2006 FIM World Enduro Championship Rnd 3 Grand Prix of Euskadi (Spain)
The KTM Enduro Factory Team Farioli squad had a highly successful opening day at the third round of the ’06 World Enduro Championship, the GP of Euskadi (Spain), where team riders Ivan Cervantes and Alessandro Belometti placed first and second in the Enduro 1 class while David Knight and Marko Tarkkala also placed on the top two steps of the podium in the Enduro 3 category. In the Enduro 2 class Samuli Aro claimed third
After rocky and dusty conditions at the GP of Portugal made things difficult at round two of the WEC series, heavy rain before the GP of Euskadi ensured that conditions were also extremely challenging in Gernika. But instead of fine dust and lose rocks making things difficult it was mud that challenged the world’s best enduro riders. Added to a demanding course were three tough special tests. With the enduro test the longest seen in a WEC event for many years, it was the extreme test that caught many riders out and played a large roll in deciding the end of day results.
In the Enduro 1 class KTM mounted Spaniard Ivan Cervantes claimed a near 18 second advantage over team-mate Belometti having performed well in front of his home crowd. Despite the wet conditions being far from his favourite Ivan took advantage of a mistake by Italian Simone Albergoni to claim his third day win in the ’06 WEC series. Making it a perfect day in the E1 class for the factory KTM team was the fact that Alessandro Belometti claimed a well deserved runner-up spot ensuring that two thirds of the podium was orange. Finishing in third was Polish rider Bartosz Oblucki.
Unable to feel completely at home in the slippery conditions at the GP of Euskadi Finnish KTM rider and reigning Enduro 2 world champion Samuli Aro struggled to perform at his best but still managed to make it onto the podium with a third placed result. Failing to get up to speed as quickly as some of his rivals Samuli improved with each passing special test. Placing 23 seconds behind French rider Johnny Aubert who placed second, Australian Stefan Merriman topped the E1 class.
Winning not only the Enduro 3 class but topping the unofficial overall results as well, Manxman David Knight continued his dominant run of good form to finish close to one and a half minutes ahead of his team-mate Marko Tarkkala. Winning all seven of the days timed special tests David once again proved too strong for his rivals. With Marko Tarkkala producing the second fastest E3 class special test times on several of the day’s tests, the factory KTM duo once again produced the perfect one-two result.
Ivan Cervantes: “Winning in front of my home crowd is great - I have had lots of support from the spectators all day, which has helped me. I’m pleased that I was able to win because wet conditions aren’t my favourite. I didn’t make any big mistakes in the tests but they were all really difficult. The race was really hard – there were some very difficult climbs. Getting another 25 championship points is great.