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Sep 21, 2011

Updated: Team BMW Motorrad France 99 Leads FIM Endurance World Championship Heading Into Le Mans 24-Hour

TEAM BMW MOTORRAD FRANCE 99 READY FOR LE MANS

Team BMW Motorrad France 99 head for the prestigious 24 Heures Moto at Le Mans this weekend, determined to extend their lead at the top of the Endurance World Championship standings.

Already this season - only their second in the championship - Team BMW Motorrad France 99 have secured a podium finish at the Bol d'Or, taken their first race win at Albacete and finished an impressive sixth against a host of factory teams at the Suzuka 8-Hour.

As a result, the team head into the penultimate round of the series with a six-point advantage over reigning world champions SERT at the top of the standings. But with 35 points on offer to the winner of the 24 Heures Moto, the championship is still far from over.

Team riders, Sébastien Gimbert, Erwan Nigon and Damian Cudlin, are certainly under no illusions as to how tough a challenge they face this weekend, as they look to increase their lead further at the top of the championship.

The pressure may be on, but Gimbert, Nigon and Cudlin go into the weekend with some confidence, having topped the timesheet consistently during the recent two-day pre-Mans test at the Bugatti Circuit.

Sébastien Gimbert
"I think we're in good shape for this weekend's race at Le Mans. The fact that we were quickest at the pre-Mans test a few weeks ago, even though we were working towards a set-up on the S1000RR that would make it both consistent and easy to ride, inspires confidence. We also go into the Le Mans weekend off the back of our success at Albi, where I won the French Superbike Championship and Erwan finished second, to give BMW their second consecutive one-two in the series. I'm looking forward to the weekend ahead at Le Mans, where I hope we'll be able to successfully increase our lead in the championship standings."

Erwan Nigon
"I can't wait to get started this weekend at Le Mans. I think this is actually the first time ever that I've gone into a 24 hour race at Le Mans with no worries at all. We had a very good pre-Mans test, setting the fastest time on the S1000RR, but also coming away with a set-up that will work well in the race. In Sébastien, Damian and myself we have three riders all on the same level and able to lap at the same pace, so I am pretty confident we have a good chance of increasing the gap at the top of the championship standings."

Damian Cudlin
"I've done this race every year since 2006, with different teams, on different bikes and with different tyres. But this year I'll be racing with by far the best package I've ever had. The BMW S1000RR has proved ultra-competitive already this season, we know that Michelin have a solution for every eventuality, the team are experienced and I've got two very fast teammates in Sébastien and Erwan. I couldn't ask for more. Everything looks good, but this is endurance racing and anything can happen in 24 hours, so we also need Lady Luck to be on our side, or at least not against us, this weekend. I'll be happy if we make it to the chequered flag, but even more so if it's in first place!"

For live updates, videos and images throughout the event follow @BMWMF99 on Twitter, or log onto the team Facebook page.

Live timing will be available throughout practice, qualifying and the race at www.lemans.org. Motors TV will also be showing the race live throughout the weekend.

24 Heures Moto Schedule

Thursday 22 September
12.30 - 14.30 Free Practice
16.30 - 19.00 Qualifying sessions
21.00 - 22.00 Night practice

Friday 23 September
11.00 - 13.30 Qualifying sessions

Saturday 24 September
10.30 - 11.15 Warm-up
15.00 - Race starts

Sunday 25 September
15.00 - Race ends




More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:

BMW S 1000 RR: Endurance challenge at the Sarthe.

World Championship leader Team BMW Motorrad France 99 looks for more honours at the prestigious 24 hour motorcycle race at Le Mans.

Munich/Le Mans. The BMW S 1000 RR is ready for a real endurance challenge: Team BMW Motorrad France 99 will compete in the prestigious 24 Heures Moto at Le Mans (FRA) this weekend (24/25September). The 24 hour race is a part of the 2011 FIM Endurance World Championship. The French BMW team will travel as the championship leaders to the Sarthe and is determined to continue its successful streak.

Already this season - only its second in the championship - Team BMW Motorrad France 99 has secured a podium finish at the Bol d'Or at Magny-Cours (FRA), taken the first win for the RR at a world championship race at Albacete (ESP) and finished an impressive fourth against a host of factory teams at the Suzuka 8-Hour (JPN).

As a result, the team heads into the penultimate round of the series leading the world championship standings with a six-point advantage over its closest rivals. But with 35 points on offer to the winner of the 24 Heures Moto, the championship is still far from over. Team riders, newly crowned French Superbike champion Sébastien Gimbert (FRA), Erwan Nigon (FRA) and Damian Cudlin (AUS), are certainly under no illusions as to how tough a challenge they face this weekend, as they look to increase their lead further at the top of the championship. But they go into the weekend with some confidence, having topped the timesheets consistently during the recent two-day pre-Mans test at the Bugatti Circuit.

"The atmosphere at Le Mans is something special for every motorsport fan, and it is a special feeling for BMW Motorrad France to head into this classic 24 hour race as one of the favourites", said Marcel Driessen, Director BMW Motorrad France. "We are well prepared: the team is in a good mood, has gelled together very well and we have three riders at the top level. Of course we want to win at Le Mans, but we have an even higher goal: The most important thing for us is to win the world championship at the end of the season."

"I think we're in good shape for this weekend's race at Le Mans", said Gimbert. "The fact that we were quickest at the pre-Mans test a few weeks ago, even though we were working towards a set-up on the RR that would make it both consistent and easy to ride, inspires confidence. We also go into the Le Mans weekend off the back of our success at Albi, where I won the French Superbike Championship and Erwan finished second, to give BMW its second consecutive one-two in the series. I'm looking forward to the weekend ahead at Le Mans, where I hope we'll be able to successfully increase our lead in the championship standings."

"I can't wait to get started this weekend at Le Mans", added Nigon. "I think this is actually the first time that I've ever gone into a 24 hour race at Le Mans with no worries at all. We had a very good pre-Mans test, setting the fastest time on the RR, but also came away with a set-up that will work well in the race."

"I've done this race every year since 2006, but this year I'll be racing with by far the best package I've ever had", commented Cudlin. "The BMW S 1000 RR has proved ultra-competitive already this season, we know that Michelin have a solution for every eventuality, the team is experienced and I've got two very fast teammates in Sébastien and Erwan. I couldn't ask for more. Everything looks good, but this is endurance racing and anything can happen in 24 hours, so we also need Lady Luck to be on our side, or at least not against us, this weekend."