SRC Kawasaki in a duel with Suzuki Endurance Racing Team
Intense competition during the first hours for the 56 teams in the 34th edition of the Qtel FIM Endurance World Championship round, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. After five hours of racing, BMW Motorrad France 99 managed to maintain a short distance between them their direct competitors. Just behind the official BMW piloted by Sébastien Gimbert, Erwan Nigon and Damian Cudlin, the battle for the lead involves the SRC Kawasaki team and the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team. SERT, Anthony Delhalle and Daisaku Sakai doubled their shifts before Baptiste Guittet was sent on track. The leading trio's order changed constantly depending on the pit stops for refuelling.
In the very beginning of the race, the first dual battle involved Julien da Costa on the SRC Kawasaki and Anthony Delhalle on the official Suzuki, ahead of the Monster Yamaha YART of Loris Baz and the BMW Motorrad France 99 with Damian Cudlin. The best lap time was set by Julien da Costa in 1'39.038.
After being delayed by a stop and go penalty, the Monster Yamaha YART disappeared from the top of the time sheet after Loris Baz’s crash. In another crash at the beginning took the other race favourite, Yamaha Racing France GMT 94 Ipone away from a battle with the leaders. The official Yamaha 94 is not quite yet ready to come back, due to a second crash which sent it to the back of the pack. Also well placed from the beginning, the Honda National Motos lost a lot of ground because of a leaking water pipe.
At 8 pm, the top 5 also include Kawasaki Bolliger Team Switzerland, as usual quite discrete during the qualifications, but always performing well during the race. Honda TT Legends place makes a good impression with John McGuinness, Keith Amor and Cameron Donald.
The first Superstock machine was in sixth place overall at 8 pm: the Suzuki of Team Motors Events Bodyguard AMT leads the class ahead of the Suzuki Junior Team LMS, the Kawasaki Maccio Racing and the Suzuki AM Moto Racing Compétition, despite an exhaust issue.
The race strategy of several teams was affected by many crashes, like for the BMW of Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers, who lost their 13th position.
Follow the race live on www.fim-tv.com and on Motors TV.
Follow the race in live timing on www.fim-live.com
<media 22091 _blank>Times at 2pm</media>