Oschersleben, Germany - 11th August 2012: A hard fought second place in today's 8 Hours of Oschersleben, the fourth round of the 2012 Endurance World Championship, promoted BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent to second in the series standings with just one round remaining. Damian Cudlin, Sébastien Gimbert and Erwan Nigon rode a faultless race aboard the #99 BMW S1000RR at Oschersleben today.
Cudlin got proceedings underway from second place on the grid, but dropped back to third on the opening lap, as the safety car was deployed in response to an early crash. The Australian reclaimed second place later in his stint, before spending another few laps behind the safety car prior to the first pit stop. Gimbert took up where his teammate left off, defending second place while also pushing to close the gap on the race leader. Nigon rejoined the race in second place after taking over the #99 BMW S1000RR at the three hour point, but it was already apparent that challenging for the win today was going to be extremely difficult, as it was impossible for the BMW trio to match the outright pace of the eventual race winner.
Undeterred, each rider continued to push to the maximum during their stints aboard the #99 BMW S1000RR, but while the gap back to third initially remained constant, so did the margin to the race leaders.
Gimbert, doing the last relay aboard the #99 BMW S1000RR, eventually took the chequered flag in second place, after holding off a late challenge from third place finishers, GMT94.
Today's podium finish means that BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent are now tied on points with Honda TT Legends, but the race win in Qatar earlier in the season means they take second place in the championship standings ahead of the British team.
BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent now trail the series leaders by 19 points, but with 40 points on offer for the winner of the final round of the season in Le Mans, the championship is still far from over.
"Obviously we were looking for the win, but it's good to be on the podium for BMW here in Germany. Actually it's good for me too; I only live about 200km from here, so this is like a home race for me! So, it was nice, but it would have been nicer to be one step higher. Unfortunately, this weekend, we never really found a good set-up for this track. I crashed in warm up too, which didn't really help our confidence, and meant that the guys had to work flat out to get the bike rebuilt for the race. We did the best we could today and second was it. But it's not over yet. Anything can happen in a 24-hour race, so we'll be pushing all the way next time out at Le Mans."
"Second place is not perfect, because I wanted to win and the team wanted to win, but it just wasn't possible today. We lost too much time in free practice and qualifying, which meant we didn't manage to change the bike to suit this track. The circuit and the conditions here are very different to Suzuka, and the set-up never really worked all weekend. We all pushed hard, but it was difficult to find the pace we needed to challenge for the win today. But, second place here means we're now second in the championship and the fight isn't over yet. We go into the final round at Le Mans knowing that we must win; nothing else will do, so that's what we'll be pushing for."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"I think it's fair to say we didn't put a foot wrong today. All three riders were consistently fast and the team did a superb job once again at the pit stops. The only problem was SERT, who were simply too quick for everyone here at Oschersleben today. But the team can be proud of themselves, as they put together a great race. Second place here means we're now second in the championship once again, and it's still only 19 points separating us from the top spot. We won't be letting our heads drop; there are a lot of points up for grabs at Le Mans, and anything can happen in a 24-hour race, so we'll go on fighting to the very end. We're still in with a shout of the championship, which is all the incentive we need going into the final race of the season."