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  • Judith Pieper-Köhler

Estoril thriller gets Reiti and the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team another podium

Markus Reiterberger and the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team delivered a real thriller today at the Portuguese race track in Estoril, at the 12-hour race of the FIM Endurance World Championship. After an almost perfect start from team mate Xavi Forés from second position, Reiti was also able to deliver a strong first stint. With good race pace and a lot of confidence, the 27-year-old rode back into the pit for the second pit stop and handed the BMW M 1000 RR over to his team-mate Kenny Foray. After almost two and a half hours of racing, it happened: Foray slipped away while in the lead and fell. He had to take the # 37 M RR to the pit box. After a repair stop of four and a half minutes, it went back into the race. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team was temporarily in 20th place, four laps behind, but from then on there was only one way to go: the one forward.

During the partly turbulent race, in which the leading riders of the other teams fell far behind several times due to crashes or problems, Forés, Reiterberger and Foray continued to run without any problems. With fast lap times, they made up position after position. So Forés held the fastest race lap in the entire field for a long time. After five hours of racing, Reiti and his team had reached the top 10. After seven hours, the trio was already in sixth place, and shortly afterwards took fourth place when two motorcycles collided in the top group in front of them. Now the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team set about reducing the gap to the top 3.

In the final phase, the race developed into a real sprint thriller. With an hour and a half to go, the leading team at the time got into trouble and the podium was within reach for the #37 M RR. When all the teams had made their last pit stops half an hour before the checkered flag, Reiterberger was only ten seconds behind the podium as the final rider of the team. He really pushed hard again and rode the team's fastest race lap in the final (only six thousandths of a second behind the fastest lap overall). Reiterberger caught up within two seconds - and a few minutes before the end the third-placed man in front of him had a trip into the gravel. This cleared the way to third place and thus the second podium in a row. After 416 laps, Reiterberger crossed the finish line in third place with the #37 M RR, just 0.976 seconds behind the runner-up.

Markus Reiterberger: “Xavi rode a great first stint. I then took over while in the lead and was able to extend my lead again. Unfortunately, Kenny crashed on his first stint. That was a setback for all of us at first, but we didn't let ourselves be deterred and always said to ourselves: We'll try to get the best out of it. Twelve hours is not as long as 24 hours, but we could still achieve something. Xavi set really strong lap times, and then I did everything again, especially in my last stint. The bike worked great for me in cooler conditions. I pushed hard, and if the race had lasted one lap longer, I would still have managed to achieve second place. But we made it to the podium, that's the most important thing. We're still amongst the front in the World Championship. And in the end it was a nice 50th birthday present for my manager and our team boss Werner. "

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