A SLEW OF FIRSTS AT PORTIMÃO
The first edition of the 12 Horas de Portimão will go down in Endurance history as the race with the closest ever finish – a gap of just 0.081 seconds between GMT94 Yamaha and Suzuki Endurance Racing Team!
GMT94 Yamaha’s David Checa, Niccolò Canepa and Lucas Mahias, together with Suzuki Endurance Racing Team’s Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and Etienne Masson put on a fantastic 12-hour show, culminating in an epic face-off between David Checa and Etienne Masson under the night sky in Portugal. Relive the final minutes of their unforgettable battle for victory – an absolute first in Endurance – on www.fimewc.com.
Their outstanding showdown nearly eclipsed the feats of other teams like Honda Endurance Racing, which was finally back in the race for the podium thanks to Julien da Costa, Sébastien Gimbert and Freddy Foray. The Honda team handled its race strategy with aplomb to wrest the advantage from YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, hampered by an exhaust problem in the final stages of the race. The result was a variegated 12 Horas de Portimão podium featuring Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda. Following SRC Kawasaki’s uncontested win at Le Mans, the race in Portugal – the second round of the season – has thrown the FIM EWC championship wide open. Forced to withdraw at Le Mans, GMT94 Yamaha has entered the FIM EWC provisional standings, going straight to 5th place. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team and Honda Endurance Racing have progressed to 3rd and 6th place respectively to be firmly in the running for the 2016 title. F.C.C. TSR Honda is in 4th place in the provisional standings after a slowdown due to mechanical problems in Portimão. The team is counting on the Suzuka 8 Hours to muscle its way back into the contest for the world title.
Independent team currently leading the FIM EWC
Portimão also pushed a private team into the spotlight. Thanks to consistent performance, Team April Moto Motors Events is currently leading the FIM EWC championship. After finishing runner-up at Le Mans, the team’s Suzuki with Gregg Black, Gregory Fastré and Alex Cudlin in the saddle placed 5th in Portimão. Team April Moto Motors Events now have a six-point lead in the provisional world standings over Team SRC Kawasaki, who were unable to make it to the finish line because of engine failure.
Likewise, consistency has given Völpker NRT48 Schubert Motors the edge in the FIM Superstock World Cup provisional standings. Placing 8th at Le Mans and 7th in Portimão, the German team with riders Bastien Mackels, Dominik Vincon and Stefan Kerschbaumer on a BMW is ahead of Team 3ART Yam’Avenue and AM Moto Racing Compétition. Tati Team Beaujolais Racing won the Superstock class in Portimão to enter the Superstock standings in 5th place, right behind Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki.
First edition gets a unanimous thumbs up
The first FIM EWC race in Portimão drew unanimous approval. The riders enjoyed the fine weather in the south of Portugal and the tortuous track, and turned out en masse for the event’s other big first: a parade of Endurance bikes through the streets of Portimão.
Next stop on the FIM EWC championship trail: the Suzuka 8 Hours in Japan on Sunday 31 July.