News 19 Apr 2010

EWC: Martin second at Le Mans, Alex Cudlin takes 'Stock

The GSR Kawasaki of Julien da Costa, Olivier Four and Grégory Leblanc won the first round of the 2010 Qtel FIM Endurance World Championship over the weekend, with an eleven lap gap over the Yamaha Austria Racing Team of Australia’s own Steve Martin, Gwen Giabbani and Igor Jerman.

No one could deprive the official Kawasaki to put once again their name on the walls of one of the main world endurance race, winning Le Mans for the first time since 1999.

The last hours of race were difficult for Yamaha Austria Racing Team, affected by some overheating problems since the middle of the night and had to come back for pit stops more often than not. However, the 2009 world champion team managed to keep the RAC 41 City Bike of Gregory Junod, Greg Black and Olivier Depoorter four laps behind.

This 33rd edition of Le Mans offered a tri-color podium, as far as the manufacturers, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki, as well as the tyre suppliers, Pirelli, Michelin and Dunlop, are concerned.

Fourth in the race was the Yamaha France GMT 94 Ipone of David Checa, Gregorio Lavilla and Kenny Foray, which had a better race than expected.

The Suzuki RT Moto Virus of Frédéric Jond, Eric Mizera and William Grare took a fantastic fifth place ahead of the Kawasaki Bolliger Team Switzerland of Horst Saiger, Roman Stamm and Frédéric Chabosseau. The Swiss Kawasaki team was expecting a spot onto the podium but they had to give away their third place as a clutch problem occurred around 11:00am.

After a rather quiet night, the morning was full of surprises.

The Honda National Motos had to deal with many technical problems, a crash that damaged the engine, and on top of that, some fire took place on the bike during a pit stop after previously running in third position. They managed to get back on track for a last lap under the chequered flag, and finished the race in 31st position and 14th EWC.

Same story for the Suzuki Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers, in fourth place before some transmission problem and a broken engine case stopped their race.

In the Superstock class, the Suzuki of Qatar Endurance Racing Team took their first Le Mans class victory. Anthony Delhalle, Alex Cudlin and Rashid Al Mannai had to fight hard for that. The QERT took advantage of the fact that the Suzuki Motor Events of Vincent Bocquet, Emilien Humeau and Gérald Muteau, which was promised to a class victory, was then involved in a accident with another machine.

The BMW Colexon of Florian Kresse, Marc Wildisen and Udo Reischman completes the Superstock podium.

The pace was very high during the first four hours of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The beginning was the race was animated by Vincent Philippe on the SERT Suzuki, who made the holeshot, but they were out of the race after two hours. Back on track at a slow pace after a crash, Guillaume Dietrich could not be avoided by Victor Carrasco on the Yamaha BK Maco Moto Racing Team. The two machines were completely destroyed from the crash.

The BMW Michelin of Sébastien Gimbert, Erwan Nigon and Bertrand Stey retired around 11:00am. In fifth place after three hours of race, the bike was delayed by a faulty water hose and then from some very strong electrics problems. However, Gimbert did set a new race record with a lap in 1:38.425.

The Honda Michelin Power Research Team also gave up before midnight, as their engine broke down. In the top 10 in the first set of laps, the Honda Michelin PRT lost contact from the early race as Josep Monge crashed and some front brake problems occurred.

The Suzuki AM Moto Racing also retired in the beginning of the night. The Suzuki 110 was well placed in the top 10 from the beginning of the race. Same disappointment for the RMT 21 and Folch Endurance. The German Honda (frame damaged after a crash) and the Spanish Yamaha (mechanical problem) left the race at the same time.

Australian Damian Cudlin finished up the race in 15th overall with the brand new BMP Elf 99 Racing Team on a Honda CBR1000RR.

Round two of the 2010 Qtel FIM Endurance World Championship will take place on the 22 May in Spain, for the 8 Hours of Albacete.

Click here for detailed results