Lampkin and Fujinami finish first and second at French Grand Prix2006-06-25 13:46
The Repsol Montesa HRC team took the top two places at today's French Grand Prix held at the small town of La Chatre, with Dougie Lampkin narrowly defeating his team mate Takahisa Fujinami on a most cleans tie break. Antonio Bou - Beta joined the Repsol pairing on the rostrum to leave championship leader Adam Raga - Gas Gas down in fourth place.
Temperatures had reached 35 degrees Celcius during Saturday's practice session, but torrential overnight rain totally changed conditions out on a course that was already expected to be extremely difficult. With the organisers doing little to ease the severity of the sections prior to the trial got underway, the riders faced an almost impossible start to their day.
With the exception of the final hazard back in the paddock area, the remaining fourteen sections were all located on a disused railway line, with the steep banking having been littered with carefully imported boulders. Lampkin riding the factory Cota 4RT begun his day very badly with four maximums in the first four sections. Fujinami was not fairing much better, but his run of 3-5-3-5 put him close to the leading trio of Raga, Bou and Albert Cabestany - Sherco who had all lost fifteen marks during the same period.
Although the latter part of the first lap saw Fujinami and Lampkin perform better, they could only manage third and sixth places respectively as the trial reached the halfway point. The dull and often overcast sky threatened to bring more rain, but the dark clouds eventually disappeared to leave warm and drying conditions that would help the riders as they went out on the course for the second and final time.
Lampkin's second lap assault aboard the four stroke Cota 4RT ranks as one of the best rides of the season, his loss of only seven marks up to section eleven was twenty nine marks better than he had recorded earlier in the day through the same number of hazards. Only Fujinami and Bou could match Lampkin's new pace, as the three edged clear of the rest of the field. Four soft marks in the closing three sections brought Lampkin level with Fujinami, but the British rider would take the victory, his first of the year, by having earned two more cleans than his team mate.
Lampkin - 1st : "It was very important for me to win this weekend if I am to have a chance of taking the title. Raga came here with a good advantage in the championship, so with him having not made the podium today, it has really helped me to start to close the gap on him. It was a difficult first lap, but I felt I was riding well so I used the second lap like I was starting a new trial. I am really happy with how I rode on the second lap, it shows just how strong we can be and is a big credit to the team for all the hard work they continue to do."
Fujinami - 2nd : "Although it may seem strange, I am both happy and not happy. I am happy as I rode well today, especially on the second lap, this performance was much better than I rode in either the USA or Japan. I am not happy because I came so close to the victory, but I know Lampkin rode incredibly well this afternoon. This is a great result for the team and is a great reward for everyone's efforts."
Laia Sanz - Repsol Montesa HRC scored a solid seventh place in the Junior class in very difficult conditions to maintain sixth position in the overall standings. "It has been a difficult race, too difficult in fact. We asked for some changes, as it was difficult when it was dry yesterday, but the changes they made were lost with the effects of the rain. Normally I hope to be in the top five, but there have been some extra riders here this weekend, who will not make the whole championship."
1. Doug Lampkin (GB-Montesa), 52 (14x0) ;
2. Takahisa Fujinami (JPN-Montesa), 52 (12x0) ;
3. Toni Bou (E-Beta), 54 ;
4. Adam Raga (E-Gas Gas), 57 ;
5. Albert Cabestany (E-Sherco), 62 ;
6. Jeroni Fajardo (E-Gas Gas), 66 ;
7. Marc Freixa (E- Beta), 84 ;
8. James Dabill (GB-Beta), 96 ;
9. Tadeusz Blazusiak (POL-Scorpa), 105 ;
10. Shaun Morris (GB-Gas Gas), 111 ;
11: Daniele Maurino (I-Gas Gas), 120 ;
12. Christophe Bruand (FRA-Sherco), 122 ;
13. Tsuyoshi Ogawa (J-Montesa), 136 ;
14. Michele Orizio (I-Scorpa), 137 (1x0) ;
15: Jerome Bethune (FRA-Beta), 137 (0x0)
World Championship positions after 5 rounds;
1. Raga, 121 ; 2. Lampkin, 110 ; 3. Bou, 102 ; 4. Fujinami, 94 ; 5. Cabestany, 93 ; 6. Fajardo, 75 ;
7. Freixa, 57 ; 8. Blazusiak, 46 ; 9. Dabill, 44 ; 10. Morris, 23 ; 11. Kuroyama, 21 ; 12. Maurino, 17 ;
13. Ogawa (Tomoyuki), 16 ; 14. Pascuet, 14 ; 15. Ogawa (Tsuyoshi), 14
Next event: 6th round at Darfo Boario Terme (Italy) on 02 July
Source: Honda Motor Company, Ltd
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