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Sep 12, 2010

Bol d'Or 24-Hour Update

BMW BMP-Elf-99 during the night at Bol d'Or.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team leads Bol d'Or ahead of Yamaha France GMT 94 and the BMW BMP Elf 99

After a dual battle for leadership with Yamaha France GMT 94 Ipone all night long, the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team managed to open the gap early this morning. On the official Suzuki, Vincent Philippe, Guillaume Dietrich and Freddy Foray had, at 8 pm, a three laps gap over the Yamaha of David Checa, Kenny Foray and Gregory Junod.

After leading the first hours, the BMW BMP Elf 99 lost time yesterday evening due to a leaking oil breather. The BMW came back in the top 3, but was delayed once again at 5 am as Matthieu Lagrive crashed, with a blocked steering damper. With Sébastien Gimbert and Erwan Nigon, the BMW was 8 laps behind SERT at 8 am this Sunday.

The Kawasaki Bolliger Team Switzerland tried to hold back the Spanish Yamaha Folch Endurance assault, but Folch managed to take the fourth place this morning and relegated Bolliger one lap behind. On a fast and regular pace on track, the Suzuki RAC 41 City Bike and RT Moto Virus are battling for the sixth place since a few hours.

The first Superstock machine, the Yamaha of team X-One, is doing very well since the beginning of the race and is in eight place, ahead of the Yamaha Biker's Day and the LTG 57. Engaged in the Open class, the surprising Metiss JLC Moto is currently within the Superstock machines.

The night has been difficult and many teams had to retire. The Suzuki Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers gave up during the night due to some electric problems. A little bit earlier, the Yamaha Austria retired from an oil leak, the GSR Kawasaki crashed and the Suzuki Junior Team had some fatal overheating. In the beginning of the race, National Motos and Michelin Power Research Team also retired after crashing.

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


Having led the 74th edition of the Bol d'Or at Magny-Cours for the first five hours, the BMP-ELF-99 Racing Team had slipped back to fourth place as midnight approached, having lost time to a technical issue, a crash and a stop-go penalty during the sixth and seventh hours of the 24-hour race.

As Sebastien Gimbert returned to the pits after his second session on the team's BMW S1000RR time was lost as mechanics replaced a fractured breather pipe on the bike. The repair cost the BMP-ELF-99 Racing Team the lead, with Matthieu Lagrive rejoining the race in second place.

But worse was to come less than an hour later, when Lagrive joined four other riders in the gravel trap after crashing on oil dropped on the entry to turn 16, the start of the Complexe du Lycée. The BMP-ELF-99 rider lost additional time trying to pick up the bike alone, as the marshals were already assisting the previous fallers.

Once the bike was returned to the pits the BMP-ELF-99 crew went to work; repairing the damage, changing the tyres and refuelling in record time to get Erwan Nigon back in the race less than three minutes after Lagrive had entered pit lane. Unfortunately for Nigon he was deemed by race direction to have exceeded the speed limit in pit lane and the subsequent stop-go penalty meant the team had dropped down to ninth place at the end of the seventh hour.

A concerted effort by all three riders during their next sessions aboard the BMW S1000RR saw the BMP-ELF-99 Racing Team reclaim fourth place as Saturday evening passed into Sunday morning, and with 15 hours of the race left to run.

Matthieu Lagrive: Pilote Rouge
"I could see the YART bike was losing oil for a couple of laps, and I could also clearly see the black flag with the number one on it at the entrance to pit lane. He carried on for three laps without stopping until his engine let go and dumped oil on the track. I think there were five of us who went down on the oil; it wasn't a big crash, but the marshals were helping the other riders and I lost time trying to pick the bike up on my own. Luckily the bike had only superficial damage and the team were able to get it fixed and back out on track without losing too much time."

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"First we lost time and the race lead through a minor technical issue, then Matthieu crashed on someone else's oil and when Erwan returned to the track after the damage was repaired he was given a stop-go penalty under questionable circumstances. They say these things come in threes, so hopefully that's all our bad luck done for this race and now we'll have a clear run to the finish. All three riders have pushed hard to get us back up to fourth place, and we will continue to push in a bid to make up ground on the leading trio before the end of the race. There is still a long way to go yet and, as we've seen many times before, anything can happen between now and the finish tomorrow."
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