World Enduro Championship ’08 – Round 7, Piediluco, Italy, 27-28.9.2008
Seb Guillaume closes in on E3 world title following GP of Italy
CH Racing Husqvarna rider Seb Guillaume is now just 18 points away from the top of the Enduro 3 world championship standings with one round of the ’08 series remaining – the GP of Europe, which takes place in France in two weeks time. Finishing on the podium on both days at the GP of Italy, staged in Piediluco, central Italy, Seb’s second place result on day one and his third place performance on day two put him within striking distance of current E3 championship leader Samuli Aro. Seb now has everything to fight for at the final round of the ’08 WEC series, an event that will effectively be his second ‘home’ GP of the year.
Finishing on the podium on both days just as he did at the GP of France and the GP of Wales Seb pushed hard throughout the opening day’s competition in the hope of topping the E3 class. The fastest E3 rider on each of the three timed extreme tests, Seb outpaced countryman Christophe Nambotin, who eventually placed third, but wasn’t able to match the pace of winner Stefan Merriman. Importantly for Seb, Samuli Aro, who currently leads the E3 championship standings, placed fourth.
On day two Seb again performed well on the technical extreme test as well as posting the fastest E3 class time on the opening motocross test. But having been kept extremely busy in recent weeks helping France to win the Trophy team competition at the ISDE in Greece, as well as competing in a French Enduro Championship event the weekend before the GP of Italy, on day two Seb found himself unable to give 100 per cent. Ending the day feeling tired he dropped one position from his day one result and placed third. Importantly for Seb Aro finished sixth.
In the Enduro 2 class Antoine Meo endured a mixed weekend finishing a disappointing 12th on day one having damaged his front brake caliper when he hit a rock before bouncing back to narrowly miss out on a podium finish on day two. Finishing as high as third in class on one of the special tests on day one Antoine dropped one-minute having struggled through the tight time control with only his rear brake. On day two the enduro rookie was much more competitive and found himself locked in a battle with Italian Alessandro Belometti. Extremely fast on the long motocross test Antoine lost precious seconds on the enduro test, which resulted in him placing fourth at the end of the day. Antoine missed the final podium position by less than half a second.
Bartosz Oblucki ended the GP of Italy having finished with the exact same results as he secured at the GP of Wales - sixth on day one and eighth on day two. Although not the results he’d hoped for Bartosz held fourth for much of the first day’s competition having performed well on the extreme, motocross and enduro tests. Disappointingly, on the final enduro test Bartosz stalled his bike and was unable to re-start it for close to one-minute, which dropped him to his eventual finishing position of sixth. On day two Bartosz made a promising start finishing second on the opening extreme test but finished an eventual eighth.
In the Enduro Junior class Marc Bourgeois returned to the WEC having missed the last two events due to injury but failed to perform at his best. Finishing seventh on day one Marc dropped to eighth on day two but still currently holds third in the EJ world championship standings.
The final round of the ’08 World Enduro Championship – the GP of Europe, takes place in Mende, France on October 11-12.
Seb Guillaume: “I had a really good first day but Stefan Merriman was just too fast for me. I was fast on the extreme test and I tried to be as fast as I could on the enduro test, but Merriman was just too fast. He finished almost 30 seconds ahead, but I was pleased to have finished second. On day two I was really tired. After the ISDE I raced a French championship event and now a tough GP of Italy. I wasn’t able to repeat my runner-up position from day one but I finished third, which is good for my championship. Now I am really looking forward to the final round of the championship because things are close at the top of the E3 championship. There’s still a lot to fight for.”
Antoine Meo: “The first day was going well but I hit a stone and twisted the front brake caliper, which was causing the front brake to come on every time the wheel turned. I crashed many, many times because of that. I took one-minute of time penalties on the tight time control and made a lot of mistakes on some of the tests as well. I was losing quite a lot of time on the enduro test on day two so I decided to change my style, to see if my times improved. I thought I was riding too aggressively – I have to learn how hard to push in the enduro tests. My goal now is to finish on the podium on both days in France.”
Bartosz Oblucki: “The first day was going well until I staled my bike on the final enduro test. I wasn’t sure what happened but it took me one-minute to re-start the bike, which dropped me to sixth. I was fourth before that, ahead of Albergoni and Cervantes. The second day wasn’t so good. I had troubles stalling the bike again. From 11 special tests I only had two or three that went really well. I pushed hard all day but I guess it wasn’t my day.”
2008 World Enduro Championship
Grand Prix of Italy – Day 1
Enduro 1 class
1. Mika Ahola (Honda) 1:09:21.90; 2. Marc Germain (Yamaha) 1:09:46.61; 3. Maurizio Micheluz (Yamaha) 1:10:46.61; 4. Ivan Cervantes (KTM) 1:10:33.78; 5. Simone Albergoni (Yamaha) 1:10:36.35; 6. Bartosz Oblucki (CH Racing Husqvarna) 1:11:11.28; 7. Mike Hartman (KTM) 1:12:10.66; 8. Damien Miquel (Yamaha) 1:12:45.73; 9. Tom Sagar (KTM) 1:13:12.43; 10. Luca Cherubini (TM) 1:13:39.17; 11. Jari Mattila (Honda) 1:12:39.17; 12. Eero Remes (KTM) 1:14:29.76; 13 Giuliano Falgari (Honda) 1:15:08.40; 14. Jakub Horak (KTM) 1:17:01.85