Double delight for Wil Ruprecht at Enduro GP of Portugal


Photo of Australian Enduro rider Wil Ruprecht

Wil Ruprecht has claimed his second WPTGlobal FIM EnduroGP World Championship day win of 2022, earning a hard-fought victory on day two of the GP of Portugal.

Added to his day one win, Ruprecht made it a perfect weekend at the office with the Australian now leading the overall EnduroGP class with two rounds of the series completed.

In what proved to be another titanic battle at the sharp end of the results sheet, Ruprecht was challenged in the scrap for victory by Josep Garcia and Andrea Verona with the Spanish and Italian duo ultimately placing in second and third respectively in Peso da Regua.

The FIM EnduroGP paddock woke to further warm weather and dry conditions in Peso da Regua on Sunday. With all four special tests taking a beating on the opening day of racing, it would prove to be an exceptionally tough and demanding day for all competitors with three laps and 12 special tests to complete.

At the head of the EnduroGP class, day one winner Wil Ruprecht picked up where he left off on Saturday by placing quickest in the opening Just1 Enduro Test. The Australian had clearly done his homework overnight, immediately pulling over eight seconds on Josep Garcia in second, with Verona third. A fast-starting Alex Salvini sat fourth after test one.

Three tests in and the top three remained the same at the end of the opening POLISPORT Extreme Test, but importantly Garcia had halved the gap to Ruprecht. The fight for fourth was ever-changing with Mikael Persson on top form. He headed Thomas Oldrati, Theophile Espinasse, and Salvini by just one second.

After the second ACERBIS Cross Test, Ruprecht was pulling clear of his rivals, building an 18-second advantage over Garcia. But that almost all but disappeared on the following test as a major mistake cut that lead back to five seconds. Garcia was back in touch and duly won the following AKRAPOVIC Super Test to enter the final lap within shot of Ruprecht.

Sensing the attack, Ruprecht won the next two tests to keep the Spaniard at arm’s length. And despite Garcia posting faster times in the final two tests, it wasn’t enough as Ruprecht rode to victory over Garcia and Verona.

“It’s been an awesome weekend going 1-1,” Ruprecht said. “Conditions were dry, dusty, and proper tough. I’m pleased with myself to have ridden maturely and strong on both days – it was a fine line between pushing hard and ushing too hard and crashing. We’ve got a few weeks to go until round three and motivation is high to keep this rhythm going.”

Behind the top three, it was veteran Oldrati who finally got the better of those around him to take fourth, with Espinasse completing the top five.

Beginning to make Enduro1 his own, Verona secured his fourth victory of the season. Oldrati fended off a late charge from Espinasse to claim the runner-up result by seven seconds.

In their battle for overall supremacy, Ruprecht and Garcia again ruled the roost in Enduro2. This time, Ruprecht topped the podium, with Garcia second. Making a welcome return to the top three, Salvini took third by six seconds from Nathan Watson (Honda). Australian Daniel Milner finished 7th in E2 and 14th Overall.

A new winner emerged in Enduro3 with Davide Guarneri claiming a memorable win. In what is his 22nd year of world championship level competition, the Italian proved he’s just as competitive as ever. Delivering his strongest ride of the season to date, Persson placed second and looks like a rider to watch for at round three. Frenchman Antoine Basset was third, netting his first podium result of the championship to date.

Enjoying a perfect weekend in Peso da Regua, Jane Daniels swept all special tests to win the Women’s category and further extend her championship lead. Mireia Badia took second, with Portugal’s Rita Vieira ending her home GP in third.

After two exciting back-to-back rounds to start the season, the WPTGlobal FIM EnduroGP World Championship continues with round three in Italy on June 24-26.

Results: Round 2 – GP of Portugal – EnduroGP – Day 2:
1 Wil Ruprecht (TM) 56:54.39
2 Josep Garcia (KTM) 57:00.48
3 Andrea Verona (GASGAS) 57:18.66
4 Thomas Oldrati (Honda) 58:13.88
5 The Espinasse (Beta) 58:21.54
6 Alex Salvini (Husqvarna) 58:22.76
7 Nathan Watson (Honda) 58:29.11
8 Davide Guarneri (Fantic) 58:43.81
9 Mikael Persson (Husqvarna) 58:50.53
10 Matteo Cavallo (TM) 59:08.90

Championship Standings (After round 2 of 7) – EnduroGP:
1 Wil Ruprecht (TM) 68 Points
2 Josep Garcia (KTM) 67 Points
3 Andrea Verona (GASGAS) 67 Points
4 Thomas Oldrati (Honda) 45 Points
5 Nathan Watson (Honda) 39 Points
6 Brad Freeman (Beta) 33 Points
7 Hamish MacDonald (Sherco) 30 Points
8 Davide Guarneri (Fantic) 26 Points
9 Alex Salvini (Husqvarna) 25 Points
10 Theophile Espinasse (Beta) 21 Points

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