In the battle for the 2012 title, BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent celebrated an important podium at the “8 Hours of Oschersleben” in Germany. Damian Cudlin (AUS), Sébastien Gimbert and Erwan Nigon (both FRA) rode a flawless race to finish second at BMW’s home round which marked the fourth and penultimate race of the 2012 FIM Endurance World Championship. This result promoted the BMW Motorrad HP RaceSupport backed squad to second in the overall classification with just one round remaining.
The #99 BMW S1000RR started the race from second on the grid. The French-Belgian squad had missed out on pole position by just 0.082 seconds. Cudlin rode the first stint but dropped back to third on the opening lap when the safety car was deployed in response to an early crash. The Australian reclaimed second place later in his stint and the BMW trio held this position through to the finish. After three hours it was apparent that it was going to be extremely difficult to challenge for the win, as it was impossible to match the outright pace of the eventual race winner, the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) on their GSX-R1000. Undeterred, each rider continued to push during their stints aboard the #99 RR and Gimbert took the checkered flag in second place, having held off late challenges from two Yamaha teams.
In the overall classification, BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent is now tied on points with Honda TT Legends, but the race win in Qatar earlier in the season means they take second place in the championship standings ahead of the British team. The gap to series leader SERT is now 19 points, and with 40 points on offer for the winner of the final round of the season in Le Mans, France on September 8, the BMW team’s title hopes are still alive.
“I think it’s fair to say we didn’t put a foot wrong,” Team Principal Michael Bartholemy comments. “All three riders were consistently fast and the team did a superb job once again at the pit stops. The only problem was SERT, who were simply too quick for everyone here at Oschersleben. However, the team can be proud of themselves, as they put together a great race. Second place here means we’re now second in the championship once again, and there are still only 19 points separating us from the top spot. There are a lot of points up for grabs at Le Mans, and anything can happen in a 24-hour race, so we’ll go on fighting to the very end. We’re still within a shout of the championship, which is all the incentive we need going into the final race of the season.”
“Obviously we were looking for the win, but it’s good to be on the podium for BMW here in Germany,” Cudlin says. “Actually it’s good for me too; I only live about 200km [125 miles] from here, so this is like a home race for me! So, it was nice, but it would have been nicer to be one step higher. We did the best we could and second was it. But it’s not over yet. Anything can happen in a 24-hour race, so we’ll be pushing all the way next time out at Le Mans.”
“Second place is not perfect, because I wanted to win and the team wanted to win, but it just wasn’t possible,” Nigon sums up. “We all pushed hard, but it was difficult to find the pace we needed to challenge for the win. However, second place here means we’re now second in the championship and the fight isn’t over yet. We go into the final round at Le Mans knowing that we must win; nothing else will do, so that’s what we’ll be pushing for.”
“Hats off to the performance of the team and congratulations on the second place and podium finish at our home round,” says Berthold Hauser, Head of BMW Motorrad HP RaceSupport. “Obviously we would have liked to finish one step higher on the podium, but the team worked really hard over the whole weekend, the riders rode a flawless race and victory was simply out of reach for us this time. The world championship will be decided at Le Mans where we and everyone in the team will do our very best to claim the title. It will not be easy, but that also goes for all the teams who are still involved in the battle for the world championship. Our RR team around Michael Bartholemy can count on our full support.”