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High action and high drama as the EWC Bol d’Or finale is go!

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High action and high drama as the EWC Bol d’Or finale is go!High action and high drama as the EWC Bol d’Or finale is go!

16 September 2023

The deciding round of the 2023 FIM Endurance World Championship, the 86th Bol d’Or, is under way with heavy rain before the start adding to the intrigue at Circuit Paul Ricard.

Gregg Black led initially for Yoshimura SERT Motul after passing Illya Mykhalchyk – on the pole-sitting BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team entry – as the pack charged towards the first corner with bright sunshine replacing the earlier grey skies. 

However, with intermediate tyres better suited to the rapidly drying track, it wasn’t long before the Pirelli-equipped trio of Chaz Davies (ERC Enduance Ducati), Randy Krummenacher (TATI Team Beringer Racing) and Leandro Mercado (Honda Viltaïs Racing) were battling for the lead. 

But while they pulled ahead, the riders starting on wet weather tyres, which included Black, Mykhalchyk and Mike Di Meglio (F.C.C. TSR Honda France), pitted for slicks. 

However, Niccolò Canepa, who opted to start on dry-weather Bridgestone slick tyres and having negotiated the slippery sections on the opening laps, was rapidly closing on the leaders and the Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team’s was in front after 30 minutes of dramatic action. 

Davies stopped from the lead battle with 40 minutes of the race run to hand over to Xavi Forés. But his replacement was soon in trouble after a collision at the final corner left the Spaniard limping to the side of the track and his Ducati Pingale V4R badly damaged.

The safety car was swiftly deployed and was still circulating at the one-hour mark, which Honda Viltaïs Racing completed in the lead ahead of Yoshimura SERT Motul and F.C.C. TSR Honda France. 

Canepa pitted under the safety car and dropped from the lead after being forced to wait for the safety car train to pass the pit exit before he could continue.  

TRT27 Bazar 2 La Bécane headed the Dunlop Superstock Trophy order following the first 60 minutes of racing with Finnish EWC newcomer Eemeli Lahti running in eighth overall at one point. BMRT 3D Maxxess Nevers was second followed by Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers CMS Motostore.

But there was despair for Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team with Kenny Foray captured pushing his bike back to the pits after a suspected engine failure with only 36 minutes covered.

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