Remembering when… Viltais Racing Igol’s big EWC dream came true
Viltaïs Racing Igol won big by claiming victory in the 100th-anniversary Bol d’Or after 24 arduous hours of racing at Circuit Paul Ricard last month (18 September).
In front of packed grandstands, Viltaïs Racing Igol’s maiden EWC victory was dramatic and somewhat unexpected in equal measure but was nevertheless fitting reward for Team Manager Yannick Lucot’s tireless efforts behind the scenes, an impressive display from riding trio Florian Alt (Germany), Erwan Nigon (France) and Steven Odendaal (South Africa), plus important contributions from reserve rider James Westmoreland (Great Britain).
Viltaïs Racing Igol’s Bol d’Or victory meant the four race wins up for grabs in the 2022 EWC were claimed by four different teams, such was the wide-open nature of the championship this season. And to underline its competitiveness both the EWC qualifying and race lap records at Circuit Paul Ricard were broken by Illya Mykhalchyk (1m51.641s) and Xavi Forés (1m52.979s) respectively.
Up until the final 90 minutes of the Bol d’Or, long-term leader ERC Endurance-Ducati was seemingly on course for victory only to stop with a mechanical failure while comfortably in front. That left Wójcik Racing Team at the head of the pack. But in another late twist, the Polish squad’s Yamaha slowed, forcing Mathieu Gines to push the bike to the pitlane for repairs.
When Dan Linfoot eventually returned the #77 machine to the track, more than five minutes had been lost along with hopes of victory for Gines, Linfoot and Sheridan Morais as France-based Viltaïs Racing Igol, another Yamaha privateer, swept into a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Speaking afterwards, Viltaïs Racing Igol rider Odendaal said: “This race has been incredible. To be in a French team winning on French soil is just something amazing. Yannick Lucot, my team boss, had a really big dream of this day and my team-mates and I, we fulfilled this so we’re really, really happy with this victory. Obviously we did not expect this, we just knew we had to make everything the maximum and we just did this and finally we’ve got this big trophy, which is amazing, and I’m really happy to walk away with my first EWC podium being a victory.”