Sylvain Guintoli fighting to regain hotshot status
Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli is another rider off the successful young production line of promising French talent. The country has had a strong presence in the 250cc class in recent years thanks to the efforts of Olivier Jacque and Randy De Puniet. Guintoli was nearly the forgotten man after taking a year out from competitive GP racing and assuming the role of test rider for the Tech 3 team during 2002.
He accepted the offer of the Italian Campetella squad to line-up with Franco Battaini this year in his comeback campaign and so far has been quietly earning points as he adapts again to the 250.
Before his move into the ´testing arena´ Guintoli was the ´De Puniet´ of 2001, showing a lot of promise and an impressive speed. His best result was 4th position in his debut season at Assen and 14th overall hinted towards things to come. Now he is striving to reach that higher level once again and use the experience of his time as 500cc back-up rider to good effect.
The form is starting to show and last weekend at his home GP he was involved in an intense fight for the final podium position. Here he recounts the GP that has re-launched his face on the GP map and what he hopes will be a springboard to overdue glory:
´Sunday in Le Mans was a good race and for many laps I thought a podium might be possible. Nieto passed me on the last lap and we touched and that put me almost off the circuit. Matsudo also went through and then I could not catch them. I could only take sixth by the end but I am happy with this because it is another forward step for me and to be in the top half of the Championship. I showed that I can run with the leaders and I hope for more of the same in Mugello where it will be the home GP for the team.
Now I am working on my rhythm and keeping consistent. It was difficult at the IRTA tests to come back to the 250 and straight into racing again. I had to adapt but my positions are getting higher with every practice and every GP.´