DEBUT E1 WIN FOR SANTOLINO IN ITALY
The Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship GP Acerbis of Italy ended on a high in Rovetta with Sherco’s Lorenzo Santolino claiming his debut Enduro 1 class victory.
With chewed up special tests, a long physical day of hard fought racing putting the EWC competitors through their paces and a passionate Italian crowd to cheer the riders home, the fifth round of the series in Italy was certainly one to remember for all the right reasons.
In attack mode after his loss on Saturday, KTM’s Antoine Meo was determined to leave Italy with at least one victory to his tally. Hitting hard from the off, Meo won the first four special tests to open up an early advantage. Keeping the level high for the remainder day, the Frenchman secured the win.
“That was one tough race,” claimed Meo. “It was really hard today on the specials – so rough, bumpy and technical. I feel like I rode much better than Saturday, more controlled, less mistakes. And that’s what made the difference. It’s been a good win and an important win for the championship.”
Faced with a much more determined Meo on day two, Husqvarna’s Pela Renet wasn’t able to make it a double victory in Italy. Despite pushing hard and making no mistakes, Renet was forced to settle for the runner-up result.
Still suffering the effects of his crash on day one, Italy’s Alex Salvini (Honda) wasn’t able to challenge for a home win in Rovetta and ended his day third. Carding identical results to that of Saturday, Jaume Betriu (Husqvarna) and Loic Larrieu (Sherco) were fourth and fifth respectively.
Celebrating his birthday in the best possible way, KTM’s Matt Phillips secured his second victory of the weekend. Despite trailing Mathias Bellino (Husqvarna) after the first two tests, Phillips picked up his pace as the conditions deteriorated to claim a 34-second margin of victory.
“Winning races on your birthday is a pretty good way to top off a great weekend,” told Phillips. “Mathias attacked hard in the beginning but I wasn’t too far off and felt like I had some more to give. I just concentrated on my times, got my nose in front and managed to pull away for the win.”
Although starting out strongly, Bellino saw his early advantage eliminated with a big mistake on the opening enduro test. Losing 20 seconds to Phillips in the process, the Husqvarna rider did well to recover and secure second position.
Firmly up to speed on his new KTM, Antoine Basset delivered his best result of the season to date and joined both Phillips and Bellino on the podium in third place.
Improving over his previous day’s result, Beta’s Luis Correia ended his day strongly in fourth while Manuel Monni (TM) gave his home crowd a result to cheer for with fifth.
Claiming first ever senior class victory, Sherco’s Lorenzo Santolino was the deserved winner of the Enduro 1 class. Making amends for his previous day’s mistakes, the Sherco rider delivered a strong ride. Holding off attacks from both Eero Remes (TM) and Christophe Nambotin (KTM), Santolino was rewarded with the top step of the podium.
“It feels incredible to take my first win,” confirmed Santolino. “I was riding well all weekend but mistakes cost me yesterday. I knew my speed was there and today I kept it all together to take the win. I’m so happy right now.”
Looking to make it two wins in Italy, Remes didn’t have an answer for Santolino. But by securing the runner-up result, the TM rider became the new championship leader of the Enduro 1 class.
Trouble by his injured knee, Nambotin made some uncharacteristic mistakes and lost touch with the leading duo to end his day in third.
Giving Kawasaki a top four result in E1, Italy’s Simone Albergoni placed fourth with Husqvarna’s Danny McCanney dropping two positions from Saturday to fifth.
In the Enduro Junior class, Beta’s Steve Holcombe topped the podium. Second on day one, the Beta rider found some extra speed throughout day two to edge out Husqvarna’s Jamie McCanney for the win.
Making it two podium visits in his home race, Beta’s Giacomo Redondi completed the top three. Italians Alessandro Battig (Honda) and Matteo Bresolin (KTM) rounded out the top five.
Riding high on confidence following his dominant victory on day one, Sweden’s Mikael Persson (Yamaha) made it two wins from two starts in Italy. Following Persson home for the runner-up result, Husqvarna’s Joesp Garcia was second with Italy’s Michele Marchelli (Husqvarna) completing the top three. David Abgrall (Yamaha) and Jack Edmondson (KTM) were fourth and fifth respectively.
The Maxxis FIM Enduro World Championship continues with the penultimate round of the series at the GP FunnelWeb Filter of Belgium in St. Hubert on July 11/12.