SRC Kawasaki Wins Le Mans 24 Hours
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|