Round 01 France

  • F.C.C. TSR Honda France Retires in EWC Season Opener

    F.C.C. TSR Honda (Josh Hook / Freddy Foray / Mike Di Meglio) were in the lead when their race was brought to an abrupt end due to engine failure, in the EWC season-opener, the Bol d'Or 24 hour race in France.


Report

F.C.C. TSR Honda France Retires in EWC Season Opener, National Motos Leads Honda Teams

Paul Ricard circuit, France, September 21-22, 2019

The 2019-2020 FIM Endurance World Championship kicked off with the Bol d'Or 24 hour race in France. F.C.C. TSR Honda, retaining bike number 5 from their debut year, was represented by Josh Hook, Freddy Foray and Mike Di Meglio.

In the final qualifying session, the average of the F.C.C. TSR Honda's three riders was 0.001s slower than the second fastest team up to that point, moving them down to 3rd on the starting grid. The team, however, gained three extra qualifying points.

Foray, who had ridden in the wet in the latter part of pre-race free practice, completed the opening lap in a solid 3rd place in the rain after the Le Mans-style start. Riding cautiously yet aggressively, Foray took the lead on Lap 3, and continued to fight with the top contenders. By Lap 10 they were already lapping back markers, the sign of a chaotic race ahead. 

On Lap 24, multiple riders crashed just after flags were waved to warn them of oil spillage, bring in the safety car. It was just about time for the race leaders to finish their first stints, and Foray kept in close communication with the team to time his pitstop right. Towards the end of the 30 minute-long ride behind the safety car, Foray pitted on Lap 30. With new tires and a full tank, Di Meglio took over the bike. 

Rejoining the race in 7th place, Di Meglio upped his pace to recover lost ground as soon as the safety car was off the track. By the end of his stint, the team was up to 5th place. As the race leaders entered the pits and lost places, F.C.C. TSR Honda France was once again in the lead, but as fate would have it, the safety car once again slowed proceedings to a cautious pace. Di Meglio had only a few laps to the end of his scheduled stint, but at 5:42 pm, only three hours into the race, the red flag was waved. Team managers were called to an emergency meeting, where it was decided that after three hours of race stoppage, an announcement would be made one hour prior to restart. Weather conditions, however, did not let up, so the remainder of the race was postponed to 6:00 am the following morning.

Preparation for the restart began at 4:00 am. Two hours later, two safety cars led two groups of riders for a rolling start. The team was initially on wet tires, but switched to slicks as the track dried out. Foray, who was leading when the race was aborted, still led after the restart. As lap times improved the track continued to dry, making tire choice crucial. F.C.C. TSR Honda France and YART - YAMAHA (#7) pulled ahead of the field.

After a double stint, Foray handed the bike to Di Meglio, returning to the track still 40 seconds ahead of YART - YAMAHA. These two riders were the only leaders on the same lap, but on Lap 145, Di Meglio's bike slowed down a Turn 9 - his engine had blown, and oil spilled caused havoc for riders in his tracks. With the bike back in the pits, the team determined it was beyond repair, and formally retired from the race.

Post race, the EWC announced that F.C.C. TSR Honda France were awarded 10 extra points for completing 8 hours of the race, bringing their total points to 13, with the 3 qualifying points they had earned.

The next race is the 8 Hours of Sepang 2019 on December 14.

Comments

Masakazu Fujii | F.C.C. TSR Honda France (DNF) Team Manager

 

"We retired due to a blown engine. The bike was brought back to the pits, but we determined we could not go on, as the crankcase was damaged. I'm truly sorry for all the trouble it caused the other teams and riders. We're not going to waste any time in working out what went wrong, and make sure it doesn't happen again. We accept the results from this race, and start afresh at Sepang. Once again, I'm truly sorry."

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Results

FIM Endurance World Championship 2019-2020
Round 1:Paul Ricard circuit – France
Bol d’Or

Rank Team
1 Suzuki Endurance Racing Team / Suzuki
2 Wójcik Racing Team / Yamaha
3 BMW MOTORRAD WORLD ENDURANCE TEAM / BMW
4 Omega Maco Racing Team / Yamaha
5 VRD IGOL PIERRET EXPERIENCES / Yamaha
6 MOTO AIN / Yamaha
11 National Motos / Honda
21 Rac 41 / Honda
27 Zuff Racing Honda Swiss Team / Honda
RT F.C.C. TSR Honda France / Honda

Photos