- Judith Pieper-Köhler
Technical issue thwarts BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team from pole position.
Pole position: BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team dominates qualifying with new lap records.
Technical issue forces the team to retire from the race.
Le Castellet. The finale of this season’s FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC), the 85th staging of the Bol d’Or at Le Castellet (FRA), began with the highly-acclaimed first FIM EWC pole position for the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, but ended in disappointment. The team was forced to retire with a technical issue, having been in contention at the front of the field in the opening hours of the race. Markus Reiterberger (GER), Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) and Jérémy Guarnoni (FRA) again alternated in the saddle of the #37 BMW M 1000 RR. Kenny Foray (FRA) was the fourth rider. Having set the fastest time in the unofficial free practice session on Thursday morning, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team also dominated the two-part qualifying – and secured its first pole position in the FIM EWC with new lap records. Reiterberger broke the previous record in part one of qualifying on Thursday. Mikhalchik was the fastest in his group and came close to matching Reiterberger’s time. That put the #37 BMW M 1000 RR on provisional pole position on Thursday evening. Part two of qualifying on Friday morning saw Reiterberger go even faster and set another record time in his group. Then came Mikhalchik, who was even faster; a time of 1:51.641 minutes made him the fastest FIM EWC rider ever at Circuit Paul Ricard. Thanks to these impressive lap records, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team was unbeatable in qualifying and deservedly took pole position for the anniversary race. Starting from pole, Reiterberger, Mikhalchik and Guarnoni spent the first few hours of the race battling in the leading group in which positions changed hands on a regular basis. However, a technical issue with the powertrain then forced the team to retire from the race. Like all other top teams, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team encountered difficulties on the technical demanding track. Markus Reiterberger: “We were very well in the mix over the week. We claimed the first pole position for our team and the bike was very well balanced and working great. It had a superb start and during the first stints, we had a really good feeling on the bike. We said that this is exactly how a 24-hour bike needs to feel. Unfortunately we then got another technical issue. The team tried to repair it but we had to retire. I think that the team and the riders could not do a better job at the moment, we have always been among the top but a solution needs to be found to solve the technical issues to enable us to get the deserved wins next year.”