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Josep Garcia Holds Advantage On Opening Day At BR2 Enduro Solsona
Josep Garcia takes an early lead at round seven of the World Enduro Super Series with victory on day one of BR2 Enduro Solsona in Spain. Delivering a masterclass in Classic Enduro racing, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider ends the opening day of competition with a healthy 40-second advantage over teammates Nathan Watson (GB) and Jonny Walker (GB).
In what proved to be a top-five clean sweep for KTM, Manuel Lettenbichler (GER) and Taddy Blazusiak (POL) place fourth and fifth respectively.
Following Friday nightís action-packed Super Test in Solsona, Saturday saw the 350-strong entry set out on what would prove to be a long and physical day of racing.
A lengthy liaison took competitors from Solsona to nearby Bassella, where they faced the Cross Test, Extreme Test and Enduro Test at the Bassella Experience centre. They then returned to Solsona to complete the loop. A second lap of the course - ending with an additional Super Test - ensured many tired and weary bodies on Saturday evening.
Garcia Out To Early Lead
Determined to maximise his Classic Enduro skills, Garcia quickly got down to business on Saturday after a mixed-outing in Fridayís Super Test. Quickest on the opening Enduro Test and then again on the Cross Test, he ended lap one leading. Building on his advantage during the final lap, he returned to Solsona as the provisional overnight leader.
Behind him, Watson gave chase. Pushing hard, but not quite able to consistently match the Spaniardís pace in the Enduro or Cross Test, he had to be content with ending day one in second position.
Winning Fridayís Super Test, Walker showed heís up to speed in the Classic Enduro discipline. Boosted by some of the fastest times in the technical Extreme Test, he starts Sunday in a strong podium position and within range of Watson.
Battle For Top-Five Remains Close
For championship leader Lettenbichler the opening day of racing went better than expected. Enjoying an exciting battle with Blazusiak and Walker, while setting some impressive test times, the German will look to hold off Blazusiak in the battle for fourth and maintain the pressure on Walker.
Ending day one just four seconds behind Blazusiak, Hondaís Kirian Mirabet (ESP) will look to bridge that gap on Sunday. Showing more speed on the Cross Test, Mirabet will be pushing hard to claim fifth or better.
Yamahaís Cristobal Guerrero (ESP) had a difficult start to his day when a crash cost him valuable time on lap one. Regrouping, he worked his way back up the leader board to place seventh, but is less than 10 seconds behind Blazusiak, ensuring a close battle tomorrow for a top-five result.
Josep Garcia (KTM - ESP): ďI had a really good first day here in Spain. I did make a few mistakes and crashed a couple of times, but thankfully it didnít affect my rhythm too much, I just lost a few seconds. Tomorrow I will try to stay on the bike all day and stay ahead of the others. Nathan is really fast and Jonny and Taddy are both really good in the Extreme Test, but my plan is to stay focused because itís going to be another long day.Ē
Christophe Nambotin (Gas Gas - FRA): ďThe track was really good today Ė I havenít done the whole WESS championship so my start position was not so great. I had to start quite far back and it was difficult in the tests with all the dust for me. I made a mistake in the Enduro test and that cost me a lot of time. Overall, I am really enjoying it and itís good to race against the guys in front.Ē
Cristobal Guerrero (Yamaha - ESP): ďThings went well for me today, I did have one moment in the Cross Test where I started well but then lost the rear wheel on the big jump. I had a big crash and lost about 25-30 seconds. The last lap went better, my test times improved and so Iím happy with that. Itís a tough day, the control is really long - about one hour and 40 minutes - and itís really tiring.Ē
Pol Tarres (Husqvarna - ESP): ďIím still new to Classic Enduro so learning where and how to be fast sometimes is tricky for me. On the Enduro Test Iím happy - my position is not too bad. The Extreme Test went really well and my times were inside the top three. Iím losing out on the Cross Test but Iím gaining experience all the time and have a good feeling for tomorrow.Ē
Sandra Gomez (Husqvarna - ESP): ďItís always good to race with the guys at WESS, but today was really very tough. The track wasnít too tricky, but I found it hard to get used to it and push. Iím improving day by day but itís still difficult. My rhythm on the time control was good, but to change your pace when you get to the tests is difficult sometimes. Overall, it was a nice day, very long but Iím looking forward to tomorrow.Ē
Results - Round 7: BR2 Enduro Solsona, Day 1
1. Josep Garcia (KTM - ESP) 45:49.650; 2. Nathan Watson (KTM - GB) 46:29.920; 3. Jonny Walker (KTM - GB) 46:45.240; 4. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM - GER) 47:02.870; 5. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM - POL) 47:45.830; 6. Kirian Mirabet (Honda - ESP) 47:49.840; 7. Cristobal Guerrero (Yamaha - ESP) 47:54.760; 8. Jaume Betriu (KTM - ESP) 48:01.460; 9. Bernat Cortes (KTM - ESP) 48:15.280; 10. Tosha Schareina (Husqvarna - ESP) 48:24.220Ö
Photo credit: Future7Media
Josep Garcia Claims Home WESS Win At BR2 Enduro Solsona
Spainís Josep Garcia (KTM) delivers a home win at BR2 Enduro Solsona for round seven of the World Enduro Super Series. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider proved uncatchable as he led home Britainís Nathan Watson (KTM) and Jonny Walker (KTM) in second and third respectively.
Championship leader Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM - GER) extended his advantage in the standings with fourth, moving a step closer to becoming the 2019 ULTIMATE ENDURO WORLD CHAMPION. Yamahaís Cristobal Guerrero (ESP) rode an incredible final lap to snatch fifth from Taddy Blazusiak (POL) and deny KTM a clean sweep of the top-five.
Garcia Rules The Roost
Building on his winning momentum from Saturday, local rider Garcia locked his sights on victory at round seven. Starting out Sunday with a 45-second advantage over teammate Watson, he pushed hard from the off. Maximising his time on the Cross Test and Enduro Test, while limiting the damage on the technical Extreme Test, he controlled his lead to secure the top step of the podium.
With a sizeable deficit to Garcia, Watson always knew overhauling his teammate in Spain was going to be a tall ask. Keeping the Spaniard honest throughout, he cemented himself as the runner-up to ensure his second podium result in as many races.
Clearly demonstrating his Classic Enduro speed matches his Hard Enduro talents, Walker looked both fast and comfortable in the dry and dusty Solsona conditions as he battled for third. With time in hand over Lettenbichler in fourth, he maintained his third position.
Lettenbichler Extends WESS Lead
Entering BR2 Enduro Solsona, championship leader Lettenbichler initially hoped for a top-10 result among the many Spanish Classic Enduro specialists. But also proving that heís adept in the special tests, the German held on to a strong fourth position.
The battle for fifth was a close affair between Guerrero and Blazusiak. The Polish rider held fifth overnight and was determined to sign out with a top-five result. A crash on lap one of Saturday saw Guerrero fight his way back into contention.
Starting Sunday in sixth, he gained time on Blazusiak in the Enduro and Cross test, but lost time on the Extreme test. Putting everything into the final Super Test he managed to overthrow the KTM rider, beating him by eight seconds.
Hondaís Kirian Mirabet (ESP) edged out Jaume Betriu (KTM - ESP) by just one second to take seventh, while Marzal Schareina (Husqvarna - ESP) and Ramon Quer (Husqvarna - ESP) rounded out the top-10.
The 2019 World Enduro Super Series concludes with the eighth and final round at Germanyís GetzenRodeo on Saturday November 2. Watch the crowning moment of this yearís ULTIMATE ENDURO WORLD CHAMPION live on Red Bull TV.
Josep Garcia (KTM - ESP): ďIt felt great to take the win here at home in front of all my friends and family. I couldnít have asked for more really. Yesterday I had a couple of crashes, but today went perfectly. I had to take a lot of care in the final Supertest but I knew I had some seconds to spare. The racing was so tight, Nathan has been close all weekend and also the Hard Enduro guys have been really quick here too. Naturally, I felt a little extra pressure coming here for my home event, but that only motivated me even more. Overall itís been the perfect weekend.Ē
Nathan Watson (KTM - GB): ďJosep was on fire here in Spain and really pushed hard, especially on that first lap yesterday. It was always going to be hard to catch him after that. But to finish second and earn more WESS points is a good weekend.Ē
Jonny Walker (KTM - GB): ďItís been a good race here in Spain, Iím really happy to get on the podium again. Iím starting to feel like I am getting back into a groove. The race started well with a win in the Super Test and Iím really pleased with how I rode on both Saturday and Sunday - I was on top of the extreme test. The plan now is to get a good result at GetzenRodeo and hopefully come away with second in the championship.Ē
Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM - GER): ďI feel so pleased right now. I came here with no expectations at all, even though I was feeling quite confident after Hawkstone. I thought top-10 would be a good result, so to finish fourth feels amazing.Ē
Cristobal Guerrero (Yamaha - ESP): ďToday I found my rhythm and was able to get fifth position. Luckily, I had a good final Super Test Ė I got a good start and was able to get in behind Josep. Thankfully that was enough to overtake Taddy for fifth place overall. I think having WESS here in Spain has been good for both the Spanish championship and WESS. Itís good to see a lot of different riders racing and itís a very different race for the WESS championship too with a lot of variety between all the test. Itís been a great weekend and Iíve really enjoyed it.Ē
Results - World Enduro Super Series, Round 7
1. Josep Garcia (KTM - ESP) 1:26:16.000; 2. Nathan Watson (KTM - GB) 1:27:06.700; 3. Jonny Walker (KTM - GB) 1:28:42.870; 4. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM - GER) 1:29:11.100; 5. Cristobal Guerrero (Yamaha - ESP) 1:30:08.760; 6. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM - POL) 1:30:17.120; 7. Kirian Mirabet (Honda - ESP) 1:30:51.560; 8. Jaume Betriu (KTM - ESP) 1:30:52.040; 9. Marzal Schareina (Husqvarna - ESP) 1:31:05.790; 10. Ramon Quer (Husqvarna - ESP) 1:31:35.700Ö
Championship Standings (After Round 7 of 8)
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM - GER) 5110pts; 2. Jonny Walker (KTM - GB) 4240pts; 3. Josep Garcia (KTM - ESP) 4165pts; 4. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna - ESP) 4034pts; 5. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna - GB) 3920pts; 6. Nathan Watson (KTM - GB) 3881pts; 7. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM - POL) 3850pts; 8. Mario Roman (Sherco - ESP) 3070pts; 9. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna - GB) 2725pts; 10. Pol Tarres (Husqvarna - ESP) 2520ptsÖ
Photo credit: Future7Media