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FIM EWC: Austrian YART team wins World Championship title for the second time

SERT Suzuki wins Bol d’Or at Le Castellet – Florian Alt (Honda) and Markus Reiterberger (BMW) on podium – Austrian YART team wins World Championship title

The YART Yamaha team is the 2023 World Endurance Champion, the second World Championship title for the Austrian squad since 2009. At the EWC season finale, YART riders Marvin Fritz, Niccolo Canepa and Karel Hanika took fourth place to move to the top of the overall standings.

The famous “Bol d’Or” was the fourth and final EWC race of the year. This 24-hour race took place at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet (France). Mathematically, six teams still had a chance to win the world championship title.

Defending champion F.C.C. TSR Honda France retired during the night with technical problems. The BMW team lost several laps due to two unscheduled pit stops because of a problem with the power supply.

After changeable weather in the early stages, a duel developed between YART and the SERT Suzuki team (Sylvain Guintoli/Gregg Black/Etienne Masson) for the lead until race half-time.

Eight hours before the end of the race, however, the Yamaha R1 began to overheat. A lengthy pit stop to change the coolant and clean the radiator resulted in five laps lost. YART needed a top-9 result to secure the World Championship title.

However, the team continued to lose time until they found a problem with the water pump. This was changed two hours before the end of the race. At that point, they were in fourth place. They finally managed to finish the race in fourth place.

After 717 laps, SERT Suzuki celebrated victory at the Bol d’Or. The Honda Viltais team (Florian Alt/Leandro Mercado/Steven Odendaal) finished second, seven laps behind. This meant that the Constructors’ World Championship went to Honda ahead of Yamaha and BMW.

The BMW team (Markus Reiterberger/Ilya Mikhalchik/Jeremy Guarnoni) was happy to finish third after 24 hours. Thus, with Alt and Reiterberger, two Germans were on the podium at the Bol d’Or.

With fourth place, YART ultimately had a 20-point lead over SERT Suzuki in the World Championship standings. The Austrian team started the EWC season with second place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (France).

YART then won the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium). It was the team’s first win in a 24-hour race since 2009. At the 8 Hours of Suzuka (Japan), it was 22nd place after a technical problem, as well as 18th in the EWC class.

Mandy Kainz overwhelmed by success

And now they managed the crowning achievement at the Bol d’Or despite the overheating problems. “What can I say? This is a very special feeling,” said YART team manager Mandy Kainz in the hour of triumph. “We’ve been so close many times, but something always happened.”

“We even lost a championship in the last hour of the last race. So it’s very special to finally achieve what we set out to do. It was a difficult race for us because our bike was much slower than the others. “

“We had to try and ride conservatively to make sure our bike survived because this track is so hard on the engines. But that meant we lost 30 km/h to some bikes on the straights, which is 0.6 to 0.7 seconds per lap.”

“We did this to make sure we could finish the race because there is no real way to test for a 24-hour race – especially the Bol d’Or. For me, our guys are the real heroes and real endurance drivers.”

“They always show such incredible fighting spirit, courage and determination. They really deserve it. This championship means a lot to all of us. The whole team has worked so hard, so we will enjoy this feeling and then start thinking about next year and how we can defend our title. “

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