Rookie Walchhutter plays the EWC pain game but Motobox Kremer Racing out of luck
Lukas Walchhütter rode through the pain barrier in his first 24-hour race – but his efforts and those of his team-mates Geoffroy Dehaye and Stefan Ströhlein were in vain when their Motobox Kremer Racing was forced to retire from the 24 Heures Motos.
Germany-based Motobox Kremer Racing started the 2022 FIM Endurance World Championship opener with high hopes after finishing eighth in the 2021 standings. But after both Dehaye and Ströhlein suffered minor falls pre-race, the privateer squad had to settle for 34th on the 52-bike grid.
After eight hours, Motobox Kremer Racing was 21st overall and ninth in the Formula EWC category, a performance that earned two world championship points based on the interim scoring system.
But having climbed as high as 15th, an engine issue linked to one of the crashes in practice would force Motobox Kremer Racing to retire its Yamaha R1 shortly after 05h00.
“It was a difficult weekend for me personally,” said Walchhütter. “In my stints in practice, I kept getting thrown out of rhythm by a few red flags. Unfortunately, Geoff and Stefan crashed twice before it was my turn so that wasn’t ideal, but that’s nobody’s fault.
“In the Second Qualifying session, I was finally able to set strong laps and get a decent amount of motivation for the race. The race went very well, but it was extremely physically demanding and I was struggling with shoulder pain. I rode four stints and was already really exhausted. Our race pace wasn’t bad, but unfortunately we couldn’t finish the race.”
Team head Manfred Kremer said: “Our team worked hard and we showed that, as always, our focus is on the race. We were able to work our way up from 34th on the grid to the top 15 and stayed calm. In the end, unfortunately, we had a technical defect that took us out of the race early on. That can happen, this time we were unlucky. The drivers did a good job and our pit stops also went smoothly. Next we go to Spa, a new circuit that we are really looking forward to.”
Co-team head Georg Haas added: “We had a good weekend and our team did a very good job. Unfortunately, the outcome of the race wasn’t as hoped, but that’s part of motorsport. It was a great atmosphere with all the spectators on site in perfect weather. We were particularly pleased about the visit of Eric de Seynes, President of Yamaha Motor Europe, and we would also like to thank our sponsors and supporters. We are now concentrating on the next big race in Spa.”
Photo: Tim Althof