- Judith Pieper-Köhler
Unfortunate retirement from the 24h Le Mans for the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team.
Le Mans. The 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA), the season-opener in the FIM Endurance World Championship 2022, began according to plan for the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team. Starting from fourth place, Jérémy Guarnoni (FRA), Markus Reiterberger (GER) and Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) were battling in the leading pack during the early hours of the race, putting themselves in a good position for another podium finish in the FIM EWC. However, a stone lodged in the radiator was the cause of an unfortunate retirement after four and a half hours.
The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team had already shown in practice and qualifying sessions that it remains one of the best teams in the FIM EWC this season. The pace with the race set-up was particularly promising and the team was brimming with optimism at the start of the 24-hour race on Saturday afternoon. Starting rider Guarnoni, Reiterberger and Mikhalchik kept the #37 BMW M 1000 RR consistently in the top four. The plan was to work their way gradually up through the field as the race progressed.
However, Guarnoni was forced to make an unexpected pit stop after four and a half hours. A stone had pierced the radiator and the subsequent overheating damaged the engine so severely that it was impossible to continue the race.
The team and riders are now fully focused on the second stop for the FIM EWC 2022, the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) on the first weekend in June.
Markus Reiterberger: “We started pretty well into the race and were able to constantly be within the top-four. We expected to benefit from our efficient fuel consumption after nine or ten hours and that our pace would improve even more during the cooler night stints but unfortunately we did not get that far. It of course is a bitter pill to swallow that a stone in the radiator ended our race early but no one could foresee this, this was just bad luck. It is a pity and we just take two points from qualifying away. But we don’t give up, we still have two 24-hour races and at least one eight-hour race this season. I feel sorry for the entire team who had worked so hard over winter to give us the best possible package. It really would have deserved to get a top result.”