Juha Salminen on Saturday signaled his intention to dominate the E1 Class of the World Enduro Championship with a top top podium place on the first day of the Spanish Grand Prix. The Finn was joined on the podium by KTM Enduro Factory Team team-mate Alessandro Belometti of Italy for a perfect start in the E1 class at Puerto Lumbreras in the south east corner of Spain.
“Today was a very hard fight for me, Salminen said after the race. “I was in front for most of the race but the others were very close to me and it was only in the last lap that I was able to get ahead by a few seconds.”
Enduro hero Salminen, who has returned to Europe after several years of competition in the GNCC Series in the USA has now clean-sweeped all three races so far held this season for a comfortable 75 points in the standings. He finished the grueling day?s ride with a time for the tests of 50:03.52.
It was also an excellent day for Belometti, more at home on the Mediterranean terrain after the winter event in Ostersund, Sweden offered ice and snow conditions more suited to the Scandinavian competitors.
Extremely heavy rain on Friday night and Saturday morning did clear in time for the race, but left the course heavy with mud in some places. Despite the conditions, riders from southern Europe were clearly more comfortable being back on Spanish ground and sealed the other four top places.
Salminen now has to set himself the mental task of being able to defend his lead going into Sunday?s second race of rounds three and four.
Results, Day 1; Race 1 1. Juha Salminen, Finland, KTM, Tests – 50:03.52 2. Alessandro Belometti, Italy, KTM, 50:14.07 3. Simone Albergoni, Italy, Honda, 50:44.69 4. Cristobal Guerrero, Spain, Yamaha, 50:45.14 5. Marc Germain, France, Yamaha, 51:08.52
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