Dominique Méliand’s team is back with a bang. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team carved out a short lead over its rivals as night began to fall. Fast, smooth pit stops, a problem-free GSX-R 1000 and three highly motivated riders (Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black) have made all the difference.
There is also the fact that their rivals have been having problems. SERT’s duel in the lead with Team SRC Kawasaki France came to an end when the Kawasaki had a minor electrical issue. Honda Endurance Racing’s trio of Sébastien Gimbert, Gregory Leblanc and Erwan Nigon seized the chance to move up to second place.
After shadowing the teams in the lead early on in the race, F.C.C. TSR Honda France and YART Yamaha slid down the rankings towards late afternoon. F.C.C. TSR Honda France dropped back 8 laps following an electrical problem. YART Yamaha lost contact with the leading pack when the bike developed an oil leak and Niccolò Canepa crashed.
Another favourite, ERC-BMW Motorrad Endurance, dropped out of the leading pack early on when Julien da Costa collided with another bike and crashed.
The misfortunes of these favourites have left the field wide open for the hardier challengers. Yamaha Wepol Racing is lapping in 4th place 8 hours into the race thanks to Daniel Webb, Mathieu Lagrive and Sheridan Morais, ahead of Bolliger Team Switzerland, which has entrusted its Kawasaki to Roman Stamm, Sébastien Suchet and Jonathan Hugot, and the Maco Moto (Yamaha) line-up of Louis Bulle, Anthony Dos Santos and Julian Mayer, who started out from 19th spot on the grid.
The best Superstock, GERT56, in the Top10
Gert56 has put in a flawless performance since the start of the race. The German team is currently 7th. Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki lost ground as a result of a brake problem. Webike Tati Team Trick Star (Kawasaki) is holding firmly on to 3rd place in Superstock.
Two of the top teams in this class ran aground early on in the race. Team 33 Coyote Louit Moto (Kawasaki), the top Superstock on the starting grid, has dropped to the bottom of the rankings after running into engine problems. Moto Ain (Yamaha) has had to withdraw because of a broken gearbox.
After 8 hours of racing, F.C.C. TSR Honda France rounds off the Top 10, having successfully climbed back up after fixing its electrical issues. These teams picked up the bonus points awarded to the 10 teams leading the classification 8 hours into the race. The same number of bonus points will be handed out 16 hours into the race.