Suzuki Endurance Racing Team just missed the podium in the 8 Hours of Doha World Endurance Championship second round at Losail in Qatar after losing several laps due to a faulty oil line.
The defending World Champions were forced into two unscheduled pit stops just after the two-hour mark, effectively ending Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and Yukio Kagayama's hopes of victory, but despite the huge loss of time, the GSX-R1000-mounted team gradually fought back through the field to finish on 212 laps, five behind winners BMW Motorrad in scorching heat and humid temperatures.
Despite the disappointment in a race that saw many of the top EWC-class teams retire including Monster Yamaha with engine problems and Yamaha France GMT with overheating issues, SERT took over the lead in the series by 10 points from the Honda TT Legends team, who finished third in Qatar with a new, temporary team due to a date clash with the Isle of Man TT and its regular riders.
Said SERT Team Manager Dominique Meliand: "Obviously we are very disappointed. We have been using these oil lines - which are used in F1 - for many years. All we can think is that we have obtained some faulty units, but these two 10cm-long parts cost us 10 valuable Championship points."
Suzuki GSX-R1000s dominated the Superstock class and made history with Qatar Endurance Racing Team's Anthony West, Nasser Al Malki and Nina Prince heading Suzuki Team Motors Events' Guillaume Dietrich, Frederic Moreira and Michael Savary to a Suzuki one-two and also finishing fifth and sixth overall against the EWC-class teams. The victory of a mixed gender team is a first in the World Endurance Championship.
SERT will next be in action at round three of the World Endurance Championship, the Suzuka 8 Hour race in Japan, on July 29th where it hopes to strengthen its series lead, but will face stiff competition from the Factory Japanese teams, including five-time race winners Yoshimura Suzuki and its team riders Nobuatsu Aoki, Leon Camier and Josh Waters.
Qatar Endurance Photos (David Reygondeau/ Good-Shoot.com): CLICK HERE FOR GALLERY
Qatar 8 Hour Results: 1 BMW Motorrad France (BMW) 226 laps, 2 Bolliger Team Switzerland (Kawasaki) 223, 3 Honda TT Legends (Honda) 222, 4 SERT (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 222, 5 QERT (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 220, 6 Motors Events AMT (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 219, 7 Penz 13 (BMW) 219, 8 DG Sport (Yamaha) 218, 9 Maco Racing Team (Yamaha) 216, 10 Atomic Motorsport (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 215.
Championship Points (after 2 rounds): 1 SERT 54 points, 2 Honda TT Legends 44, 3 SRC Kawasaki 40, 4 Yamalube Folch Endurance 37, 5 BMW Motorrad 35, 6 Bolliger Team Switzerland 29, 7 Monster Energy Yamaha 28, 8 Team RC2L 27, 9 Yamaha France GMT94 24, 10 Team Flembbo Djimiant Serbia 19.