As we know the EWC returns to action this weekend for round five of the eight event series. After the early summer sun of the previous GP in Portugal we arrive to what feels like the peak of Italy’s exceptionally hot summer – the heat is reminiscent of the opening round of the GP in Chile.
Without question the weather is sure to play a factor in determining the outcome of results this weekend but what will be most crucial is how the competitors deal with the conditions out on the special tests.
With that in mind we spoke to the French trio of Honda’s Rodrig Thain, Husaberg’s Pela Renet and KTM’s Christophe Nambotin.
Christophe Nambotin (KTM):
“The extreme test is typically Italian. Set in a rocky gully it’s 100 per cent natural aside from a set of logs near the very end. It’s short – maybe only two or three minutes in length – but it’s also tight, twisty and technical. The most difficult parts will be the short sharp rocky climbs near the beginning and the decent through the rocky-river bed, which is also the fastest part of the test. With the test set in a gully there will be very little breeze, which will make it physical to ride in this heat.”
Pela Renet (Husaberg):
“I like the enduro test and think it will be the most important part of the race. Set in the mountains it follows a single-track trail that works its way back to the start again that is beside a monument dedicated to Fabrizio Meoni. It’s a test that has been used before and has lots of old lines the criss-cross over the main track. Already it is quite bumpy and rough in places so I expect it to become quite challenging once everybody has ridden it a couple of times. Being smooth and making sure you hit all your lines will be the key to securing a fast time on this test.”
Rodrig Thain (Honda):
“In a way this is the least technical test of the weekend but the one that will catch out the unwary. It is on two stubble fields. The first field is quite fast and flowing but it tightens up once we enter the second field. At the moment the ground is soft on top but very hard underneath. I expect the soft dirt to turn powdery, which could make it slippery to ride. It might be easy to lose your front wheel in a corner and crash. The dust will also play a factor but if organisers can water it between laps then it should be ok.”