Fourth place at the Suzuka 8-Hour race catapulted Team BMW Motorrad France 99 to the top of the FIM Endurance World Championship standings.
The BMW S 1000 RR has taken the lead in a world championship for the first time. Team BMW Motorrad France 99 now tops the FIM Endurance World Championship standings following the prestigious Suzuka 8-Hour race (JPN).
The team had already finished on the podium at the first race of the season, the renowned "Bol d’Or" 24-hour race in Magny-Cours (FRA), and then had secured the first victory for the BMW S 1000 RR in a world championship race when it triumphed at the 8-hour race in Albacete (ESP).
The team enjoyed an extremely successful debut at the classic in Suzuka, with Erwan Nigon (FRA), Sébastien Gimbert (FRA) and Damien Cudlin (AUS) finishing in fourth place. The Suzuka 8-Hours is held in particularly high esteem within the Endurance World Championship, as it attracts a heavy presence from Japanese riders and teams on full factory bikes. As a result, the regular starters in the FIM Endurance World Championship face a difficult challenge to finish in the top ten.
Marcel Driessen (Director of BMW Motorrad France) says: "This is an unbelievable result for BMW. To take fourth place on our debut at Suzuka is incredible enough, but to also take the lead in the World Championship standings is simply fantastic.
"The team have done a great job with our BMW S 1000 RR this season, but we cannot rest on our laurels. We need to continue to work on the bike, to ensure we have the most competitive package possible for our home race at Le Mans and the season finale in Qatar. Congratulations to the team and our riders on leading the championship, and let’s hope we can maintain this position until the end of the season."
Team BMW Motorrad France 99 was the only regular FIM Endurance World Championship team able to hold its own against the powerful Japanese factory teams.
Fourth place was enough for the team to move into the overall lead in the world championship, with a six-point lead over its closest rivals. The next round of the FIM Endurance World Championship is the Le Mans 24 Hours (FRA) on September 24-25, 2011.