8 Hours Of Doha: BMP Elf 99 BMW Report

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8 Hours of Doha Results

Australia’s Damian Cudlin was forced to watch another podium finish disappear under the lights in Qatar for the 8 Hours of Doha on Sunday at the final round of the World Endurance Championship in Qatar.

Having dominated every practice and qualifying session, the BMP Elf 99 BMW Team looked odds on favorites to take their first endurance motorcycle race win of the season in Qatar as Cudlin lined up in pole position for the start of the 8 Hour of Doha in Qatar race.

After struggling to start his BMW S1000RR engine on the line, Cudlin limped away in 20th position but soon made early progress in the race, disposing of his competitors one by one.

Soon Cudlin had climbed to second and began to close the deficit to the fast starting SERT Suzuki. As the gap reduced from 14 seconds to less than three, Cudlin made his first scheduled pit stop and handed over to team mate, Sebastian Gimbert.

Suzuki pitted a lap later and Vincent Phillipe handed the controls to World Superbike rider Sylvain Guintoli. Gimbert then caught and passed the Suzuki rider for the lead, as the pair engaged in an exciting dual, exchanging passes every lap for outright supremacy.

The 8 Hours of Doha race became a scrap between the two teams for the majority of the race, a third placed YART couldn’t maintain the searing pace at the front and steadily dropped further behind.

However with just 50 minutes of the race to go, disaster struck the luckless BMP squad as Gimbert suffered a fall avoiding a back marker’s accident. The extensive damage to the 99 BMW was repaired with lightning speed, although it was not enough to claim the podium result the team so desperately craved, and despite an inspiring late surge from Erwan Nigon the team finished in a disappointing sixth place.

Damian Cudlin says: “It’s certainly not the way we wanted to end our World Endurance season; luck just hasn’t been on our side at all this year. But we did prove once again that we were the fastest team at the race track, and as soon as the tide swings our way a bit we are going to win races. It’s just a matter of time.”

The BMP Elf 99 BMW Team scored three pole positions and four fastest laps in their debut WEC season, proving they will be a force to be reckoned with, should lady luck be a little kinder to them in 2011.

Damian Cudlin says: “Endurance is a hard game and the saying ‘to finish first, first you have to finish’ doesn’t ring any truer then in this sport… but if it was easy then anybody could do it. The team has done an incredible job in their debut season and I can’t wait to see them in action again in 2011.”