11h00 – Mist and drizzle complicate the choice of tires…
The fine droplets of rain that fall on the Magny-Cours circuit complicate the choice of tires: sometimes drying and sometimes wet, the track has its share of traps and causes many falls, including that of the Yamaha n ° 94.
At 9 a.m., the Yamaha n ° 7 of Austria Racing stops at the pits for Sebastien Scarnato to hand over to Gwen Giabbani.
"The motorcycle is physical", says Sebastien, getting off his machine a little wobbly:"it is a little trying due to the adjustments made this week in the rain … The track is dry and the behavior of the machine is not very suitable, but we will do everything to keep our third place, without trying to go further !"
On the side of Yamaha n ° 33, "the bike is doing well and the riders too", explains team manager Christophe Heriberry:"we had to be a little vigilant this morning with the mist, but all is well, we are happy! But it’s not because it’s daylight that we arrived so I asked the drivers not to forget that there was still six hours of racing"…
Triumph n ° 42 exits the track and finishes its race in a gravel pit at 9.14am: the marshals hasten to clear it to put it back on the track, but it reaches the pits via the safety lane.
Following its previous pit stop, the n ° 2 Kawasaki dropped back to 3rd place in the Blockbuster but quickly recovered its second position.
The first rain droplets appear at 9:20 am: almost immediate fall of the Honda n ° 55 which catches fire! After its extinction, Frederic Protat tries to bring it back to the stand with the stroller while the Yamaha n ° 7 returns to the pits to refuel.
Suzuki n ° 72 fell at 9:21 a.m. while the lead machine returned to the pits for a tire change.
The Delta Endurance Kawasaki n ° 126 falls at 9:17 am: the pilot is unharmed and returns to the stroller. He arrives at the stand shortly before 10 a.m. and then points to 27th place in the general classification.
Honda # 55 arrives at the pits at 9:23 a.m. "I slipped forward because of the rain", specifies Frederic Protat.
Kawasaki # 111 returns to the pits at the same time as Yamaha # 3 from Phase One Endurance and Yamaha # 33 from Decibels.
Yamaha n ° 7 leaves at 9:26 am and retains third place.
Dafy Moto Kawasaki n ° 39 crashed at 9:27 a.m.: the rider quickly stripped the machine of its damaged fairings and reached the pits via the safety lanes.
Kawasaki n ° 111 leaves at 09:28 am with mixed tires.
The track, which has become very slippery in places, considerably increases the times for the leaders: Sebastien Gimbert on the handlebars of Yamaha n ° 94 completes his lap in 1’58 before returning to the pits at 9:34 am: he sets off again keeping slick tires! "It’s complicated to make a choice right away, so we played a card hoping that the fine rain would stop and the track would dry quickly.", specifies Christophe Guyot.
Olivier Four’s remarkable return to the track on the handlebars of the n ° 55 Honda at 9:39 a.m., when the n ° 33 Yamaha recovers the 7th place. The two machines are therefore racing again, but this time on the same lap! Crashes of the Yamaha n ° 6 of Shell Endurance Academy, of the Kawasaki n ° 111 and of the MV Agusta n ° 81 of Midi-Pyrenees Racing.
9.47am: new stop for Yamaha n ° 33 for mounting mixed front and rear tires. At the same time, the No. 29 Honda of Boffa Endurance Team Senior fell on the pit straight: the driver trapped by a slippery white line set off again without damage after a short lap on the lawn.
The two leading machines stop simultaneously to change their tires at 9:51 a.m. "It’s hard to choose tires when it’s not clear rain and it’s messy", confirms Dominique Meliand in turn:"We have to follow the pilot’s will, it was risky to stay on slicks for Christophe Guyot but given his 2nd position, he was right to try the jackpot !"
Suzuki n ° 72 stopped at 9:52 a.m. and set off again shortly after. National Motos’ # 55 Honda regains the lead over the # 33 Yamaha, but stops again for a full tire change, front and rear.
The official Kawasaki n ° 111 comes out of the pits at 9:56 am in the hands of Steve Plater, after having also put on rain tires front and rear.
At 10:11 am, the Kawasaki n ° 2 of Jadoul Motosport takes the lead of the Superproduction in front of the Kawasaki n ° 16 of Raffin Motos and the Suzuki n ° 44 of No Limits.
The light rain has not yet changed the Stocksport classification: Suzuki n ° 72 retains first place in the category and 5th overall despite its fall. The Yamaha n ° 33 is still behind and is now 12 laps behind.
At 10:30 am, black flag for the Kawasaki n ° 24 of 3D Endurance Moto Center due to a thick release of black smoke. She goes back to the stand where several members of the team are in tears: the abandonment is not officially signed, but it’s just like…
10:36 am: a poker game or a good analysis of competition times? Suzuki n ° 1 set off again in front and rear slicks … But 6 minutes later, the race management asked the marshals to present the rain flag. !
At 10:45 am, the Yamaha n ° 94 crashed into the Estoril bend in the hands of Didier Van Keymeulen! The machine seemed to be well affected, but managed to start the race again in the hands of Sebastien Gimbert just before 11:00 a.m., after a change of wheels and fairings….
"We will try to keep our second place", explains Christophe Guyot. Because the Yamaha n ° 7, in third position, obviously took the opportunity to reduce to 4 laps its delay on the n ° 94…
Eric MICHEL and Marcus HIMSELF
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