Not a single Grand Prix this year seems to have escaped the head, and certainly, upon arriving in Fethiye (Turkey), on the shores of the Aegean Sea, the weather has continued with this trend and has not ease for the 70 participants in this 4th leg of the season.
To be honest, the whole crew of the caravan of the MAXXIS FIM ENDURO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP would rather be enjoying the beaches and the crystalline waters rather than enduring the 7 hours of riding, 180 kms of difficult routes and 13 very technical and demanding timed specials.
Despite the cancellation of the KTM SUPER TEST last night (due to security reasons) and the difficulties following the Turkish elections on this first day, taking place unusually on a Friday, the race went quite well, under the glaring sun and temperatures of around 40 degrees.
The conditions of the race seem rather familiar to the Spaniards who managed an astounding double in the ENDURO 2 with in particular, Cristobal GUERRERO’s (KTM) superb victory, who establishes himself brilliantly after having battled all day with his fellow countryman, Ivan CERVANTES, who rode easily on his 250 GAS GAS 2 stroke. “this is my 3rd Grand Prix victory of my career and my first on my KTM. Through the races I am feeling more and more comfortable on the bike and we are working well with the team mechanics. And then, I felt very comfortable on this difficult circuit, and as I like the heat….”
Once again at a distance at the end of the first lap, from the leader of the championship Antoine MEO (FRA - HVA) finishes the day well, but unable to reach the Spanish duo. A moment of struggle with Guerrero and Cervantes, Johnny AUBERT (FRA - KTM), finished with a bit more difficulty, but showed courage, due to his painful foot, following his injury at the Italian GP. An unexpected Spanish double in Enduro 2, therefore, with an excellent effort from Ivan Cervantes who regains some important points against Antoine MEO.
Like the Spaniards, the Finnish shone once again in ENDURO 1, with an impeccable double for the HUSQVARNA “SALMINEN/SEISTOLA” duo. With this new victory, the 4th this season, Juha Salminen reinforces his position in the lead…. But will have to rely more and more on his teammate Matti SEISTOLA who makes good progress from race to race and does not budge in front of his teammate SALMINEN in the last timed section for 2 seconds after a 51 minute lap!
“It was a demanding day, but full of rhythm with its series of timed specials. This made the race even more exciting and to win obviously gives me great satisfaction… but the season is still long!”
A good performance as well from the Frenchman Rodrig THAIN (HM HONDA) who for a long while kept the lead and was behind SALMINEN by only 9 seconds…. A larger distance from him was Eero REMES (FIN - KTM) who gives Juha Salminen some big points from the point of view of the Championship, whilst the other KTM rider, Thomas OLDRATI, abandons half-way through the day and showed himself to be completely of their league.
On the other hand, Lorenzo SANTOLINO (ESP - KTM) and Nicolas DEPARROIS (FRA - KAWA) regain some control after a difficult start to the season (5th and 6th).
No surprise in the ENDURO 3, however, where Mika AHOLA (FIN - HM HONDA) crushes the opposition accompanied by the Swede Joakim LJUNGGREN (HUSABERG), who achieves a very promising second place. Mika Ahola was decidedly too good today and it would have taken Christophe NAMBOTIN (FRA - GAS GAS) a great deal of work to combat this effort. But the GAS GAS representative fell several times in the first few specials, therefore losing all hope of victory.
A lovely surprise in the JUNIORS where the young Spaniard Mario ROMAN (KTM) wins his first victory of the season and shows the Spanish skill in this first day. Anti HELLSTEN (FIN -KTM) completes a great double in the under 23s category for KTM and once again, the French man Benoit FORTUNATO (YAMAHA) proves his potential and completes the podium.
Compatriots Romain DUMONTIER (YAM) and Jeremy JOLY (FRA - HM HONDA) lose once again precious point in his duel with Anti Hellsten for the title. Jonathan MANZI (ITA - KTM) once again wins the FIM YOUTH CUP 125 and saves the Italian honour.
Eero REMES, Antoine MEO, Johnny AUBERT, Christophe NAMBOTIN, Sébasiten GUILLAUME… are therefore amongst the first vanquished of the day. A reaction from them is therefore expected in tomorrow’s 2nd day of the Supertoto Turkish GP which promises to be an exciting affair.