Defending champion Manuel Lettenbichler (Red Bull KTM) fought his way into the lead on day three of the Red Bull Romanics with a gritty performance that lifted him above Graham Jarvis (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) in the battle for one of hard enduro’s biggest prizes.
The German overturned a 42-second deficit at the start of the day and after four hours and 20 seconds – and 110km – in the saddle he led the British rider by 2:18.
Jarvis led the field away but Lettenbichler set a furious pace from the start and just 45 minutes into the second full off-road stage of the event he was almost two minutes ahead. With a solid lead established, he eased off slightly and kept it smooth all the way to the flag.
Jarvis is known in Romania as the King of the Carpathians thanks to his six previous Romaniacs victories and the 45-year-old Brit ensured that he remains in contention with two days of racing still to go.
Tuesday’s time trial winner Wade Young (Sherco) came out on top of a three-way battle for third with Alfredo Gomez (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) and Billy Bolt (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) and is now 5:13 behind Lettenbichler.
Britain’s Bolt had started the day in fourth but crashed on a steep, rocky section which allowed Gomez to pick up a place while Poland’s Taddy Blazusiak (Red Bull Gas Gas) was forced to withdraw when the pain from a shoulder injury became too much for him to endure.