Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team riders Danny McCanney, Pascal Rauchenecker and Christophe Charlier, together with stand-in rider Antti Hellsten, have successfully completed two hugely challenging days of racing at the EnduroGP of Spain. Among the driest conditions ever seen in the Enduro World Championship, Enduro 2 class rider Danny McCanney secured Husqvarna’s best result with a hard-fought third on day two.
For EnduroGP class riders Christophe Charlier and Antti Hellsten it proved to be a difficult GP. Standing in for the injured Mathias Bellino, Hellsten, who won both days of the championship opening GP of Finland, battled his way to ninth on each day. Pushing a little too hard during the opening day’s competition, Charlier nevertheless gained further valuable enduro experience. Opting for a more calculated approach on day two the Frenchman jumped to fifth in class to earn his best result of the season to date.
In the Enduro 2 class it was Danny McCanney who claimed Husqvarna’s best result, securing a hard-earned third place result on day two. Struggling to gel with the dry and unpredictable conditions on day one, Danny placed sixth before upping his pace on day two. Completing a strong opening lap, an all-out final motocross test performance saw the TE 250 rider finish five seconds ahead of team-mate Pascal Rauchenecker and on the podium for the first time in 2017.
Like E2 classmate McCanney, Pascal Rauchenecker also improved his performance on day two – challenging for the podium before eventually claiming fourth. Down in 13th position at the end of the first lap on day one, Pascal worked hard to fight his way back to fifth at the end of the day. Determined to make further improvements on day two the FE 250 rider battled with team-mate McCanney to end the GP of Spain with highly respectable 5/4 results.
Round three of the 2017 FIM EnduroGP World Championship takes place in Italy (Spoleto) on May 26-28.
Antti Hellsten: “Things were certainly different here compared to the GP of Finland. I’ve really enjoyed it, but of course I hoped for stronger results. I have to say a huge thanks to the team for giving me the opportunity to race here in Spain, it’s been great to be a part of the world championship paddock again. I guess I can say I had a so, so weekend. I’m not happy with my result, but I finished both days and that is something. Coming from Finland I’ve spent months riding on frozen ground with spiked tyres, so we always knew that it would be tough here with my lack of ‘summer time’ riding. I did the best I could, enjoyed every minute of it, but my speed wasn’t quite what I hoped it would be.”
Christophe Charlier: “I learned a lot this weekend. The conditions were not like anything I have ridden in before and on day one I was too aggressive on the special tests. Day two was much better as I found a good feeling immediately at the start of the day. This was only my third enduro race, with some very difficult parts to the transfer sections. Dealing with the rock climbs wasn’t easy for me, but I have a lot more confidence now knowing I can ride the technical sections. I’m pleased that I made a big improvement on day two. Now I know what I have to work on ahead of the GP of Italy.”
Danny McCanney: “I’m not really sure why, but I just wasn’t able to ride like I know I can on day one. I felt good but the times just weren’t there. I spent some time looking at the test on Saturday night, figured out some better lines and things were much better on day two. Day two all came down to the final motocross test. I’d had a good opening lap and then pushed hard throughout the final lap, and went for it on the last test to get on the podium.”
Pascal Rauchenecker: “It’s been a really tough weekend here in Spain. It didn't start like I hoped it would during the super test, which meant I was a little behind at the start of day one. I was 13th at the end of the first lap, but I managed to get faster during the day. On the last lap I started to put in some really good times and finished fifth, which I was pleased with considering my starting position. I started better on day two and was fighting for the podium all day with Danny. It’s a little disappointing to go home without a podium result but I’m happy enough. The conditions were so difficult, especially on the extreme test, but this is enduro.”