Albergoni takes podium at frosty Sweden UFO Corse Yamaha team rider Simone Albergoni got his 2008 Enduro 1 World Championship campaign off to an impressive start at the Grand Prix of Sweden, staged in Ostersund, where the Italian was runner-up...
Albergoni takes podium at frosty Sweden
UFO Corse Yamaha team rider Simone Albergoni got his 2008 Enduro 1 World Championship campaign off to an impressive start at the Grand Prix of Sweden, staged in Ostersund, where the Italian was runner-up on day one and then again finished on the podium with third place on day two. The series' only winter enduro is typically an event in which many southern European riders struggle, due to the frozen terrain and sub-zero riding conditions. Albergoni defied expectations and showed just how determined he is to win this year's E1 title by posting two solid results despite admitting that he certainly doesn't feel at home racing with spiked tyres.
Heading to Finland ten days prior to the Swedish opener for preparation, Simone mixed consistency with speed on day one and never dropped lower than fifth in the class on any of the day's seven special tests. Finishing just eight seconds behind eventual E1 class winner Mika Ahola on the event's opening test, Simone held off hard charging WEC newcomer Eero Remes from Finland and after one-hour of special test action placed as a deserved runner-up.
On day two Simone was again quick, despite the unfamiliar conditions. Although not starting Sunday as well as he had on Saturday, and not managing to get to grips with the fast motocross test, three solid enduro test performances saw him end the day third, just 18 seconds behind former double E1 world champion Ivan Cervantes. Up next on the WEC tour are the second and third rounds of the series, which will take place in Portugal and Spain - events that will be much more to Simone's liking.
Competing alongside Albergoni for the UFO Corse Yamaha team in the E1 class Maurizio Micheluz placed in seventh on both days - results the Italian was pleased with considering the frozen terrain. Performing well on the motocross test on day one, Maurizio was again at his best on the motocross tests on day two managing to record the third fastest E1 class time on the last lap of the event.
Although consistent on both days, and like Micheluz riding strongly on the event's fast and flowing motocross section, Spaniard Cristobal Guerrero was unable to perform as well as he'd hoped as several crashes hampered his results. Cristobal preparations for the meeting were hampered due to the shoulder injury he sustained at the final round of the Indoor Enduro World Cup but he was still able to secure two top ten results with eighth on day one and ninth on day two.
Simone Albergoni (UFO Corse Yamaha) Enduro 1 class - Day 1: 2nd, Day 2: 3rd
"I'm really pleased with my results this weekend. In 2007 and 2006 I really struggled with the conditions and my results were bad, which made things difficult for me for the rest of the season as I was always trying to catch up lost points. Finishing second on day one and third on day two is fantastic. I hoped that I would get two podium results but to get them is a really great start to the championship. Day one went really well. I wasn't as fast on the motocross on day two as I was on day one, but my enduro tests were still good. I didn't expect to be as fast as I was. I have to thank Mika Ahola because I spent some time training with him in Finland before this GP."
Cristobal Guerrero (UFO Corse Yamaha) Enduro 1 class - Day 1: 8th, Day 2: 9th
"Things didn't go as well as I hoped they would here in Sweden - it is difficult riding in these strange conditions. Although there wasn't as much snow as there could have been it was still difficult. My training before the race was also not the best because of my shoulder injury. I hoped for better results but I crashed too many times. I hope I can perform better in Portugal and Spain."
Maurizio Micheluz (UFO Corse Yamaha) Enduro 1 class - Day 1: 7th, Day 2: 7th
"The most important thing for me this weekend was simply to survive. I knew that the race would be tough for me so I just wanted to finish both days as well as I could. I finished seventh on day one, but not too far behind the other southern European riders. My special test times on day two were quite good and I finished seventh again, which I'm happy with. I am looking forward to the rest of the championship now and won't miss coming back to the winter enduro next year!"
Albert takes podium double in Sweden
Chasing his first World Enduro Championship Frenchman Johnny Aubert got his 2008 WEC season off to a decent start at the Grand Prix of Sweden where the UFO Corse Yamaha rider placed on the podium on both days having claimed a well deserved 2nd spot on day one and a 3rd place finish on day two. Coming into the '08 series havng claimed the outright win at last year's ISDE in Chile, Aubert, who enjoyed solid results at the GP of Sweden in both '07 and '06, again showed that despite his relative lack of experience in winter conditions he can certainly produce the goods.
Just 28 seconds behind E2 class winner Joakim Ljunggren on day one, Johnny overcame a less than perfect opening test to remain ahead of seven-time world champion Juha Salminen, despite the Finn's best efforts to push Aubert back into third. Hoping that he would be able to finish on the podium as he had in seasons past, Johnny surprised even himself by finishing ahead of several experienced Scandinavian participants.
Although he wasn't able to repeat his runner-up result on day two, Aubert dropped just one position to again finish on the podium. With only 30 seconds separating the top three E2 class riders at the end of the second outing, Johnny again placed behind Ljunggren but both riders were overtaken by Salminen as the Finn took the top slot. Starting the championship with two podium results Aubert now heads to Portugal and Spain for rounds two and three of the WEC; events he won in '07.
Finishing in 9th position on day one and in 12th position on day two, Fabrizio Dini managed to complete both days of the WEC opener without major problems - something that several riders were unable to do. Never expecting to enter the top section of the standings, Fabrizio scored a handful of hard earned championship points and now looks forward to returning to more standard race conditions.
Johnny Aubert (UFO Corse Yamaha) Enduro 2 class - Day 1: 2nd, Day 2: 3rd
"I am pleased with my weekend. Finishing second on day one was a great start to the championship and finishing third on day two is also really good. With some very fast Scandinavian riders in the E2 class, to finish on the podium on both days is good. I hoped before the race that I could take a podium, so to do that is very pleasing. There was a little bit less snow this year, which helped me. I only spent a few days training before the race, so I'm pleased with the way my bike was. I am looking forward to the next two rounds of the championship now. Last year I won rounds two and three, so of course I would like to do the same again this year. I am not sure what type of special tests there will be but my physical condition is really good so if the races are hard I am ready for that."
Fabrizio Dini (UFO Corse Yamaha) Enduro 2 class - Day 1: 9th, Day 2 12th
"Finishing ninth on day one was quite good for me. It was much better than my results the two previous years. The conditions were very strange because there wasn't so much snow on the special tests and there was a lot of water and mud. But it was the same for everyone. I was 12th on day two, which wasn't as good but I started the day badly and crashed about five times. Things got better after the first lap but I am just pleased that there will be no more snow at the next rounds of the series."