Podium delight for Phillips at EWC GP of Greece
Husqvarna Enduro Team by Monster Energy CH Racing’s Matt Phillips extended his Enduro Junior championship lead at the penultimate round of the Enduro World Championship in Kastoria, Greece with a double podium visit.
However, it was a weekend of mixed fortunes for the team as Enduro 1 class contenders Juha Salminen and Matti Seistola (both on TE250R) struggled to gel with the dry, dusty and hard packed terrain. Securing his best result of the season, Lorenzo Santolino placed fourth in the Enduro 2 category.
Continuing to lead the way in the Enduro Junior class, Matt Phillips on his TE310R enjoyed a race win on day one to further cement his position as the championship leader. Starting in the best possible way Phillips set the fastest time in the first three special tests. But with his rivals in close contention the young Australian was forced to work hard for the win. Entering the final test of the day separated from the second place rider by less than one-second, Phillips delivered the goods to secure a slender two-second margin of victory.
Hopeful of a repeat performance on day two, Phillips made a few mistakes early on and dropped back. Regrouping in the latter half of the day, the Husqvarna TE310R rider fought hard to finish in third position but was only four tenths of a second short of claiming the runner-up result. With his pair of podium results Phillips heads to the final round of the season in France with a healthy 29-point lead in the championship standings.
Despite battling through the discomfort of a broken right toe, Matti Seistola on his TE250R delivered a solid performance in the Enduro 1 class to place fourth both days. Slow to start day one, Seistola began to improve as the day progressed. Topping the final extreme test, the Finn ended fourth overall.
Knowing he had the speed to fight for the podium Seistola began day two in a determined fashion. Engaged in a fierce battle for the runner-up result, the Husqvarna TE250R rider fought hard. Missing out on a top three finish by just one second, the Finn placed fourth.
For Juha Salminen the GP of Greece was one of frustration. Hopeful of challenging for victory like he had done one week earlier in Romania, the Finn failed to gel with the dry and dusty terrain. Ending day one in sixth position, Salminen slipped back to seventh on day two.
Competing in the highly competitive Enduro 2 category, Lorenzo Santolino achieved his best finish of the season on day one with a fourth place position. Consistently improving with each round of the series, Santolino on his TE310R spent the majority of day one racing for a podium result. He finished in fourth place, but just nine seconds shy of third. On day two the Spaniard battled hard for another top five position only to miss out by less than half a second.
The Enduro World Championship continues with the GP of France on September 7-8.
Juha Salminen (Enduro 1 – TE250R): ‘It’s been a difficult weekend. I just couldn’t get comfortable and my results suffered. I lacked confidence in the terrain and then had a big crash on the extreme test. I need to review this race and decide what to improve on for the final round of the season in France.’
Matti Seistola (Enduro 1 – TE 250): ‘It’s frustrating to race injured like this. I know I could deliver a better result if I was healthy – Greece was all about damage limitation. By finishing fourth overall both days I was able to protect my third position in the championship. With one round left it’s still possible to take second. With two months to recover I want to finish off the season strong in France.’
Matt Phillips (Enduro Junior – TE 310): ‘It’s been another important weekend for the championship. Winning day one was great and to finish in a strong position on day two was very satisfying. I really enjoyed the battle for the win on day one – it was close all day. Entering the final test there was only one second separating three riders so I knew I had to deliver a perfect test. On day two I struggled with dehydration midway through the day. Racing in the hot weather was difficult but I dug deep and worked my way back into contention. It was disappointing to miss out on second position by three tenths of a second but I was pleased with my riding in the latter part of the day. Overall it’s been a solid weekend and I feel we’re in the best possible position to secure the title in France.’
Lorenzo Santolino (Enduro 2 – TE 310): ‘Each weekend I feel stronger and stronger. I was so happy to achieve my best result of the season on day one but also to have been in contention for a podium result. On day two I was riding good but had a crash in the cross test and that cost me a lot of time. I’m happy with how this race has gone and I’m looking forward to the final round of the season in France.’
Results – Enduro World Championship, GP of Greece
1. Antoine Meo (KTM) 50.51:53
2. Cristobal Guerrero (KTM) 51.30:90
3. Jeremy Joly (Honda) 51.37:81
4. Matti Seistola (Husqvarna) 51.48:60
5. Jeremy Tarroux (Sherco) 51.54:85
6. Juha Salminen (Husqvarna) 51.54:91
1. Pela Renet (Husaberg) 50.34:32
2. Alex Salvini (Honda) 50.36:89
3. Johnny Aubert (KTM) 51.22:28
4. Lorenzo Santolino (Husqvarna) 51.31:59
5. Victor Guerrero (KTM) 51.42:94
1. Matt Phillips (Husqvarna) 51.30:82
2. Giacomo Redondi (KTM) 51.33:32
3. Loic Larrieu (Husaberg) 51.42:16
4. Mario Roman (Husaberg) 51.43:03
5. Robert Kvarnstrom (Beta) 52.08:77
1. Antoine Meo (KTM) 47.23:66
2. Cristobal Guerrero (KTM) 48.25:84
3. Maurizio Micheluz (Suzuki) 48.26:88
4. Matti Seistola (Husqvarna) 48.27:88
5. Jeremy Tarroux (Sherco) 48.57:62
7. Juha Salminen (Husqvarna) 49.24:55
1. Alex Salvini (Honda) 47.45:38
2. Pella Renet (Husaberg) 47.45:67
3. Ivan Cervantes (KTM) 48.02:67
4. Johnny Aubert (KTM) 48.39:44
5. Victor Guerrero (KTM) 48.53:65
6. Lorenzo Santolino (Husqvarna) 48.54:06
1. Loic Larrieu (Husaberg) 48.34:23
2. Giacomo Redondi (KTM) 48.44:45
3. Matt Phillips (Husqvarna) 48.44:83
4. Danny McCanney (Gas Gas) 49.17:71
5. Nicolo Mori (Beta) 49.17:86