Vincent Philippe of Suzuki Endurance Racing Team leading the way at the Oschersleben 8 Hour in Germany.
Current World Endurance Championship points leaders, the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT), took the win at the penultimate round of the 2012 season at the Oschersleben 8 Hours in Germany. They were followed by BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent in second and Yamaha France GMT 94 in third.
Piloted by Vincent Phillippe, Anthony Delhalle and Yukio Kagayama, SERT took victory one lap over the closest competition. SERT had an impressive weekend in Germany, topping the timesheets in practice and qualifying and leading for most of the main event. Damien Cudlin, Sebastien Gimbert and Erwan Nigon, riding for BMW, started from the number two spot on the grid but slipped back early in the race to third and battled with Yamaha France GMT 94 for much of the contest. Half-way through the event, SERT had already put a gap of one lap on GMT 94, who had made it into second, and were given some additional breathing room when early rivals, Monster Energy Yamaha YART, crashed and lost seven laps in the pit for repairs. The BMW squad rallied and regained the upper-hand on GMT 94 in the final laps of the race.
“Obviously we were looking for the win, but it’s good to be on the podium for BMW here in Germany,” said Cudlin. “Actually it’s good for me too; I only live about 200km from here, so this is like a home race for me! So, it was nice, but it would have been nicer to be one step higher. Unfortunately, this weekend, we never really found a good set-up for this track. I crashed in warm up too, which didn’t really help our confidence, and meant that the guys had to work flat out to get the bike rebuilt for the race.”
Honda TT Legends took fourth after settling into position early in the race and holding steady to the finish. As a result of the finishing order, the TT Legends team of John McGuinness, Cameron Donald and Jason O’Halloran are now tied in second with BMW Motorrad.
“We pushed hard today and we had some objectives to get to the next level and we’ve done that,” said McGuinness. “We’re a lot closer to the front runners than we have been all year. It was just a perfect race really; all the pit stops were good, no mistakes from any of the riders and we ended up fourth. It’s frustrating not to be on the podium because I feel like we deserve it, but it wasn’t for the lack of trying. We’re joint second and we have it all to play for.”
Yamalube Folch Endurance rounded out the top five, followed by Bollinger Team Switzerland in sixth and Monster Energy Yamaha YART in seventh. Motobox Kremer by Shell took eighth with Union Lilja Racing and Team R2CL taking ninth and tenth respectively.
The final round of the season is set for September 9th at the Le Mans 24 Hours in France. With 40 points available to the winners at Le Mans, five teams are within striking range of the title. SERT is 19 ahead of both BMW Motorrad and the TT Legends team, Yamah GMT 94 trail a further two points back and Bolinger Team Switzerland hold in fifth at 55 points overall.
Oschersleben 8 Hours Results 2012:
1. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (A. Delhalle, Y. Kagayama, V. Philippe)
2. BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent (S. Gimbert, D. Cudlin, E. Nigon)
3. Yamaha France GMT 94 (D. Checa, K. Foray, G. Giabbani)
4. Honda TT Legends (C. Donald, J. McGuinness, J. O’Halloran)
5. Yamahalube Folch Endurance (D. Ribalta, A. Tizon)
6. Bolinger Team Switzerland (H. Saiger, R. Stamm, J. Tangre)
7. Monster Energy Yamaha YART (I. Jerman, S. Martin, K. Nakasuga)
8. Motobox Kremer by Shell (M. Scherrer, T. Paailainen, K. Szalai)
9. Union Lilja Racing (T. North, A, Lilja)
10. Team R2CL (N. Chevaux, D. Buisson, S. Prulhiere)
World Endurance Championship Points:
1. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, 95
2. BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent, 76
3. Honda TT Legends, 76
4. Yamaha France GMT 94, 74
5. Bollinger Team Switzerland, 55
6. Yamahlube Folch Endurance, 55
7. Monster Energy Yamaha YART, 42
8. Team SRC Kawasaki, 40
9. Team R2CL, 38
10. FCC TSR Honda, 35