A first win for Honda Racing ahead of Yamaha Racing GMT 94 Michelin and Bolliger Team Switzerland
Honda Racing has finally clinched its first victory by winning the Oschersleben 8 Hours ahead of Yamaha Racing GMT 94 Michelin who strengthened their grip on the Championship lead. Discreet in the practice but impressive during the race, Bolliger Team Switzerland took the third step on the podium.
This 3rd round of the FIM Endurance World Championship was another crazy race. The tone was set from the start with a crash for the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team that led Monster Energy Yamaha YART to crash in turn. A few moments later, a touch brought down the Kawasaki SRC. The three favourites therefore started the race at the back of the field.
Honda Racing, after a head to head with SRC Kawasaki at the start, took the lead and never let it go. Julien Da Costa, Sébastien Gimbert and Freddy Foray powered this British team to its first victory. They withstood the pressure piled on from the start by David Checa, Kenny Foray and Mathieu Gines on the Yamaha Racing GMT 94 Michelin. Held back at the end of the race by a crash on an oily track that heralded 45 minutes of safety car, the French Yamaha finished two laps behind the winners but bolstered their place at the top of the world rankings with a lead of 21 points over Bolliger Team Switzerland.
The Swiss team made their mark in Oschersleben. Horst Saiger, Roman Stamm and Daniel Sutter pulled off a copybook race on the #8 Kawasaki taking second place in the world rankings just ahead of the Team SRC Kawasaki.
On the French Kawasaki, Gregory Leblanc, Matthieu Lagrive and Fabien Forêt had to work very hard to reach 10th place overall and 7th in EWC. The Suzuki Endurance Racing Team made a better recovery from its early misfortunes. Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and Erwan Nigon finished 6th overall and 4th in their EWC class ahead of Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers and Monster Energy Yamaha YART. Flembbo Leader Team, National Motos and Motobox Kremer by Shell Advance made up the Top 10 in EWC.
The Superstocks, very impressive in the practice, did not disappoint in the race. Penz13.com Franks Autowelt Racing Team (Pedro Vallcaneras, Bastien Mackels and Markus Reiterberger) took the category win, finishing just shy of the overall podium ahead of Qatar Endurance Racing Team (Anthony West, Alex Cudlin and Mashel Al Naimi) and Junior Team LMS Suzuki (Baptiste Guittet, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black) who held on to their provisional lead in the Superstock class. The 4th Superstock in the race, Starteam PAM Racing, scored its first points of the season as did ECS Ecurie Chrono Sport 1. The 5th Superstock in Oschersleben, AM Moto Racing Compétition, is now 3rd on the provisional leader board. The BMW of msd-steeldesign.de was disqualified for diluting its cooling liquid with glycol instead of water as required by the Rules.
There were a lot of crashes, some of them terminal. While some managed to get back into the race, Broc Parkes’ departure from the track after he had spent the first two hours battling it out in the leading trio put Monster Energy Yamaha #07 out of the race. A crash at the end of the race put paid to the hopes of a podium finish for the Suzuki of Team R2CL. A crash was also the source of mechanical problems that led to a DNF for Yamaha Viltaïs Expériences who lose their 2nd place on the Superstock leader board.
Join us for the next and final round on 20 on 21 September for the Le Mans 24 Hours Moto.
More, from a press release issued by Honda Racing:
Honda Racing celebrates debut EWC victory at Oschersleben 8 Hours
The Honda Racing team is celebrating its debut Endurance World Championship victory after leading today’s Oschersleben 8 Hours race from the first lap to the chequered flag. The team picks up 35 points to climb to fourth in the EWC standings.
Julien Da Costa started the race for the team and claimed the top spot by the end of the first lap, during which both SERT and YART crashed and SRC Kawasaki pitted with a bike issue. The next few hours passed without incident and with Honda Racing holding on to a one-lap lead ahead of Yamaha Racing GMT94.
At 17.00, while Sebastien Gimbert was on the bike, heavy rain began to fall, forcing all teams to pit early and change to full wet tyres. Freddy Foray took over and remained on board while many other teams succumbed to the wet conditions and the safety car was deployed. An oil spill resulted in the race continuing under these conditions for 45 minutes as the track was cleaned, eventually resuming at 18.45 with just over an hour remaining.
Having carried out an impressive race strategy to pit just six times during the eight-hour battle, Honda Racing held a three-lap lead as Da Costa headed out on cut slicks for the final stint. He held steady on the drying track to bring home the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP in first place, securing the team’s first-ever EWC victory. Yamaha Racing GMT94 placed second with Team Bolliger Switzerland in third.
The final round of the 2014 Endurance World Championship – the Le Mans 24-hour – will take place on 21/22 September.
Neil Tuxworth team manager
I’m so pleased for everyone in the team – not just the riders but for the entire crew. We’ve had a lot of heartbreak this year with our results and we should have had a win before now, so it’s great to get this victory, which the team well deserves. Let’s hope we can move forward with the momentum of this result and it will be one of many wins that the team will get in the future.
Julien Da Costa
It has been a difficult season for the team, so this win is good for everybody, the riders and the crew. I am happy because we have worked so hard and this is what we have been aiming for. After the problems at the Bol d’Or and Suzuka, we deserve the win and now we are feeling very positive going to the Le Mans 24-hour.
This is such a good thing for everyone, not just us riders but for the whole team. We have worked very hard since the start of the year and it hasn’t paid off until now. We led the race and we won the race and I am very happy for everyone. We needed this win. The race was difficult because of the rain, and that came while I was on the bike so that wasn’t very good for me! But that doesn’t matter now – this is a great thing for the team going into the Le Mans 24-hour.
I am happy, especially for the mechanics. Endurance racing is not just about you as a rider and you can’t win it alone. I have two of the best riders with me, I have the best crew and the best bike and we finally got the win we deserve after all the problems. We have pushed so hard and it is so good to get the result. We’ll be looking to win at Le Man. The championship is not over yet!