The frontrunning Polish team was aiming high for the season opener at Le Mans last weekend with its #77 Formula EWC Yamaha sixth fastest and its #777 bike 13th overall and third among the Dunlop Superstock Trophy contenders.
However, the team’s pre-race preparations were compromised by a last-minute rider change with Sheridan Morais declared unfit to start due to his crash in Second Qualifying on Friday, while illness forced Kamil Krzemień to withdraw. That resulted in Balint Kovacs and Robin Mulhauser being called up as late replacements.
After a solid first hour, the #777 crew of Marek Szkopek, Kevin Manfredi and Danny Webb was battling for a podium finish in the Dunlop Superstock Trophy before Briton Webb was forced to pit with a broken chain at the start of his first stint. The PKN ORLEN-supported crew would then be forced to retire from the race four hours later due to a gearbox issue.
At the same time the #77 trio had to briefly stop trackside after the bike briefly caught fire due to an oil filter issue, before returning to action after a quick inspection in the garage.
Despite dropping to the very back of the field, the #77 bike was back in the Formula EWC top 10 after 16 hours of racing before Mulhauser crashed on an oil left by another bike and was unable to continue.
“Unfortunately, Le Mans was unlucky for us again but this is racing,” said Team Principal, Grzegorz Wójcik. “We’ve scored some points for qualifying with the #777 crew, but we were aiming for much, much more this weekend. I’d like to thank the entire team for their hard work and dedication, not just this week but during the last few months of pre-season preparations. We have shown that we can be at the front with both of our crews, and maybe even fight for wins in the Superstock class, so that makes us really motivated ahead of the next races.”