Kicking off their respective 2021 Enduro1 and Enduro Women world championship campaigns, Andrea Verona and Laia Sanz have both enjoyed winning rides at the EnduroGP of Portugal. Taking GASGAS Factory Racing to the top step of two podiums at the end of the first day’s competition, both Verona and Sanz successfully completed day two with top-three class results, wrapping up a hugely positive championship opener.
As defending Enduro1 World Champion, Andrea Verona secured the winning start he’d hoped for, topping day one by an eventual 25 seconds. Second in class at the end of the Friday night Super Test, Verona then started building his E1 class advantage early on day one before a heavy fall in the cross test on lap two notably detuned the Italian. Coming back strong during the third and final lap, he enjoyed a winning end-of-day result.
Following overnight rain, and as one of the first riders onto the event’s special tests, Andrea found the opening lap tough and made some costly mistakes. Working hard to get to grips with the challenging Portuguese terrain, he improved during lap two before topping each of the final three special tests in the E1 class. Come the end of the day, Andrea finished comfortably ahead of the third-placed rider and 35 seconds down on the class winner Davide Guarneri.
Much like Verona in E1, Laia Sanz enjoyed a winning result at the end of the first day’s racing in Portugal. Back in the EnduroGP series after many years of rally competition, Laia took a little while to feel completely comfortable but then proceeded to dominate the women’s class. Topping the Friday night super test before putting in the fastest time on five of the opening day’s seven special tests, Laia rounded out the day close to 50 seconds ahead of her nearest challenger.
Day two was a different story for Laia. Eighth in class at the end of the day’s first test, she pushed hard to the end of the day, eventually placing third, just under 15 seconds from the win.
With Laia able to take a well-earned rest before her next EnduroGP outing at the end of July, for Verona, next up is the EnduroGP of Italy, his home round of the series, on June 26-27.
Andrea Verona: “I can say that it’s not been the perfect race for me, but I’m pleased with this strong start to my Enduro1 championship. The event was tough, but really good. Day one went pretty well, apart from a big crash in the cross test on the second lap. Overall, I was happy with how I rode and of course it’s always nice to start the championship with a class win. It was a difficult second day for me. I didn’t start too well, I made a lot of mistakes on the first lap. I crashed on the extreme test and lost quite a lot of time there, and then on the enduro test I was one of the first riders onto the test. There was a layer of mud from the overnight rain, which made it really slippery for the earlier riders. So, all in all the opening lap wasn’t great. After that I was able to close the gap to the riders ahead and rode a good final lap. Second in Enduro1 after taking the win on day one, it’s good to make a positive start to the championship. I’m really looking to racing at home, in Italy, next weekend.”
Laia Sanz: “It’s been a good weekend for me in Portugal, and so much fun to be racing in enduro again. After the TrialGP of Italy, I wasn’t too sure what to expect coming here, but I prepared the best I could, and things have gone so well. On day one I was a little sleepy on the first lap, I had a crash on the cross test, but then I started to feel more and more comfortable and finally I enjoyed a comfortable win. Day two was tough. I had two crashes on the cross test and lost a lot of time, around 35 seconds. It was difficult to recover that time. My second lap was better, but it was tough. The conditions were pretty challenging and I wasn’t feeling 100%. It’s been a real enduro – on the special tests and also the time controls, you had to concentrate fully and, yeah, it wasn’t easy. But I’m pleased with my riding.”
Results – 2021 EnduroGP World Championship, Round 1, Day 1
1. Andrea Verona (GASGAS) 1:10:12:54
2. Davide Guarneri (Fantic) 1:10:37.63
3. Christophe Charlier (Beta) 1:11:53.29
1. Laia Sanz (GASGAS) 41:04.89
2. Jane Daniels (Fantic) 41:54.88
3. Mireia Badia (GASGAS) 43:22.47
Results – 2021 EnduroGP World Championship, Round 1, Day 2
1. Davide Guarneri (Fantic) 1:09:39.54
2. Andrea Verona (GASGAS) 1:10:14.88
3. Samuele Bernardini (Honda) 1:10:45.65
1. Mireia Badia (GASGAS) 49:02.06
2. Jane Daniels (Fantic) 49:04.20
3. Laia Sanz (GASGAS) 49:16.89
Championship Standings – 2021 EnduroGP World Championship, (after Round 1)
1. Davide Guarneri (Fantic) 37 points
2. Andrea Verona (GASGAS) 37 pts
3. Samuele Bernardini (Honda) 25 pts
1. Mireia Badia (GASGAS) 35 points
2. Laia Sanz (GASGAS) 35 pts
3. Jane Daniels (Fantic) 34 pts