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After 8 hours: Yoshimura SERT Motul leads action-packed Bol d’Or EWC title decider

After 8 Hours: Yoshimura Sert Motul Leads Action-packed Bol D'or Ewc Title DeciderThe race to win the 2023 FIM Endurance World Championship for Teams is finely balanced with the 86th edition of the Bol d’Or entering its ninth hour at 23h00 CET.

After eight hours of action at Circuit Paul Ricard, Yoshimura SERT Motul holds first having moved ahead of Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team in the pitstop sequence. F.C.C. TSR Honda France is third with BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team in fourth having started from pole position. The top four teams were on the same lap at the eight-hour mark to underline the highly competitive nature of the EWC.

With points handed out to the top 10 in both Formula EWC and the Dunlop Superstock Trophy after eight hours, F.C.C. TSR Honda France is 13 points ahead of Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team in the EWC title chase. BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team is 37 points further back with Yoshimura SERT Motul still in contention, albeit 58 behind the leading Suzuki-powered squad, which suffered a short delay after Gregg Black fell at 20h39.

In the battle for glory in the FIM Endurance World Cup, which also counts for the Dunlop Superstock Trophy, National Motos Honda heads the pack with Team 33 Louit April Moto in second and OG Motorsport World Endurance Team third.

But there has been despair for title-chasing Honda No Limits and Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team, which have both dropped out. The former was eliminated in collision, while Kenny Foray had covered a little more than 30 minutes when engine failure forced the #9 into retirement.

As well as holding the Bol d’Or category lead, National Motos Honda is just one point behind Chromeburner-RAC41-Honda following the awarding of intermediate points.

High action and high drama as the EWC Bol d’Or finale gets under way
Gregg Black snatched the lead 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 following heavy rain before the start, it wasn’t long before the Pirelli-equipped trio of Chaz Davies (ERC Endurance 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 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. Despite the team’s best efforts ERC Endurance Ducati’s retirement was confirmed at 17h25.


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