnny AUBERT (F) for runner up. AUBERT held the initial advantage until GUERRERO upped his pace on the final lap to overhaul the Frenchman and secure second. Finishing in third place, AUBERT put his disappointing results in Chile behind him. After his win on day two in the GP of Chile, Pierre-Alexandre RENET (F - Husaberg) was unable to repeat his winning result in Argentina and finished in fourth. Although winning the final Cross Test of the day, Italy’s Alex SALVINI (Husqvarna) finished one-second behind in fifth. Fabio MOSSINI (I - KTM) completed the top six.
France’s Christophe NAMBOTIN (KTM) continues to set the pace in Enduro 3. After his double victory in Chile, the KTM rider claimed the win on day one in Argentina. Winning the Friday night Super Test, NAMBOTIN set a relentless pace throughout the day. Topping all but one of the day’s special tests, he claimed a commanding 70-second winning margin over his KTM teammate David KNIGHT (GB).
“It was difficult in the hot conditions but I was able to find a strong pace early on which helped me to open up a healthy lead,” said a pleased NAMBOTIN. “Aside from a small crash in the Extreme Test it’s been another perfect race for me and to be fastest in the overall classification is an added bonus. Hopefully I can repeat these results again tomorrow.”
KTM’s David KNIGHT was the closest challenger to the Frenchman. Finishing in second place, KNIGHT also set the fastest time in the final test to mark yet another solid result in South America. Missing out on the podium in Chile, Sweden’s Joakim LJUNGGREN (Husaberg) finished in third place on a day one in Argentina. Finding conditions to his liking he placed 37 seconds behind KNIGHT.
Estonia’s Aigar LEOK (TM Racing) looked capable of recording a podium result until a crash in the very technical Extreme Test set him back. LEOK eventually recovered to finish fourth. Germany’s Marcus KEHR (KTM) put in a strong ride to finish fifth while Oriol MENA (E - Husaberg) was sixth.
KTM’s Antoine MEO (F) was unstoppable in Enduro 1 as he took another commanding victory. Setting a blistering pace on the opening lap, MEO quickly established an early lead. Fastest in all but the final Enduro Test of the day, the Frenchman earned his third victory of 2012. “This has been another incredible day for me,” confirmed the KTM rider. “I pushed as hard as I could during the morning to try an open up an advantage as I knew it would be difficult once the special tests became rougher. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to push for the overall win as NAMBOTIN was too fast today but I’m so happy to win again.”
Frenchman Marc BOURGEOIS enjoyed a successful day as he finished runner up to MEO. Posting some very consistent times throughout the day, BOURGEOIS secured a very impressive second place in Enduro 1. Following on from his second position on day two at the GP of Chile, Italy’s Simone ALBERGONI (HM Honda) finished in third place. For Finland’s Eero REMES (KTM) finishing in fourth place was a frustrating end to his day. Battling hard with both BOURGEOIS and ALBERGONI, REMES narrowly lost out on a podium result by less than two seconds. Italy’s Thomas OLDRATI (KTM) finished in fifth beating sixth placed Rodrig THAIN (F – HM Honda) by four-seconds.
In Enduro Junior, Italy’s Jonathon MANZI (KTM) put a stop to Mathias BELLINO’s winning ways as he took victory on day one. With BELLINO (F – Husaberg) finishing five second’s behind the Italian, Argentina’s Kevin BENAVIDES (KTM) rode a terrific race to finish third in front of his home crowd.
Italy’s Giacomo REDONDI (KTM) claimed his second victory of the year in the Enduro Youth Cup. Benjamin HERRERA (CHI - TM) finished in second place while Stefano CAIMI (ARG - KTM) was third.