The 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans proved a successful race for those teams benefitting from Yamaha’s extended support program in the FIM Endurance World Championship, with all five teams making it to the finish of what is widely regarded as the toughest race in the world.
Despite a last-minute rider change, with Matthieu Lagrive standing down to be replaced by Michael Laverty on the Thursday before the race, Germany’s WEPOL Racing were the first Yamaha team home in Le Mans, narrowly missing out on repeating their podium success at the Bol d’Or, the opening round of the 2018/2019 season.
The team’s trio of riders, Laverty, Danny Webb and Sheridan Morais, brought the WEPOL Yamaha R1 home in fourth place. The result moves the team up to third place in the overall championship standings with 80 points, just 22 points adrift of the current series leader. In the Independent Team Championship WEPOL lead the way with a six point advantage over their closest rival.
French outfit 3ART – Moto Team 95 were the second Yamaha R1 mounted team past the chequered flag, with Morgan Berchet, Matthieu Lussiana and Alex Plancassagne all putting in solid performances over the 24 hours to secure their best result of the 2018/2019 season in sixth, moving them up to 11th in the championship standings with 21 points.
The third Yamaha R1 across the line was the Moto AIN bike, with Roberto Rolfo, Robin Mulhauser and Stefan Hill sharing the riding duties. Despite a difficult qualifying and a crash in the early stages of the race, the three riders managed to fight their way back to finish ninth overall, but second in the SST class.
The VRD Igol Pierret Experiences Yamaha team got their Le Mans weekend off to a flying start, with Florian Alt, Florian Marino and Xavier Simeon qualifying the #333 Yamaha R1 in third position. The team went on to finish in a creditable 19th position in the race, picking up five points to secure them 17th position in the championship standings.
The Slovakian Maco Racing Team finished outside the points in 32nd position but accrued more valuable endurance racing experience in the toughest race in the world.
The teams will have little chance to recover from the gruelling demands of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as they will be back in action in just two weeks at the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring, which takes place on 11th May.