Team Suzuki Press Office – April 15. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team has finished second at the Bol d’Or 24 Hour race in France with a depleted two-man squad of Fabien Foret and Anthony Delhalle after team kingpin Vincent Philippe crashed early on a broke his collarbone.
In one of the closest and most-exciting finishes ever, just 1:41. 055 minutes separated SERT and winners SRC Kawasaki’s Julien da Costa, Gregory Leblanc and Olivier Four after 24 hours of racing and 781 laps of the 76th Anniversary event at the Nevers Circuit at Magny Cours in France.
The GSX-R1000-mounted 11-times World Endurance Champions lost Philippe just four hours into the race – and a valuable six minutes in an unscheduled Pit Stop – when he slipped off when it started to rain. Despite his injury, the Frenchman remounted quickly, pulling straight into the SERT garage for repairs, a tyre change to “Cut Slicks” and unplanned hand-over to Delhalle, but the incident cost the team greatly and put them back to fifth position in the running.
During a race that saw contrasting weather conditions, necessitating several different tyre changes between Wets, Full Slicks and Cut Slicks, the team had led from the start over the French SRC Kawasaki team; a battle that went right down to the wire: And, as rain started to fall in the closing hour, tyre choice and pit stops became a deciding factor. At that time, SRC Kawasaki led SERT by just 60 seconds and final rider out, Foret, pitted and switched to ‘Wets.’ But then the conditions changed again and Foret overran a corner as the circuit conditions dried out, losing more valuable time. The Frenchman then made another unscheduled pit stop to change to “Cut Slicks” and hand-over to Delhalle in the hope of making back the time on the leaders.
After crossing the line, Delhalle said: “It was really difficult, but after Vincent’s unfortunate crash at the beginning of the race, Fabien and me pushed really hard for the win as we wanted the victory. But we are happy for the Championship with the points from today, so a good start for the season.”
Bol d’Or Results: 1 SRC Kawasaki (Kawasaki) 781 laps, 2 SERT (Suzuki GSX-R1000) + 1:41.055, 3 Monster Yamaha YART + 5 laps, 4 Yamaha GMT 94 (Yamaha) + 55.264, 5 Yamalube Folch Endurance (Yamaha) + 16 laps, 6 Honda TT Legends (Honda) + 34 laps, 7 Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers (BMW) + 45 laps, 8 Team Dunlop Motor (Suzuki GSX-R1000) + 51 laps, 9 Team R2CL (Suzuki GSX-R1000) + 54 laps, 10 SH Technologie SCR (BMW) + 59 laps.