BMW To Start Le Mans 24 Hour From Pole

Cycle News Staff | September 23, 2011

The Team BMW Motorrad France 99 squad of Sebastien Gimbert, Erwan Nigon, Damien Cudlin and Hugo Marchand will start tomorrow’s 24 Hours of Le Mans from pole position after a dominant performance that saw the BMW S1000RR at the top throughout practice and qualifying at the Bugatti Circuit.Gimbert and Nigon both topped the timesheet in their respective qualifying sessions yesterday afternoon, with Nigon breaking the lap record with a time of 1:36.950. Gimbert was again fastest this morning, in a 30-minute session that was red flagged twice due to oil on the track. Nigon opted to sit out his half hour session, but Cudlin and Marchand both finished their stints in the top three.With pole awarded based on the average time of the three fastest riders, Team BMW Motorrad France proved unbeatable, securing their first pole position of the season by more than half a second.

“I pushed hard for the pole position here at Le Mans, but the same is true of everyone in the team, who’ve all worked so hard this season,” Nigon said in a team release. “It will be good to start from the front tomorrow, not just for us, but also for BMW, Michelin and all our sponsors whose support has been so important. But while pole position is great, it’s the race that’s important. I think we will be strong tomorrow; the bike is good, the tires are working well here and I have two very fast teammates. I am confident that, if we can avoid any problems, we will be able to fight for a good result this weekend.”Monster Yamaha YART will start from second on the grid with Igor Jerman and Steve Martin doing their best lap times yesterday. Today, Loris Baz, the newcomer on the official Austrian Yamaha team, managed to turn in the second fastest time – a 1:37.514.The team SRC Kawasaki, with Julien da Costa, Gregory Leblanc and Olivier Four, also made the most of the second qualifying session. After a crash yesterday, the team moved to third this morning ahead of Yamaha Racing France GMT 94 Ipone’s David Checa, Kenny Foray and Matthieu Lagrive.

The Suzuki Endurance Racing Team ended up fifth on the grid with Anthony Delhalle, Daisaku Sakai and Baptiste Guittet.The Maco Racing Team entry that features Californian Jason Pridmore will start tomorrow’s race from sixth on the grid.