STEFFI LAIER TAKES VICTORY IN SLOVAKIA
Steffi Laier, the only woman full factory rider with the Red Bull Teka KTM factory team continued her charge towards another world title on Sunday taking victory in the WMX GP of Slovakia.
Still not 100 percent fit from sickness in Finland and lacking time training on the bike, the talented German rider still picked up a 2-1 moto result to seal the GP win and move ahead in the overall standings. Sunday’s result gives her five moto wins and four second places from nine races – four from five GP wins so far this season. Only one moto was possible in Greece due to adverse weather conditions.
Steffi rode to pole position in Saturday’s qualifying on a very fast track where the average speed was 55 km/h. Organizers watered the track before Sunday’s motos, which cut down on the speed but made the surface slippery, conditions that suited the KTM factory rider. But she did not get away well in the opening race and had to work hard to move up to second place behind the Italian Fontanesi. Steffi finally managed to close the gap to finish in second place trailing by just one second. By the second moto Steffi had found her rhythm and while it was again Fontanesi who was fastest out of the gates and built up a three second lead in the opening laps, Steffi settled, went on the charge and hunted her down. The race wound up in a thrilling final lap when Laier surged ahead on her KTM 250 SX-F to take the flag, the race and the GP in front of Fontanesi and the Dutch rider Britt van der Wekken. She now has a 9-point lead in the championship standings on Fontanesi.
Steffi Laier: "In the first moto we changed the front tire to have more grip but this didn’t work out and I was slipping badly going into the corners. This caught me off balance and it took me a while to settle into the race so in the end I was happy to finish second. In the second race Chiara (Fontanesi) had an explosive start but I felt really good with the changes we made to the bike. I was starting to find new lines, I had a good rhythm and I wanted to win, no matter what! I’m happy with this victory in the last lap and I’m happy that there is now a break of three weeks as I really need it!"
1, Steffi Laier, Germany, KTM 22-25
2, Chiara Fontanesi, Italy, Yamaha
3, Britt van der Wekken, Netherlands, Honda
4, Sara Pettersson, Sweden, KTM
5, Larissa Papenmeier, Germany KTM
Championship standings after Round 5 of 9
1, Steffi Laier, Germany, KTM, 213
2, Chiara Fontanesi, Italy, Yamaha, 204
3, Larissa Papenmeier, Germany KTM 172
4, Britt van der Wekken, Netherlands, Honda, 141
5, Sara Pettersson, Sweden, KTM, 126
1, KTM 213 points
2, Yamaha 204
3, Honda 141