2012 FIM Endurance World Championship
The Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) extended its point lead Saturday following victory at the penultimate round of the 2012 FIM Endurance World Championship.
This was following victory at the Oschersleben 8 Hours in Germany, round four of five. SERT riders Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and Yukio Kagayama were in dominate form all weekend, the GSX-R 1000 riders leading practice and qualifying sessions, and then the race.
The Yoshimura-powered SERT team crossed the finish line in eight hours with a total of 313 laps, beating BMW Motorrad France by one lap. Taking the final podium position was the Yamaha France GMT94 team.
Saturday’s race in Germany was drama packed, as every four rounds have been so far, starting at Magny Cours, France in April, moving to Losail in Qatar in June; and then onto Suzuka in Japan at the end of last month, when SERT crashed out of potential podium position and a possible win. But rider Philippe pushed the GSX-R1000 back to the pits, the team pulled together and fixed the bike; re-joining the race to salvage valuable Championship points.
Eleven-times World Champions SERT came away from Suzuka with a narrow five-point lead over the Honda TT Legends team of John McGuinness, Cameron Donald and Jason O’Halloran. The team is now third after its fourth-placed finish at Oschersleben and tied on points with BMW Motorrad, but now just 21 points separate the top-four teams.
At the half-way point of today’s Oschersleben 8-Hour, SERT led with 179 laps, one lap ahead of Yamaha France GMT94 after early rivals Monster Energy Yamaha crashed and lost seven laps repairing its machine. Third was BMW Motorrad, some 30-seconds behind Yamaha France GMT94 with Honda TT Legends fourth and the Suzuki-mounted Motor Events in fifth, holding the top Superstock team position and taking the lead in the Superstock Championship after three of four races. Qatar Endurance Racing was also on the same lap as Motor Events and five laps behind the leaders after top Superstock qualifiers Starteam 67 crashed-out spectacularly from contention; the team’s GSX-R1000 bursting into flames, fortunately without serious injury to the rider.
Entering the final hour, Delhalle handed over to Philippe still holding a one-lap lead over BMW Motorrad (285 laps to 284). Yamaha GMT94 was third at that stage on the same lap as BMW with Honda TT Legends fourth, five laps behind the reigning World Champions.
In Philippe’s final stint, the experienced Frenchman continued to turn-in some fast lap times – as well as a few conservative laps – to bring the GSX-R1000 home safely for its second overall victory of the season.
Vincent Philippe says: “After my crash at Suzuka, which knocked us off the podium, I absolutely had to take the checkered flag in first place!”
Third place went to Yamaha France GMT94 13 seconds behind, but the SERT’s lead coming into the event of five points over Honda TT Legends has now increased; helped by today’s extra 10-points being awarded to the winners, which meant that instead of scoring the sport’s governing FIM body’s normal 25 points for a victory, SERT received 35.
With the final round of the series on home ground – the 24 Hour race at Le Mans in France on September 9th – the 11-times World Champions have a 19-point lead, with the winner’s points haul at this event 40 points which means any of five teams could clinch the series.
2012 Endurance World Championship – Oschersleben 8-Hour Results:
1. SERT (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 313 laps
2. BMW Motorrad France (BMW) 312
3. Yamaha France GMT94 (Yamaha) 312
4. Honda TT Legends (Honda) 309
5. Yamalube Folch Endurance (Yamaha) 304
6. Bolliger Team Switzerland (Kawasaki) 300
7. Monster Energy YART (Yamaha) 298
8. Motobox Kremer Shell (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 297
9. Union Lilja Racing (BMW) 288
10. Team RCL2 (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 269
2012 Endurance World Championship Point Standings (after four of five rounds):
1. SERT – 96 points
2. BMW Motorrad France – 76
3. Honda TT Legends – 76
4. Yamaha GMT 94 – 74
5. Bolliger Switzerland Kawasaki – 55