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Sep 9, 2010

BMP Elf 99 Fastest In Qualifying Thursday At The Bol d'Or 24-Hour World Endurance Race

BMP-ELF-99 in action at Magny Cours.
BMW BMP Elf 99 dominates Bol d'Or qualifications ahead of Honda Michelin PRT and GSR Kawasaki

The BMW from team BMP Elf 99 with Sébastien Gimbert, Erwan Nigon and Matthieu Lagrive confirmed its free practice domination by signing the best qualification time at Magny-Cours for the Bol d'Or, fourth round of the 2010 Qtel FIM Endurance World Championship. Sébastien Gimbert took the best individual time of the session with a lap in 1'40.782.

Despite a small crash from Erwan Nigon towards the end of the session, the BMW 99 remains the fastest bike on track at the average lap times of its three riders. Just behind is the very fast Honda from Michelin Power Research Team of William Costes, Josep Monge and Hugo Marchand. The GSR Kawasaki of Julien Da Costa, Olivier Four and Gregory Leblanc managed to take the third place ahead of the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team and the Yamaha Austria Racing Team. SERT is still working on the bike set-up, as the first twenty places on the starting grid will be reallocated after tomorrow's afternoon Superpole.

The Junior Team Suzuki LMS took a great sixth place and leads the Superstock class, ahead of the Suzuki from Qatar Endurance Racing Team and Starteam 67. In the top 10 are also the Honda National Motos, the Kawasaki Bolliger Switzerland, the Yamaha RAC 41 City Bike and the Yamaha France GMT 94 Ipone. The official French Yamaha, who changed of tyre supplier and is now riding on Michelin, has to do in a few days, the same chassis set-up that has been done with the other teams since the beginning of the season.

The second qualification session is scheduled tomorrow Friday morning. The first twenty places on the starting grid will be reallocated after tomorrow's afternoon Superpole, which is scheduled Friday at 3 pm. To follow live results, log onto www.fim-live.com/fr/sport/endurance and on www.oriontiming.com/results.htm




More, from a press release issued by BMP-ELF-99:

BMP-ELF-99 LEAD QUALIFYING FOR THE BOL D'OR

The BMP-ELF-99 Racing Team got the 2010 Bol d'Or weekend off to a strong start, with the team's riders topping the timesheets in all four of today's qualifying sessions at the Magny-Cours circuit in France.

Sebastien Gimbert set the fastest time of the day overall aboard the BMP-ELF-99 liveried BMW S1000RR endurance racer, with Erwan Nigon and Matthieu Lagrive leading their own qualifying groups with after posting laps less than half a second off their teammate's best time.

But the BMP-ELF-99 Racing Team's Bol d'Or debut didn't go completely according to plan today. Nigon crashed heavily at the end of his qualifying session, almost completely destroying the team's practice bike and forcing Lagrive to switch to the race bike for his qualifying session. With the team's mechanics still working to repair the crashed bike, all three riders had to complete this evening's mandatory night practice aboard the race bike, but limited themselves to the minimum five laps required by the regulations.

The BMP-ELF-99 Racing Team's mechanics will continue rebuilding the practice bike overnight, ready for tomorrow's final qualifying sessions and Superpole shootout, in which the team's riders are determined to claim pole position for Saturday's 74th edition of the Bol d'Or.

Matthieu Lagrive
"I'm pretty happy with how things have gone today. Erwan had a big crash during his qualifying session, so I had to ride the race bike in my qualifying session. There were a few small problems, which meant I wasn't able to push for a fast lap time, but the fact that I was fastest in my group shows just how good the BMW and the Michelin tyres are. For me setting the fastest time in qualifying isn't a big priority, more important is setting the bike up and making it easy to ride in the race, especially with the chicanes here at Magny-Cours. Tomorrow, when we're back on the practice bike, I'll be able to push harder and I'm confident the lap times will improve."

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"I'm happy with what we've managed to achieve today on our debut at the Bol d'Or and also our first race with the BMW S1000RR. What we've shown today by setting the fastest time in all four qualifying sessions is that the BMW S1000RR and our three riders certainly have the pace to secure pole position in tomorrow's Superpole shootout, but the race is a different scenario altogether. A lot can go wrong during 24 hours of racing, and this is our first Endurance World Championship round with the BMW S1000RR, so we're determined not to fall into the trap of being overconfident going into Saturday's race. Having said that, today was a good start to the weekend and I hope we can carry this momentum into Superpole tomorrow and the race on Saturday. If we walk away with a top ten finish this weekend, then I'd be happy enough with that."