Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia has won day one at round six of the WPTGlobal FIM EnduroGP World Championship in Hungary. The Spaniard showed he’s back to his best following injury to claim a well-deserved overall win.
Behind him things were dramatic. While lying second, TM Racing’s Wil Ruprecht dropped out of the running with a mechanical, allowing Honda Redmoto World Enduro’s Nathan Watson through as runner-up. GASGAS Factory Racing’s Andrea Verona also capitalised on the day’s events to take third and further extend his overall championship lead in EnduroGP.
• Josep Garcia lands emotional win in Hungary
• Nathan Watson and Andrea Verona finish second and third
• Wil Ruprecht loses ground in championship fight with mechanical
Decisive day in EnduroGP title fight
Marking the penultimate round of this year’s WPTGlobal FIM EnduroGP World Championship, the opening day of racing at the GP of Hungary was filled with twists and turns across the classes. Most notably for the EnduroGP category, it proved quite decisive in the standings.
With the battle for this year’s world crown being played out between Verona and Ruprecht, Saturday in Zalaegerszeg was exciting. A double victory last weekend in Slovakia saw Ruprecht reduce Verona’s lead to 11 points, and the Australian was determined to attack again.
At the end of the opening ACERBIS Cross Test, the battle was very much on, with Garcia, Ruprecht, and Verona separated by just half of a second. With the POLISPORT Extreme Test ending lap one of four, the lead swapped hands with Ruprecht now in front, Verona second, and Garcia in third. And with the top eight split by less than 10 seconds, things couldn’t have been tighter.
On the second ACERBIS Cross Test, Garcia pushed hard and retook the race lead. Things continued to swap and change on lap two with Ruprecht setting the pace on the JUST1 Enduro Test. The top three also had company with Watson and Fast Eddy Racing’s Jamie McCanney entering the mix.
At the end of lap three, Garcia had finally put some time into his rivals to open up a seven-second lead over Ruprecht. But on the following JUST1 Enduro Test that would all change again. A mechanical issue knocked Ruprecht out of contention. His misfortune was Watson’s gain, with the Brit now up to second over Verona and McCanney.
Holding firm, Garcia went on to win the final ACERBIS Cross Test to claim his first victory since crashing out of the GP of Italy at round three. Watson kept Verona at bay by less than two seconds to finish his day as the runner-up. Claiming his best result of the season, McCanney took a well-deserved fourth, while JET Zanardo Husqvarna’s Alex Salvini fended off Fantic’s Daniel Milner for fifth.
Memorable victory for Betriu in Enduro3
In Enduro1, Verona put a virtual grasp on this year’s title with his 10th win. The Italian, capitalising on closest rival Thomas Oldrati (Honda) finishing ninth, looks likely to claim the crown tomorrow. With his best performance of the season to date, McCanney enjoyed his first visit to the podium with second. Daniel Milner claimed third.
Garcia was top dog in Enduro2, taking the win over Watson in second. Salvini returned to the podium for the first time since round two’s GP of Portugal for third.
It was a memorable day for WP Eric Auge’s Jaume Betriu with the Spaniard racing to the Enduro3 class win. Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Mikael Persson finished just six seconds behind as runner- up, with TM Racing’s Matteo Pavoni only another one second behind Persson in third.
Returning to his own winning ways, Team Sherco CH Racing’s Zach Pichon moved closer to clinching the Enduro Junior title. The Frenchman claimed one of the largest winning margins of the day in Hungary, with a 33-second victory over Roni Kytonen (Honda) in second, and Albin Norrbin (Fantic) third.
Enduro Youth saw Sherco’s Thibault Giraudon come through for the win after a titanic battle with Fantic’s Kevin Cristino. Samuli Puhakainen (TM) took third, with championship leader Harry Edmondson (Fantic) in fourth.
Josep Garcia (KTM):
“To take the win feels incredible. After my injury in Italy, just getting to the start line for Slovakia and now Hungary was a big mission, so I’m so happy to have won again. Big thanks to the support of my team, family, and everyone around me to get back to this moment.”
Nathan Watson (Honda):
“I felt like I was in the fight for the podium all day, so I’m pretty happy with second. Unfortunately Wil (Ruprecht) had a problem and that changed things, but all day I was right there. To be honest I didn’t expect that result because I picked up tendonitis in my wrist during the GP of Slovakia. Hopefully tomorrow I can keep it going all day.”
Andrea Verona (GASGAS):
“It’s been a good day for sure. My riding was solid enough, but I had a few silly mistakes that cost me time. It’s been good points for the championship, so I’ll focus again for tomorrow and go full gas!”
Results: Round 6: GP of Hungary, Day 1
- Josep Garcia (KTM) 1:01:02.70
- Nathan Watson (Honda) 1:01:21.68
- Andrea Verona (GASGAS) 1:01:23.45
- Jamie McCanney (Husqvarna) 1:01:53.74
- Alex Salvini (Husqvarna) 1:02:00.51
- Daniel Milner (Fantic) 1:02:06.00
- Steve Holcombe (Beta) 1:02:10.59
- Matteo Cavallo (TM Racing) 1:02:12.02
- Hugo Blanjoue (KTM) 1:02:13.59
- Albin Elowson (Husqvarna) 1:02:33.30
- Zach Pichon (Sherco) 1:02:17.13
- Roni Kytonen (Honda) 1:02:50.33
- Albin Norrbin (Fantic) 1:03:08.16
- Max Ahlin (Beta) 1:03:13.62
- Luc Fargier (Beta) 1:03:19.73
- Thibault Giraudon (Sherco) 1:03:58.70
- Kevin Cristino (Fantic) 1:04:02.21
- Samuli Puhakainen (TM Racing) 1:04:28.76
- Harry Edmondson (Fantic) 1:04:44.02
- Albert Fontova (KTM) 1:05:57.81