EWC Round 5 - GP of Italy Husqvarna Enduro Team by CH Racing The fifth round of the world championship stayed true to the trend this year of the other rounds in that the weather once again played a major role in the event. Temperatures exceeded 37C (99F) each day.
In E2 on day 1 Super B rider Juha Salminen was met with some challengers in the early tests but by the mid-point he had built up a comfortable lead and by the end he looked to be in a class of his own. Further chipping into what once seemed like an insurmountable deficit in the championship standings. In E1 Matti Seistola earned his 3rd straight EWC podium (2nd place). But unlike in previous conquests, this was the first time we’d seen any rider in the series actually challenge Meo head to head.
In day 2 of the GP luck finally favored Juha as a rival, and championship leader encountered technical difficulties of his own. This opened the door wide open for Salminen to climb right back into championship contention. After seizing control of the race early, a wreck late in the day would relegate the Fin to 2nd on the day, but the damage was done to the competition as he now sits just 12 points from 2nd and 18 points from 1st. Never count out a true champion!
Also in E2 in a welcome surprise was the return of form of Romain Dumontier. He posted competitive times in nearly every test and ran in 7th place for most of the day. A crash and subsequent broken bone in his foot would slow him some but he still battled through and finished the day, losing 8th place in the final test and finishing 11th overall.
In E1 Matti Seistola continued his podium streak but by now, he was ready to claim his first win of the year. He battled for the lead in most of the day’s tests but in the end he said that (he) “just wanted it so bad that I pushed a little too hard and made one big mistake that cost me the win.” That one wreck would cost Matti the win but he would still claim 2nd, making that his 3rd straight 2nd place and 4th straight podium finish. A win seems imminent at this point. Matti sits just 13 points shy of 2nd place in the championship standings (currently 4th).
Husaberg Super B rider Hans Vogels from The Netherlands wasn't present in Italy. Due to a knee injury Vogels was forced to take a break and he's now working hard on his recovery. His goal is to return in the next round of the WEC in Sweden August 24th.