News 25 Jul 2010

EWC: Three Honda teams sweep Suzuka 8 Hours podium

The Honda MuSashi Harc Pro determination to win defied all bets, winning Sunday’s Suzuka 8 Hours round of the Endurance World Championship.

The Honda ridden by Riyuichi Kiyonari, Takaaki Nakagami and Takumi Takahashi took victory after 8 Hours of racing under the heat of a sunny Suzuka, ahead of two other Hondas – the Keihin Kohara of Shinichi Itoh and Makoto Tamada, and the FCC TSR of Kosuke Akiyoshi, Jonathan Rea and Yuki Takahashi.

“I am so happy that I was able to accomplish a third winning of the Suzuka 8 Hours,” Kiyonari said of his third Suzuka win. “Today’s win was a memorable moment that I will never forget. Takumi fought so hard that I’m glad I was able to pair up with him for this race.

“The team staff and Takumi were a big support in this victory. Thank you to the fans for cheering us. If I have the chance to participate in this race again, I will look forward to it.”

After a 2009 edition won by Yoshimura Suzuki, Honda puts their hands back on Suzuka with three machines on the podium.

If Keihin Kohara did a faultless race being constantly in the top three, that was a great comeback for FCC TSR.

At the very beginning of the race, Kosuke Akiyoshi overtook twice under the yellow flag. Penalised by two stop and go, the Honda FCC TSR then crashed with Jonathan Rea.

They got back on track in 42nd position, four laps behind the leaders, before achieving a fantastic come-back with the best race lap, in 2:08.705.

Once again, Suzuka 8 Hours confirms their reputation of being an incredibly exciting round, full of suspense and drama. The Yoshimura Suzuki with Eneos of Daisaku Sakai and Yukio Kagayama can testify for sure – being the favourite after clinching the pole position.

The leading Suzuki was delayed by two crashes and finished the race in sixth place. The first Suzuki is Faro Plot Panthera, in fourth place, ahead of the Honda Team Plus One.

Current Qtel FIM Endurance World Championship leader, Bolliger Switzerland is the best permanent team placed. Scoring the eight points of the ninth place, the Swiss team on Kawasaki increased to 10 points their championship lead over Yamaha Austria Racing Team.

Although they managed to be qualified in 8th position, YART had so suffer two crashes from Gwen Giabbani. The Austrian Yamaha finished 16th, just behind the points and featuring Aussie Steve Martin.

There is also a mix of frustration and disappointment for Yamaha France GMT 94 Ipone.

After being worried by some overheating problems during the qualifications, the team managed by Christophe Guyot did a great start. They were seeking to pass the first hour in ninth position.

Unfortunately, a broken valve made the Yamaha 94 to retire from the race, ruling Aussie Damian Cudlin’s hopes of a solid Suzuka finish.

The next EWC round is scheduled for 11-12 September with the Bol d’Or at Magny-Cours in France.