Suzuki Endurance Racing Team raced to third position at the Le Mans 24 Hours World Endurance second round today and moved-up into second place in the championship, as Suzuki Motors Events took victory in the Superstock class.
SERT riders Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black – who were also joined this weekend by Gregory Leblanc as a ‘4th’ rider in the Dominique Méliand-run team – saw the 15-time EWC Champions move to within 16 points of the series lead after completing 838 laps of the Circuit Bugatti, and, in one of the closest 24-Hours finishes ever, less than three minutes from winning the race.
The 42nd Le Mans 24 Hours saw Philippe bolt off the line to lead aboard the Suzuki GSX-R1000 and for three hours, Suzuki led the race. In the middle of the night, SERT slipped back slightly because of some colder temperatures that disrupted the working plans of the team and threw-up some small issues, but SERT continued to fight through the night and into Sunday morning to finish the event at 3pm after 25 well-calculated Pit-Stops and a total time of ‘Stops’ at 20:38.15 minutes – one of the fastest and most efficient during the race.
Strong Suzuki GSX-R1000 performances were also witnessed in the Superstock class as the Motors Events Suzuki team raced to class victory. Riders James Westmoreland, Johan Nigon and Adrien Ganfornina, as well as moving to second position in the SST series, were also awarded the Anthony Delhalle Spirit Trophy for the best fighting spirit of all teams during the race.
Junior Team Le Mans Sud, who work out of the SERT Le Mans base in France, finished fourth in the Superstock category with riders Louis Rossi, Hugo Clere and Alexis Masbou seventh in the series after Le Mans.
Etienne Masson: “We had a very good bike which faced some difficulties during the night stints, but it’s the first podium with this new bike and this makes us very happy!”
Gregg Black: “It was a very uncertain race at times, but to finish with such a small gap between us and the winners is a very positive point. I’m really happy for Suzuki, for Dominique and for me: it’s my first podium with SERT!”
Vincent Philippe: “I was very happy to take the start and to lead the race. Then we followed our working plans. We had to ensure and that’s what we did!”
Dominique Méliand – Team Manager: “This podium has a special taste. I will retire in July after Suzuka so it’s my ultimate Le Mans 24 Hours. Finishing on the third step of the podium is a great living gift!”