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Honda Viltaïs Racing celebrates EWC Independents' Day... again!

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Honda Viltaïs Racing celebrates EWC Independents' Day... again!Honda Viltaïs Racing celebrates EWC Independents' Day... again!

20 September 2023

Honda Viltaïs Racing’s capture of the EWC Independent Trophy – and second in the Bol d’Or – was the result of 20 years of teamwork.

Yannick Lucot’s French squad put the coveted title beyond doubt by finishing a fine runner-up in the EWC season decider, which reached a thrilling climax last Sunday afternoon.

The performance at Circuit Paul Ricard followed on from the team’s dramatic maiden Bol d’Or victory 12 months ago – when it also secured the EWC Independent Trophy – and signalled the completion of a strong first season of Viltaïs Racing using the Honda CBR1000R-R.

“If some people thought that victory in 2022 was built on a stroke of luck, this second place confirms the opposite,” Lucot said. “It’s the fruit of teamwork that began 20 years ago. It’s also the result of a shared desire to develop a humanist project that does not exclude sporting performance. I’m happy to be able to show that our history has meaning and that it can lead us to the top. Of course, we would have liked to take the winners’ cup home again, but the competition is very tough. So I’m pleased with second place, especially as it brings the manufacturers’ title to Honda. It’s one of the great stories we can continue to write together with this brand.”

Honda Viltaïs Racing started the 86th edition of the Bol d’Or from eighth position but was soon into the lead thanks to an inspired decision to fit Pirelli’s intermediate tyre for the rapidly drying conditions following earlier rain. Making his Bol d’Or debut, Honda Viltaïs Racing’s Argentine rider Leandro Mercado impressed before passing the baton to team-mates Florian Alt, from Germany, and South African Steven Odendaal.

Fifth after eight hours of action, which secured six intermediate points, Honda Viltaïs Racing was up to third at the 16-hour mark to land eight additional points. More standout riding, pitwork and the support of British reserve rider James Westmoreland, ensured second place in the final classification and fifth in the overall FIM Endurance World Championship for Teams.

Odendaal, who joined Viltaïs Racing for the 2022 season after finishing runner-up in the FIM Supersport World Championship the previous year, said: “As a team we did a fantastic job coming in with a new brand. It’s not very easy because you face different challenges when you move to a new brand but the team took it to the best of their abilities and we could fight for the podium. This is really positive for us and I think for next year we just need to make one step more and we will be there to fight [at the front].”

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