BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Oschersleben, Germany, 26/08/2015, FIM Endurance World Championship
The third round of the 2015 FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC), the “8 Hours of Oschersleben”, was the home event for two BMW teams: for BMW MOTORRAD France Penz13.com and for VÖLPKER NRT48 & PENZ 13 BY SCHUBERT. Both teams were impressive with strong performances on their BMW S 1000 RRs.
In the highest category of the Superbike class “Formula EWC” (EWC SBK), Markus Reiterberger, Bastien Mackels and Pedro Vallcaneras on their #13 RR were up there at the top of the championship field. In the Superstock class (EWC STK), Marco Nekvasil, Dominik Vincon and Stefan Kerschbaumer on the #48 RR were right at the front.
BMW MOTORRAD France Penz13.com continue to impress in its debut season in the Superbike class of the world championship. In the practice and qualifying sessions, Rico Penzkofer’s team proved that it is among the best in the world. Markus Reiterberger in particular is at least just as at home on the endurance RR as he is on his IDM machine, with which he rode to an early championship victory in the SUPERBIKE*IDM.
In the free practice session he got the fastest time by far, completing a lap in 1:26.670 minutes, and was more than one second faster than the rest of the established EWC field. Reiterberger was even faster in the first qualifying session on Thursday, and with a lap time of 1:26.386 minutes got the best time of the day. He was slightly quicker in the second qualifying session on Friday and in 1:26.330 minutes got the overall best time of all of the qualifying sessions – on racing tyres! In the starting line-up, which is decided based on the average time of all three riders of a team, Reiterberger, Mackels and Vallcaneras secured a strong fourth place.
The impressive performance on the #13 BMW S 1000 RR continued in the race on Saturday. Reiterberger was the first to climb onto the bike and dashed to the front right from the start. He tore away from the pack and in his first stint extended his lead at the front to almost ten seconds. As this hotly contested endurance race went on, the Penz13 trio dropped down the field slightly, but were embroiled in the battle for the lead as they consistently completed fast laps (in his second stint, Reiterberger got the fastest lap time in the race with a time of 1:26.816 minutes). The safety car came onto the track just as it was time for a scheduled pit stop and valuable time was lost waiting for the pit lane light to turn green before the RR was allowed back onto the track. Despite all that, the team was on track to finish on the podium until the final hour of racing, when a clutch problem forced the team to make an unplanned pit stop. It took less than five minutes to change the clutch, but by that time the possible podium finish was out of reach. After eight hours, BMW MOTORRAD France Penz13.com finished in sixth place overall and in fifth place in the Superbike class.
“I am very pleased that we rode a pretty good race. All three riders were fast and the pit crew were outstanding in all of the stops,” summed up Reiterberger. “We just ended up being unlucky once again. Naturally that is frustrating, but that’s the way it is. I had a lot of fun out there on the bike. When all is said and done, it is a world championship and the race lasts for eight hours – no doubt we could have finished on the podium and it would have been a fantastic accolade for the team, and we will continue to aim for that in the future.”
Team boss Rico Penzkofer is also pleased with his team’s performance: “We led the race and fought for the win and the podium, and got the fastest lap time of the race. I am happy with the performance of my riders and of the team in the pit – we didn’t make a single mistake, in the end it came down to bad luck once again, twice: with the pit stop during the safety car phase and with the clutch. But we fixed the clutch problem in record time. We have to take the positives from this weekend and switch our focus to the Bol d’Or now.”
The performance of VÖLPKER NRT48 & PENZ 13 BY SCHUBERT was similarly impressive: The team from Oschersleben dominated its class in the qualifying sessions, and Marco Nekvasil, Dominik Vincon and Stefan Kerschbaumer secured the Superstock pole position on the #48 BMW S 1000 RR. They achieved an outstanding sixth starting place in the overall standings.
In the actual race, the BMW trio was in second place in the Superstock class and a strong seventh place in the overall standings until the final phase. However, they dropped down the field after a fall. After eight hours, the #48 RR crossed the finish line in tenth place in the Superstock class and in 24th place overall.
The trio of Gary Mason, Barry Burrell and Stefan Cappella on the BMW S 1000 RR of Prime Factors Racing started the race from sixth place in the Superstock class (16th overall).However, they retired before the end of the race. In the Open class, two BMW teams rode onto the podium: Lars Albrecht, Rico Löwe and Tobias Kollan came second (15th overall) on the RR of RS Speedbikes Racing; Onno Bitter, Dierk Mester and Peter Eickelmann (MSD-Steeldesign.de) finished third in this class (20th overall).
The season finale of the FIM Endurance World Championship will be held on 19th/20th September, with the famous 24-hour race, the Bol d’Or in Le Castellet in the south of France.