SRC Kawasaki Wins Le Mans 24 Hours

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2011 Endurance World Championship

One of the most challenging road races for the past 34 years, the 24 Hours of Le Mans presented many challenges this past weekend for the FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) grid.

But when the clocked ticked down to zero, it was the SRC Kawasaki team that took the win, the men in green victorious for the second consecutive year at Le Mans, round four of five in the 2011 Endurance World Championship.

As the Pirelli-equipped SRC Kawasaki team of Julien da Costa, Grégory Leblanc and Olivier Four celebrated, so did the reigning EWC Champion, the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT).

The SERT Team (Dunlop) of Anthony Delhalle, Daisaku Sakai and Baptiste Guittet (normal rider Vincent Philippe was injured) regained the lead in the championship after taking second place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Taking the final spot on the podium was Monster Yamaha YART Team (Michelin) of Igor Jerman, Steve Martin and Loris Baz. The Yamaha YART team put in a stellar performance for third, considering Baz crashed at the beginning of the Le Mans race. After the wreck, the team was sent to the bottom of the time sheet, but had a strong comeback to take third.

The race ended at 3 p.m., with the SRC Kawasaki team finishing 834 laps. The Suzuki Endurance Racing Team finished one lap behind Kawasaki, having much luck aboard the GSX-R1000.

The Yamaha YART team finished eight laps behind SRC Kawasaki.

Rounding out the top five were the Kawasaki Bolliger Team Switzerland (Horst Saiger, Roman Stamm and Jérôme Tangre) and Honda TT Legends (John McGuinness, Keith Amor and Cameron Donald), respectively.

The FIM reports that the beginning of the race was quite dramatic with several crashes. The first of them involved the Yamaha Racing France GMT 94 Ipone, crashing during the lap 4 with David Checa. In his turn, Matthieu Lagrive fell two more times due a faulty throttle and dirty track conditions. Yamaha 94, too damaged to carry on, gave up just after 10 pm.

BMW of Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers, in 13th position, abandoned around midnight following problems with the front forks and serious overheating issues. Just before 7 am, Honda National Motos disappeared from the time sheet after a crash, and so did the Bihr Metiss, the FIM reports

The previous series leaders BMW Motorrad France 99 suffered some mechanical problems and finishing over 17 laps behind in seventh position.

Due to their second-place finish, SERT now leads the 2011 Endurance World Championship by nine points over BMW France 99 with only one round remaining at Qatar Nov. 12.

24 Hours of Le Mans Quotes:

Gilles Staffler (SRC Kawasaki Team Manager) says: “I have an extraordinary team of riders and some great mechanics. They all did an awesome job!”

Dominique Méliand (SERT Team Manager) says: “We are a bit disappointed because we only enter a race to win it. But however we did a fantastic race so far and scored great points for the championship.”

Anthony Delhalle (SERT rider) says): “That was a physical and demanding race. They all started very fast and the pace remained very high. We are a bit bitter not to win, but the positive thing is we are now back in the lead for the championship.”

Loris Baz (Monster Yamaha YART) says: “I’ve learned a lot. In Endurance, you have to make it with the other two riders. We lost because of me, the occasion to fight for victory but we did great lap times during the night. It was physically and mentally challenging.”

2011 Endurance World Championship: 24 Hours of Le Mans Results:

os Team Rider Best Time Gap Last Time
1 #11 TEAM SRC KAWASAKI, FRA LEBLANC, GREGORY 01:38.640 834 L 01:45.711
2 #1 SUZUKI ENDURANCE RACING TEAM, FRA SAKAI, DAISAKU 01:39.130 + 1 L 01:46.548
3 #7 MONSTER YAMAHA – YART, AUT JERMAN, IGOR 01:39.023 + 8 L 01:46.560
4 #8 BOLLIGER TEAM SWITZERLAND, CHE TANGRE, JEROME 01:40.260 + 11 L 01:49.944
5 #77 HONDA TT LEGENDS, GBR DONALD, CAMERON 01:39.948 + 15 L 01:45.860
6 #4 YMES FOLCH ENDURANCE, ESP VALLCANERAS FLORES, PEDRO 01:41.341 + 17 L 01:45.278
7 #99 BMW MOTORRAD FRANCE 99, BEL GIMBERT, SÉBASTIEN 01:39.148 +1:14.758 01:43.806
8 #27 TRT 27 CITY BIKE, FRA VARESCO, MICKAEL 01:40.914 + 24 L 01:49.703
9 #14 MACO RACING TEAM, SVK BLACK, GREGG 01:40.875 + 39 L 01:49.441
10 #211 TEAM DUNLOP MOTOR, FRA CHARPIN, MATHIEU 01:43.916 + 43 L 01:47.167
11 #15 SH TECHNOLOGIE SCR, FRA POUHAIR, NICOLAS 01:41.222 +37.304 01:49.998
12 #151 HONDA SUD OUEST, FRA RASTEL, KEVIN 01:43.906 + 55 L 02:09.539
13 #41 RAC 41, FRA GANTNER, HERVÉ 01:41.425 + 57 L 01:49.012
14 #49 SLICK TEAM 49, FRA BOUVET, Cédric 01:45.547 + 83 L 01:56.997
15 #119 SLIDER ENDURANCE, FRA LECOUTURIER, MICKAEL 01:44.890 + 91 L 01:52.315
16 #60 TRACK TEAM ZONE ROUGE, BEL VAN MOL, OLIVIER 01:43.969 + 154 L 01:57.718
17 #10 INFINI POWER BIKES TROYES, FRA DEVOYON, JEAN LOUIS 01:42.597 + 231 L 01:57.493 PIT
DNF #55 NATIONAL MOTOS, FRA DE CAROLIS, LUCAS .
DNF #18 TEAM 18 SAPEURS POMPIERS, FRA MOLINIER, STÉPHANE . PIT
DNF #65 MOTOBOX KREMER SHELL ADVANCE, DEU GAZIELLO, FRANCK .
DNF #94 YAMAHA FRANCE GMT 94 IPONE, FRA CHECA, DAVID .
DNF #109 TEAM FMA ASSURANCES, FRA BOULANGE, FREDDY . PIT
DNF #2 TEAM R2CL, FRA CAPELA, THIERRY . PIT
DNF #74 MOTOPLANETE RACING TEAM YAM 74, FRA MECENE, MICHAEL . PIT