BMW France Wins 8 Hours of Doha

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2012 FIM Endurance World Championship Results

The FIM Endurance World Championship resumed Saturday with the 8 Hours of Doha, round two of five in the 2012 season.

And after taking the pole position for the third consecutive year at Losail International Circuit, the #99 BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent went on to dominate, taking the 8 Hours of Doha win.

Joining the BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent on the podium were the Bollinger Team Switzerland Kawasaki team (+3 laps) and the Honda TT Legends team (+4 laps).

Following the pole position with Erwan Nigon at the controls of the S1000RR, the BMW Motorrad France Team took the lead on the opening lap. Nigon began opening a gap on the field, and eventually set the fastest lap of the race.

But an oil spill on the track, causing the safety car to come out. But while the race was red flagged, Nigon refueled the S1000RR, giving the controls to Sebastien Gimbert, who retook the lead from the Kawasaki Switzerland team on lap 39. Gimber then re-opened a gap on the field.

The team then went on to switch between Nigon, Gimbert and Damian Cudlin, the three controlling the grid out front.

BMW Motorrrad says finishing what he’d started eight hours earlier, Nigon eventually took the chequered flag with a two-lap advantage at the front of the race, to give BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent and Michelin their first win of the 2012 season.

The victory in Qatar promotes BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent to fourth in the 2012 Endurance World Championship standings, just 19 points behind the series leaders with three rounds to go. Next up will be the Suzuka 8 Hours July 29.

8 Hours of Doha Rider Quotes:

Erwan Nigon (BMW Motorrad France S1000RR) says: “The start of the race wasn’t easy, because it was so hot, but I pushed really hard to try and pull a gap straight way, and it worked perfectly until the pace car came out and everyone closed back up again! Sébastien managed to re-establish the gap during his first stint then, together with Damian, we were able to control the race from the front. The win here today is good for the team, for BMW and for Michelin, who all did a great job for us, but it’s also good for the championship. With just 19 points between us and the top of the standings, it’s all to play for in the final three rounds.”

Sébastien Gimbert (BMW Motorrad France S1000RR) says: “Twice in the past we’ve come here to Qatar as the strongest team, only to suffer bad luck and miss out on the win. This year, once again, we were strong. The BMW S1000RR was the fastest bike out there; the Michelin tyres worked perfectly, everyone in the team was on top of their game and all three riders were on the pace from the start. The big difference is that this year we managed to avoid trouble and to secure the win that has eluded us in the past. And it’s an important win, because after missing out on points at the Bol d’Or it puts us back in the battle for the championship. Now we must go on full attack at Suzuka, because I would really like a podium finish there.”

Damian Cudlin (BMW Motorrad France) says: “Winning here in Qatar was a great result, not just in terms of the race, but also in terms of the championship, which is a lot closer than it was after the Bol d’Or. Erwan and Sébastien rode good first stints to open up the gap at the front, which opened up even further when some of the other teams hit problems. From that point on we were able to control the race from the front of the race. With the BMW S1000RR and the Michelin tyres we definitely had the strongest package here, but that was also true the last two years when bad luck conspired against us. I have to admit, given our luck here in the past, I breathed a big sigh of relief when Erwan finally took the chequered flag tonight!”

Michael Bartholemy (BMW Motorrad France Team Principal): “I’m pleased that we’ve been able to bounce back from the disappointment of the Bol d’Or with an emphatic win here in Qatar, a track that hasn’t been kind to us in the past. The team and all three riders have done a fantastic job this week, and for that I’d like to say a big thank you. I’d also like to thank BMW, in particular Marcel Driessen and Berthold Hauser, as well as Sachar Rodenbusch, Bischoff and Scheck and all our sponsors and partners for their continued support, without which we wouldn’t be here. It’s a credit to Michelin that we were able to use the same tyre throughout the race, despite the extremes of temperature. The win here means we’re well and truly back in contention for the championship title, with just 19 points separating us from the top of the standings. I hope we’ll be able to reduce that gap even further next time out at Suzuka.”

Berthold Hauser (Head of BMW Motorrad HP Race Support) says: “This was a race that you can enjoy to the full. We are more than happy about this victory. This win of our squad was a well-deserved one because we were perfectly prepared. The collaboration between the team and HP Race Support is highly efficient, and this is the key to being so successful on the highest level of endurance racing.

“A big thank you to the team and to all sponsors and partners for their support. A special thank you goes to Michelin. Here, the co-operation became even closer and more intense, a fact that was proved by this performance. Over the whole race weekend, the guys were unbeatably fast despite the strong competition. It would only need a small, but costly mistake, to eliminate us or put our success in danger. Clever race strategy, perfect team work and the recognising and avoiding of dangerous situations combined with this race pace were the key to this dominant win. We caught up to the front of the classification and by continuing this good work, we still can set our eyes on reaching the big goal of winning the title in the Endurance World Championship. Congratulations also to the Penzkofer Team who showed a strong performance to securing another podium in the Superstock class.”

8 Hours of Doha Results (round two, FIM World Endurance Championship):
1. BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent (S1000RR) 226 laps
2. Bollinger Team Switzerland (ZX-10R) +3 laps
3. Honda TT Legends (CBR1000RR) +4 laps
4. SERT Suzuki (GSX-R1000)
5. QERT Suzuki (GSX-R1000)
6. Motors Events AMT Suzuki (GSX-R1000)
7. Penz 13 BMW (S1000RR)
8. DG Sport Yamaha (YZF-R1)
9. Maco Racing Team Yamaha (YZF-R1)
10. Atomic Motorsport Suzuki (GSX-R1000)