Bou and Fujinami finish on the podium at the French Grand Prix2008-06-22 11:07
Toni Bou - Repsol Montesa HRC was narrowly defeated at the fifth round of the 2008 FIM SPEA Trial World championship held in France, but despite his second place the reigning champion still holds a healthy advantage in the general standings. Bou on his factory Cota 4RT was joined by his team mate Takahisa Fujinami - Repsol Montesa HRC on the podium, with the Japanese rider taking third position in the difficult conditions. Adam Raga – Gas Gas was the victor on this occasion, his winning margin being a mere three marks after a day-long battle with Bou.
The small town of Maisse, just south of Paris, hosted a tough event to welcome the series back to Europe following the previous two fly-away competitions in the USA and then in Japan. Whilst the World championship had never visited this venue before, a European round had taken place here back in 2003. The surrounding flat landscape gave no indication of the severe rock faces that lurked in the wooded areas, which surrounded this quiet town.
Saturday’s inspection of the sections by the riders was followed by a strong call to the organisers, by all the main contenders, to ease the hazards as their severity and length were too extreme. Whilst this initial request was ignored, thankfully heavy overnight rain forced the course makers to effect alterations to suit. Bou and Raga were locked together for the first third of the opening lap, before the Gas Gas rider moved into a clear lead with a stunning ride at section six. Raga maintain this slim advantage right through to the halfway point, where he headed Fujinami by just two marks, and Bou by three.
Bou on his four stroke machine, and Raga moved clear of their rivals during the closing lap, as this time they traded blows at a new and higher level. With the heavy rain showers of the morning session having now given way to glorious sunshine, the Spanish duo were at their best in the drier conditions. Their much-reduced lap scores of twenty one marks apiece created a tense finale where Raga kept his early lead to take an important victory. Fujinami maintained his form on his second lap to take third spot ahead of Dougie Lampkin – Beta, whilst Jeroni Fajardo – Beta completed the top five this time out.
Bou - 2nd : “It’s been a very tough competition today, in very difficult conditions. The sections were already looking like they were going to be a real challenge, even before the rain arrived. I am never totally happy when I do not win, but today I can at least be satisfied with my result in terms of the overall championship. I made some mistakes today, but that is not a surprise given the sections, but the problem for me was Adam was very strong today. I still have a twelve-point lead in the championship table, so I can go to Italy next week with a good level of confidence. ”
Fujinami – 3rd : “The heat, plus the length and style of the sections has made it an incredibly tough trial today. I am happy to be on the podium again, as the level of riding in these difficult conditions has been very high. Toni and Adam are riding very well, and have been doing so for all of the season. Just to be close to them is a big challenge. This is an important moment in the championship, with three races in three weeks, so I am focussed on producing three good results during these competitions.”
Laia Sanz – Repsol Montesa HRC endured a dreadful showing in the Junior class, finishing sixteenth and out of the points for the first time this season. Sanz had no real explanation for her poor performance and had begun the day in good form. “It’s strange, as I made some really nice things in practice this morning and I really thought the sections, even with the rain, would suit me well. It was very hot, but that is no excuse, I think the biggest problem was in my head. I hope I can recover from this disaster in Italy next weekend.”
1. Adam Raga (SPA-Gas Gas), 52 ;
2. Toni Bou (SPA-Montesa), 55 ;
3. Takahisa Fujinami (JPN-Montesa), 60 ;
4. Dougie Lampkin (GBR-Beta), 89 ;
5. Jeroni Fajardo (SPA-Beta), 90 ;
6. Albert Cabestany (SPA-Sherco), 98 ;
7. James Dabill (GBR-Montesa), 110 ;
8. Marc Freixa (SPA-Gas Gas), 114 ;
9. Michael Brown (GBR-Beta), 123 ;
10. Daniel Oliveras (SPA-Sherco), 127 ;
11. Daniele Maurino (ITA-Gas Gas), 131 ;
12. Jordi Pascuet (SPA-Beta), 133 ;
13. Jerome Bethune (FRA-Beta), 139 (0x0, 0x1, 1x2) ;
14. Christophe Bruand (FRA-Scorpa), 139 (0x0, 0x1, 0x2) ;
15. Francesco Iolitta (ITA-Scorap), 144
World Championship positions after 5 rounds;
1. Bou, 131 ; 2. Raga, 119 ; 3. Fujinami, 112 ; 4 Lampkin, 79; 5. Fajardo, 77 ; 6. Cabestany, 76 ;
7. Freixa, 59 ; 8. Dabill, 57 ; 9. Brown, 45 ; 10. Oliveras, 35 ; 11. Ogawa, 15 ; 12. Nozaki, 14 ;
13. Kuroyama, 14 ; 14. Bethune, 13 ; 15. Maurino, 12
Next event: Round 6 at Tolmezzo (Italy) on 29 June
Source: Honda Pro Image
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