Round 01 France
Honda Endurance Racing Clinches Podium at Season-Opener, F.C.C. TSR Honda France 6th
Honda Endurance Racing was on the podium at 2017/2018 FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) season-opener, the 24 Hours Bol d’Or, while the newly formed F.C.C. TSR Honda France recovered from mid-race misfortunes to finish a respectable 6th.
The 2017/2018 FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) season commenced with the 24 Hours Bol d’Or, at Circuit Paul Ricard, near Marseille, France. Honda Endurance Racing (#111 - Sebastien Gimbert / Gregory Leblanc / Yonny Hernández Vega) was on the podium, finishing 3rd, while F.C.C. TSR Honda France team (#5 - Freddy Foray / Josh Hook / Alan Techer), a new joining of forces between F.C.C. TSR and Honda France, finished 6th.
The race began at 3 pm local time on September 16. Foray kicked off for F.C.C. TSR Honda France on 3rd grid, while Honda Endurance Racing’s Leblanc started for the team, two positions behind.
F.C.C. TSR Honda France in a concerted effort in the early stages, took the lead on Lap 17. Despite the top position fluctuating due to pit stop timings, at the 8-hour mark, the team was in a commanding position, with only last year’s winner, the #94 Yamaha team, on the same lap.
At this stage, Honda Endurance Racing was running 4th, waiting patiently for its moment to challenge the podium.
The race took a sudden turn on Lap 577, with three and a half hours remaining. F.C.C. TSR Honda France’s Techer slipped on the turn into Mistral Straight, damaging his bike. Although the team mechanics repaired and sent the bike back on track within 10 minutes, the team lost places, now down to 8th.
The newly formed team’s misfortune contributed to Honda Endurance Racing good fortune, bolstering the team to 2nd on the track. Electrical problems on Lap 578 brought them back into the pits for an unscheduled stop, however, dropping their position down to 4th. The problem was not completely fixed, and despite numerous recurrences, the crew kept their hopes alive.
With one hour to go, Gimbert is in the saddle for Honda Endurance Racing, the endurance race veteran entrusted with taking the team to the podium. He responds to the team’s wishes, pushing hard and reeling in the riders in front, snatching 3rd place with 20 minutes remaining.
The intense battle for the final podium place continues until the checkered flag is within sight, Honda Endurance Racing prevails, crossing the line for 3rd, completing 673 laps. F.C.C. TSR Honda France also regained places and honor, recovering from the unfortunate crash to finish 6th.
Round 2 of the Endurance World Championship, the 24 Heures Motos, will be contested on April 21 - 22, 2018.
Yonny Hernandez, Gregory LeBlanc, Sebastien Gimbert
FIM Endurance World Championship 2017-2018
Round 1:Paul Ricard circuit – France
|1||GMT94 YAMAHA / Yamaha
(CHECA David/CANEPA Niccolò/DI MEGLIO Mickael)
|2||WEPOL BMW Motorrad Team by penz13.com / BMW
(REITERBERGER Mark/POLITA Alessandro/WEBB Danny)
|3||Honda Endurance Racing / Honda
(LEBLANC Grégory/GIMBERT Sébastien/HERNANDEZ Yonny)
|4||Voelpker NRT48 Schubert-Motors by ERC / BMW
(KERSCHBAUMER Stefan /BÜHN Jan/GLÖCKNER Lucy)
|5||IVRacing BMW CSEU / BMW
(HANIKA Karel/LAI Fabrizio/MAYER Julian)
|6||F.C.C. TSR Honda France / Honda
(HOOK Josh/TECHER Alan/FORAY Freddy)
|20||Zuff Racing Team / Honda
(ZUFFEREY Kévin/AEBERHARD Jeff)
|27||National Motos / Honda
(JONCHIERE Emeric/EGEA Stéphane/CUDLIN Damian)
|38||Team April Moto Motors Events / Honda
(LAGRIVE Matthieu/FASTRÉ Grégory/GUITTET Baptiste)
|42||Team Dunlop Motors Events / Honda
(AUZOUX Christopher/CHALLAMEL Léo/ CHESNAIS Florent)
|44||Rac 41 Honda / Honda
(SCHMIDT Cyprien/GOUGET Gaetan/AYNIE Axel)
|55||MOTOTECH EWC TEAM / Honda
(DEBRUYNE Marty/DUWELZ Gauthier/BUCHNER Marc)