Provisional pole for Honda Racing at the Bol d'Or
The opening round of the 2014 Endurance World Championship got underway today with the Honda Racing team qualifying in provisional pole position for the Bol d’Or 24-hour race, which will begin at 15.00 CEST this Saturday.
The first of two qualifying sessions took place in warm and sunny conditions this afternoon with the all-new Honda Racing rider line-up of Julien Da Costa, Freddy Foray and Sebastien Gimbert each completing a 20-minute stint aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP.
Da Costa and Foray were second quickest in their respective sessions, while Gimbert topped the timesheet in his. Da Costa was the fastest rider of the Honda Racing trio with a time of 1:40.382. The combined average of all three riders’ lap times (1:40.802) places the team on provisional pole.
Reserve rider Jason O’Halloran also completed a session today as part of the team’s fuel strategy development. The riders will now take part in night practice this evening before the second qualifying sessions tomorrow afternoon.
Neil Tuxworth team manager
To achieve provisional pole position at the first round of the championship shows both the effort the team have made over the winter to prepare the machine and the calibre of the riders we have competing for us this year. It’s not a done deal yet as we still have another session tomorrow, but it’s a great way to start the weekend.
Julien Da Costa 1:40.382
We didn’t expect to get pole position to be honest as we were working on race set-up so it’s a nice surprise. It’s a good opportunity to show how well the team is working together and we hope we can continue this and convert it into a podium on Sunday.
Freddy Foray 1:41.324
It is pretty good to have the pole position at this stage. I’m happy with my times, particularly with my physical condition caused by a crash I had at Brands Hatch last weekend. Now I need get the maximum amount of rest before the race to ensure I’m ready.
Sebastien Gimbert 1:40.702
I am happy with today. A 24-hour race is never easy and pole position does not mean so much, but I’m happy for Honda, for the team and for my team-mates because it was important to us to start well. For me, the biggest step we’ve made is with the bike. It is so easy to ride and it's fast. I did my best lap on a race tyre. As I say, you can be in pole position and not finish, but we have done a good job.
More, from a press release issued by Penz13.com BMW Racing Team:
Penz13.com BMW Racing Team: Strong start to the first Qualifying
Magny Cours. The Penz13.com Franks Autowelt Racing Team took off to a strong start to the 78th Bol d’Or - the last one at the Circuit de Nevers at Magny-Cours for now. Jason Pridmore (USA), Pedro Vallcaneras (ESP) and Bastien Mackels (BEL) did what they need to at the opening day of the opening weekend of the 2014 FIM Endurance World Championship.
All three riders got to grips with the BMW S 1000 RR machinery of the Rico Penzkofer lead squad very quickly. Pridmore used his first qualifying stint to work on the race setting of the team’s machines, the other two riders were able to focus on lap times respectively.
Especially Vallcaneras took a strong start in the weekend. The Spaniard was watching the other riders on track in those sections where he knew he every had problems. The rider from Mallorca then got faster - and faster than ever before on the Magny Cours track.
Reigning IDM Superstock Champion Mackels found his way to the team much quicker than expected and fought on his Superstock-BMW at the forefront of the Superbikes during his Qualifying group. Mackels especially was satisfied with the team’s Pirelli tires that worked more than well during today’s, Thursday’s, sessions.
The average fastest lap time of the Penz13.com Franks Autowelt Racing Team today was recorded in 1:42,602 Minutes which was the provisional 9th spot on the grid and 2nd in the Superstock class.
Tomorrow, Friday, the final qualifying will take place, the race is set to start Saturday, 15:00 local time.
Jason Pridmore, 1:43,241 Minutes:
„Today I focused on the race setup and I told the other guys to go for it in the qualifying. Together with Kurt Böck of the HP Race Support we took some big changes to the bike which we hope to confirm tomorrow given the expected rain won’t hit the circuit here. I am more than pleased with the work of both of my team mates here as well as of the whole crew and with our BMW S 1000 RR!”
Pedro Vallcaneras, 1:43,130 Minutes:
„I am more than happy today. I took a look at different sections of the track where I knew I had problems. I watched the others riding through there and was able to convert that on the bike myself. I am happy as I’ve never been so quick here before. If the weather is right tomorrow, I want to improve further.”
Bastien Mackels, 1:41,437 Minutes:
„Today I was surprised how good the Pirelli tire was right out of the gutter. This is a lot better material, than I know it from the IDM. I was able to go quick very easily. The team’s BMW S 1000 RR is very well prepared. I am looking forward to tomorrow already.”