BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent victorious at Doha ahead of Bolliger Team Switzerland and Honda TT Legends.
The 8 hours of Doha proved again to be a thrilling race full of surprises and finish with a novel podium. The victory of the BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent was yet announced by its performance during the practice sessions. Their riders, Erwan Nigon, Sébastien Gimbert and Damian Cudlin, took control from the moment the 23 teams started the race. So after 3 participations and 3 pole positions, the official BMW Team has now finally obtained a victory on the Qatari circuit.
Fifth on the starting grid behind all the factory teams, Team Kawasaki Bolliger Switzerland’s riders Horst Saiger, Roman Stamm and Jérôme Tangre picked up a well deserved second place on the podium, 3 laps behind the BMW. Honda TT Legends finishes in third position with Ryuichi Kiyonari, Michael Laverty and Jason O’Halloran, a first for these 3 new men in the absence of the usual riders’ line-up, committed at the TT.
This new podium honours the efforts of the team efforts from BMW/Michelin, Kawasaki/Pirelli and Honda/Dunlop combinations.
The other teams experienced difficult conditions. Only Suzuki Endurance Racing Team were able to limit the damage from two unscheduled pit stops to repair a faulty oil line, to return to fourth place, 8 laps behind the leaders. ‘We have been using these oil lines which are also used in F1 for years’, explained a disappointed Dominique Meliand, ‘We must have obtained some examples which were wrongly machined. These two, 10 cm long piece, make us loose ten valuable championship points.’ Despite this mishap, SERT now leads the provisional championship standings.
Despite some crashes in the early stages of the race, Team Maco Moto and Yamalube Folch Endurance, both on Yamaha, as well as Team R2CL (Suzuki), manage to rally themselves and finish, claiming valuable points.
The other candidates with a chance to win this race return home from Qatar without a score, which may mark their final championship result. Monster Energy Yamaha YART had to abandon mid race with engine problems, batting for the leadership with the official BMW Team. Early out of the race was the Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube, rapidly sidelined by overheating problems. ‘The engine overheated rapidly’ said David Checa, having been very quick at the start of the race ‘it became just impossible to keep up with the leaders’.
In the Superstock ranks, the Suzuki 1 of the Qatar Endurance Racing Team with Nasser Al Malki, Anthony West and Nina Prinz installed themselves from the early stages of the race and finished one lap ahead of the Suzuki Team Motors Events AMT Assurances with Guillaume Dietrich, Frédéric Moreira and Michael Savary.
The mixed gender rider line up with Nasser Al Malki, Anthony West and Nina Prinz in the QERT I team, provided to be a success. The victory of the QERT I Team in the Superstock class is a first in the history of all the FIM Endurance competition.
In third place finished Penz13 Kraftwerk Herpigny Racing (BMW) with Grégory Fastré, Pedro Vallcaneras and Michal Filla, taking the lead in the provisional rankings of the FIM Endurance Superstock World Cup. Equally prime contenders in this class, Suzuki AM Moto Racing Compétition were looking forward to a great result but hampered by a fuel injection issue, had to abandon the race.
Erwan Nigon with BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent
« I decided to go for it as from the start, unfortunately with the entry of the safey car, I lost the lead built up in the early stages of the race. Therefore we had to strongly impose ourselves again and regain a margin of security and lead our competitors. »
Damian Cudlin with BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent
« We had expected a difficult race but this time around, our competitors were not lucky and so, we took advantage of this. »
Jérôme Tangre, with Kawasaki Bolliger Team Switzerland
« We have a very good team with little resources but we have been able to elevate us and finish on a high note. We have taken advantage of the difficult conditions that other teams experienced. »
Horst Saiger, with Kawasaki Bolliger Team Switzerland
« We dedicate this podium to Hanspeter, our team-manager who is hospitalized after and operation and still in rehabilitation. »
Guillaume Dietrich, with Suzuki Team Motors Events AMT Assurances
« We are glad to return to the top after our miserable performance at the Bol d’Or. We did not experience any problems here and Dunlop provided us with good tires. The QERT team was just too strong today. »
Nasser Khalifa Al Attiya, QMMF President, QERT Team Manager & FIM Board Member.
« We seriously envisage returning to the FIM Endurance World championship. This victory is a reward for the efforts of our team. I also hope that we at the FIM will be able to continue to develop this championship. »
Photos Good Shoot