Riders faced a long demanding day, with the South American sun beating down on them. Day one proved to be a challenge for all 146 competitors who signed up.
Ivan Cervantes (E – Gas Gas) secured his first victory in over a year and a half by winning Enduro 2. Marc Bourgies (F- Yamaha) continues to impress in Enduro 1, grabbing yet another podium finish. After establishing an early lead in Enduro 2, Finland’s Juha Salminen (Husqvarna) became the biggest shock of day one when he was forced out of the race. A stone became lodged between his front sprocket and chain, resulting in his rear wheel becoming locked.
Gas Gas’ Ivan Cervantes finally ended his winless streak as he took full advantage of Salminen’S misfortune to top Enduro 2. With Salminen setting the early pace, the Finnish rider caught a stone in his chain during the third Cross Test, which ended his chance of victory. With the Husqvarna rider out, Cervantes suddenly found himself with a 30-second advantage. Controlling his lead the Spaniard took a well-earned victory. “I’m so happy to have finally won again,” declared Cervantes after the podium celebrations. “It’s been a long time since I last won and I’m very grateful to be able to give Gas Gas this important victory.”
The battle behind Cervantes for second between Cristobal Guerrero and Johnny Aubert was tough. Aubert initially had the advantage, but Guerrero was able to up his pace on the final lap, eventually overcoming the Frenchman and securing himself a second place finish. Finishing third, Aubert was able to put his less than stellar performance in Chile behind him quickly.
After his win on day two in the GP of Chile, Pierre-Alexandre Renet (F - Husaberg) was unable to repeat his winning result in Argentina and finished in fourth. Although winning the final Cross Test of the day, Italy’s Alex Salvini (Husqvarna) finished one-second behind in fifth. Fabio Mossini (I - KTM) completed the top six.
France’s Christophe Nambotin (KTM) continues to set the pace in Enduro 3. After his double victory in Chile, the KTM rider claimed the win on day one in Argentina. Winning the Friday night Super Test, Nambotin set a relentless pace throughout the day. Topping all but one of the day’s special tests, he claimed a commanding 70-second winning margin over his KTM teammate David Knight (GB).
“It was difficult in the hot conditions but I was able to find a strong pace early on which helped me to open up a healthy lead,” said a pleased Nambotin. “Aside from a small crash in the Extreme Test it’s been another perfect race for me and to be fastest in the overall classification is an added bonus. Hopefully I can repeat these results again tomorrow.”
KTM’s David Knight was the closest challenger to the Frenchman. Finishing in second place, Knight also set the fastest time in the final test to mark yet another solid result in South America. Missing out on the podium in Chile, Sweden’s Joakim Ljunggren (Husaberg) finished in third place on a day one in Argentina. Finding conditions to his liking he placed 37 seconds behind Knight.
Estonia’s Aigar Leok (TM Racing) looked capable of recording a podium result until a crash in the very technical Extreme Test set him back. Leok eventually recovered to finish fourth. Germany’s Marcus Kehr (KTM) put in a strong ride to finish fifth while Oriol Mena (E - Husaberg) was sixth.
KTM’s Antoine Meo (F) was unstoppable in Enduro 1 as he took another commanding victory. Setting a blistering pace on the opening lap, Meo quickly established an early lead. Fastest in all but the final Enduro Test of the day, the Frenchman earned his third victory of 2012. “This has been another incredible day for me,” confirmed the KTM rider. “I pushed as hard as I could during the morning to try an open up an advantage as I knew it would be difficult once the special tests became rougher. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to push for the overall win as Nambotin was too fast today but I’m so happy to win again.”
Frenchman Marc Bourgeois enjoyed a successful day as he finished runner up to Meo. Posting some very consistent times throughout the day, Bourgeois secured a very impressive second place in Enduro 1. Following on from his second position on day two at the GP of Chile, Italy’s Simone Albergoni (HM Honda) finished in third place.
For Finland’s Eero Remes (KTM) finishing in fourth place was a frustrating end to his day. Battling hard with both Bourgeois and Albergoni, Remes narrowly lost out on a podium result by less than two seconds. Italy’s Thomas Oldarati (KTM) finished in fifth beating sixth placed Rodrig Thain (F – HM Honda) by four-seconds.
In Enduro Junior, Italy’s Jonathon Manzi (KTM) put a stop to Mathias Bellino’s winning ways as he took victory on day one. With Bellino (F – Husaberg) finishing five seconds behind the Italian, Argentina’s Kevin Benavides (KTM) rode a terrific race to finish third in front of his home crowd.
Italy’s Giacomo Redondi (KTM) claimed his second victory of the year in the Enduro Youth Cup. Benjamin Herrera (CHI - TM) finished in second place while Stefano Caimi (ARG - KTM) was third.