Podium for Markus Reiterberger and BMW at the Spa 24 Hours
The tension within the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team finally evaporated after 24 intensive hours of racing at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium). Markus Reiterberger and his teammates Ilya Mikhalchik and Jérémy Guarnoni again finished on the podium with the #37 BMW M 1000 RR at round two of the 2023 FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC), the 24H SPA EWC Motos. They produced a flawless performance to come home third at the home race for Werner Daemen and his team. The trio had previously finished third at the opening race weekend in Le Mans (France). This season’s results make for happy reading so far; two races, two podium celebrations. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team also lies third in the Team world championship standings, 33 points behind the leaders.
The qualifying sessions on Friday confirmed that the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team would again be among the top teams at Spa-Francorchamps, having taken victory there last year. The #37 BMW M 1000 RR secured second place on the grid.
On several occasions during the early stages of the race, Reiterberger, Mikhalchik and Guarnoni were unfortunate with safety car phases that cost them a lot of time after their pit stops. The result was that the trio dropped back down the field each time – once as far as 19th. However, Reiterberger, Mikhalchik and Guarnoni repeatedly worked their way back through the field, one position at a time.
By the eighth hour of the race, Reiterberger, Mikhalchik and Guarnoni had climbed as high as fourth place. They maintained that position through the night, thanks to consistently good lap times, efficient fuel consumption, flawless work from the riders and team, and a bike that was running smoothly – always poised to snatch a spot on the podium.
That opportunity came with three and a half hours remaining, when the Suzuki team ahead of them encountered technical issues and dropped back. Reiterberger inherited third place, which he, Mikhalchik and Guarnoni comfortably maintained through to the finish. Even the onset of rain in the closing stages could not prevent them from claiming their second podium finish of the season.
"After securing second place in qualifying, we were confident for the race. My start was great, and in the early laps, I was able to maintain second place. However, I struggled with grip in the high temperatures, so played it safe, and handed over the bike in fourth position. Unfortunately, in the early stages, we had the misfortune of doing three pit stops during the Safety Car period and had wait at the pit exit which caused us to lose a lot of time. However, we were able to complete the entire race without any mistakes, all three of us gave our maximum, and at times, we were the fastest on track. However, the gap to the front was significant, and the top three were so fast that it was difficult to catch them. But we remained error-free until the end and were able to secure third place. Thanks to the team, to everyone who cheered us on. It was a tough, long race, but we are all happy that we could finish it on the podium."