Husqvarna Enduro Team by CH Racing team rider Juha Salminen continued his battle for the 2012 Enduro 2 World Championship title at his home round of the series, the GP of Finland held in Heinola, where the eight-time EWC champion collected two hard fought third place results. Looking to close the gap on E2 class leader Pierre-Alexandre Renet, Juha frustratingly found himself unable to beat the Frenchman despite two strong performances in front of his home fans. One-and-a-half minutes from the top spot on day one following a costly fall on the enduro test, Juha pushed hard throughout day two and despite an early crash closed to within 45 seconds of the top of the podium.
Making a strong start to the penultimate round of the Enduro World Championship with a 4th place finish in the Friday night super test, Juha then recorded a solid opening lap on day one during which he topped the extreme test. With the enduro test the most demanding special test seen so far in 2012, the rock and tree root littered stage required absolute concentration, and ultimately decided the results in just about all classes. For Juha the battle for the top spot in the E2 class again saw him fighting against Renet and Cristobal Guerrero, but a fall on the enduro test on lap two cost the Finn precious time. Losing contact with his closest championship rivals Juha nevertheless placed on the podium in third.
With overnight rain making for a slippery opening lap on day two Juha made a solid start, winning the enduro test and placing third on the motocross test. But as the race progressed he wasn’t quite able to match the pace of Renet and Guerrero on the enduro test and slipped into third. With a commanding advantage over the fourth placed rider Juha pushed hard during the third and final lap but had to settle for third position.
Salminen’s Enduro 2 team-mate Alex Salvini endured a mixed weekend placing fifth on day one, despite picking up a one-minute time penalty, before DNFing day two with a suspected broken finger. Winning the opening extreme test on day two Alex then crashed heavily on the enduro test and was unable to continue.
It was very much a mixed weekend for Husqvarna’s Matti Seistola in the Enduro 1 class. Challenging for the class win on day one having lead for much of the day, on day two Matti struggled to get to grips with the enduro test and placed seventh. Enjoying racing in front of his home crowd Seistola set the pace in the Enduro 1 class for much of day one. With impressive speed on all of the special tests he agonisingly missed the top step of the podium by just three seconds.
Matti Seistola – Enduro 1: “It’s been an up and down weekend for me. Day one was good. I got second after leading all the day, which was a little disappointing, but finishing on the podium in front of my home crowd was great. I felt really good on the motocross and extreme tests but it was on the enduro test that I struggled. There were so many stones and tree roots, it was really hard. The rain we had on Saturday night made things really tough on day two. The enduro test was difficult anyway, but with the rain it made it so, so difficult. I crashed three times on the first lap, which cost me one-minute. After that I pushed as hard as I could to work my way up the results. I just couldn’t get confident on the enduro test. It’s a frustrating end to the home race.”
Juha Salminen – Enduro 2: “It would have been nice to get a better result at my home race but unfortunately I couldn’t. On day two the first cross test was quite slippery but after that the conditions improved and it was not so bad. My speed was good but I think I need to find something more in the enduro test. It was the same in Sweden too, so I feel it’s an area that I need to work on and try to improve. The championship is not over so I’ll aim to do my best in France.”
Alex Salvini – Enduro 2: “On day one I was riding very well but I had a small penalty and it dropped me back to fifth. On day two I was hoping for a better result but I crashed hard on the first enduro test. I hit something under the dust and it caused me to crash very suddenly. My handlebars hit me in my stomach and I may have broken my finger. It’s unfortunate as my speed was good and I had managed to win the first cross test of the morning.”
Results – Enduro World Championship, GP of Finland
1. Antoine Meo (KTM) 54:16.42; 2. Matti Seistola (Husqvarna) 54:19.62; 3. Rodrig Thain (Honda) 54:26.09; 4. Fabien Planet (Sherco) 54:38.09; 5. Thomas Oldrati (KTM) 54:55.30… 8. Lorenzo Santolino (Husqvarna) 55:06.54…
1. Pela Renet (Husaberg) 53:31.15; 2. Cristobal Guerrero (KTM) 53:35.61; 3. Juha Salminen (Husqvarna) 55:12.89; 4. Ivan Cervantes (Gas Gas) 55:27.20; 5. Alex Salvini (Husqvarna) 55:34.17…
1. Simone Albergoni (Honda) 56:52.96; 2. Antoine Meo (KTM) 56:53.18; 3. Thomas Oldrati (KTM) 57:55.13; 4. Fabien Planet (Sherco) 58:10.81; 5. Roni Nikander (KTM) 58:11:06… 7. Matti Seistola (Husqvarna) 58:22.30…
1. Pela Renet (Husaberg) 55:38.46; 2. Cristobal Guerrero (KTM) 55:52.78; 3. Juha Salminen (Husqvarna) 56:23.85; 4. Antoine Basset (Yamaha) 58:30.24; 5. Ivan Cervantes (Husqvarna) 58:33.80…
2012 Enduro World Championship standings (after seven rounds)
1. Antoine Meo (KTM) 237; 2. Rodrig Thain (Honda) 174; 3. Thomas Oldrati (KTM) 166; 4. Matti Seistola (Husqvarna) 162; 5.Eero Remes (KTM) 162; … 8. Lorenzo Santolino (Husqvarna) 83…
1. Pierre Alexandre Renet (Husaberg) 228; 2.Cristobal Guerrero (KTM) 217; 3. Juha Salminen (Husqvarna) 204; 4. Ivan Cervantes (Gas Gas) 155; 5. Johnny Aubert (KTM) 122; 6. Alex Salvini (Husqvarna) 116…