The GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team and YART Yamaha Official EWC Team endured a drama filled 8 Hours of Oschersleben yesterday in the penultimate round of the 2017/18 Endurance World Championship. GMT94 held on to take a valuable third place on the podium, whilst YART were not so lucky, recording a DNF.
Oschersleben pole-sitters David Checa, Mike Di Meglio and Niccolò Canepa of GMT94 were quick off the start and showing immediate race winning pace until the first challenge of the race struck. In a repeat of last year, they were imposed a stop-and-go penalty for failing to turn their lights off during their pit-stop, ultimately shaving off their margin required to win the race. Undeterred they kept on pushing. Two safety car moments then provided further drama, the first bringing the rival race winners in striking distance of their goal, the second in the last moments of the race, bringing Kawasaki right in to a duel for third in the last lap. With just half a lap to go, Mike Di Meglio fell in the heat of the moment, but was able to get back on his damaged R1 and ride it across the line to secure the podium.
Slovakia Ring race winners YART Yamaha EWC arrived in Oschersleben determined to continue their race winning form make up for the less than perfect race experience of last year. With much improved tyre choices riders Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Max Neukirchner were confident of striking out for the podium. Unfortunately for the team luck was not theirs, and again they were face with big challenges. An overheating radiator with subsequent water leak caused Marvin to crash on the slippery liquid, the impact of the crash then causing the YZF-R1 to catch fire on a section of track where no fire extinguisher was immediately available. In true Endurance style Fritz was still able to get his R1 back to the garage where the team spent some considerable time working to return the machine to a race ready state. Ultimately the battle was lost and Team Director Mandy Kainz made the decision to stop, keeping the safety of the riders foremost in his mind.
The Oschersleben results mean GMT94 remain in second place in the Championship standings heading to the final round in Suzuka on 29th July, ten points behind their rivals.
GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team
“I’m really proud of the team after this race, we worked really hard to get to the podium here in Oschersleben. As always in Endurance racing, anything can happen, and today many things did! We had safety cars that made it difficult to have a distance to our rivals, the first made it almost impossible to win and the second also meant we would have to fight. In the end we were lucky to finish on the podium, both Mike and Niccolò did a great job and the team worked had all weekend so we do deserve this. Now we go to Suzuka to fight again.”
GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team
“Of course we made a little mistake, and had a penalty with the stop and go as a result. The first safety car allowed Honda to save one pit-stop and the second allowed Kawasaki to be just with us. So there was a big fight between Randy de Puniet and Mike, Mike crashed; this is racing. Fortunately he was able to cross the line so we are on the podium. The bike worked very well, the pace was very good and the team performed perfectly. The Dunlop tyres worked really well in the hot temperatures, they made a big step. We are lucky because the bike had big damage but Mike was able to make the half lap and cross the line at the end so we can be very happy. Now we are looking forward to Suzuka we are ready to fight, we never give up and we will see what is possible. A big thank you to David, Mike and Niccolò for their efforts and the whole team for their hard work.”
YART Yamaha Official EWC Team
“We were in a good position and at the front the race at the beginning, then obviously things went the wrong way. I’m really upset, it was difficult to win but the podium was possible and definitely there for us, I think we could have been second. The problems we had were totally out of our control so it’s frustrating for us to finish like this. I’m looking forward to doing a good job in Suzuka, thank you to all the team and Marvin and Max for everyone’s hard work this weekend.”
YART Yamaha Official EWC Team Manager
“The bike started to overheat, it was more or less the same story as two years ago. When Max was riding and the water came out of the radiator. When Marvin was riding the water came out and he crashed on it, then the bike caught on fire. Unfortunately there was no fire extinguisher on the corner he crashed so the bike was also on fire for a while. After these incidents we tried to get going again, but made the decision to stop for safety. I want to thank the team and the riders for all their hard work over this weekend, today it wasn’t meant to be, but we start looking to Suzuka now to be ready for the next challenge.”