Winning bet for Tecmas-BMW
When going for the Superstock category associated with the Werner Daemen MRP Racing Team, Arnaud Sassone, new Tecmas-BMW manager, did well. At the end of a convincing race, Kenny Foray, Jan Bühn and Loïc Arbel did the show in the category on the n°9 bike, finishing at the 8th rank at the scratch.
It was like a dream… For a first time in a Superstock category, it was perfect. The Pré-tests running trials gave some incredible hopes! Arnaud Sassone the Bourges Tecmas-BMW MRP Racing Team group even spoke about a podium and, somehow, a possible victory few minutes prior the departure this Saturday for the 46th happening of Le Mans 24 “We are ready. The BMW M1000 RR is reliable and impressive, the pilots and the staff worked tremendously. Now, we are on a 24 hours race, it’s a long time, a very long time… The number one target is to remain on the track. Of course, there are all the unpredictable problems that one cannot always solve out. But I am confident …”
Calm and efficiency
An optimism which kept the team upwards during 24 hours. In the stand, the calm was always present even when the safety car had to handle some problems taking out some precious minutes for the n°9 compared to its main concurrent; these “minutes” so difficult to obtain on the track! Serenity again when Jan Bühn had to stop in the « S Blue” to restart the traction control.
Each time that the n°9 lost the leadership because having to stop at the stand, this leadership was recovered thanks to Kenny Foray who, as a perfect leader, got some high leveled chronos (best racing run in the Superstock category) when Jan Bühn and Loïc Arbel offered a good regularity in the race (10th scratch and 1st in Superstock at 9 p.m.).
Nothing could interfere in their strong race. Not even the freezing night with some 2° C, neither the cold and humid track so though with the tires and the early morning thick fog which altered, in some places, the visibility. Some difficult conditions that the Tecmas pilots endeavored with ability. Obviously helped by the Dunlop efficient at all times.
However, there were two small hitches in the early morning. Firstly, when they had to change the battery of the n°9 due to a starting problem. The n°9 lost then almost two running tracks with this operation as the Honda n°41 took over the leadership. Secondly, a bit later to change a plier used for “kick-stand”. Again, some precious minutes lost when Honda n°41 of Leesch, Tessels and Hardt was getting closer and closer to the lead.
And the race turned over
But at very precisely 12h05, the race definitely turned over in favor of Tecmas, when the n°41, sliding on an oil mark, crashed in the n°7 bend calling for a new coming out of the safety car. This time, with three leading runs on the Yamaha n°36 of Renaudin, Cauchy and Lagrive, Tecmas was on a “royal avenue”. Arnaud Sassone sighed: “One cannot be happy with the misfortune of others, but when a boosting happening occurred, one takes it happily” and Kenny Foray added “Now guys, we have to curl up” meaning, it’s no use to take some unusual risks. We have to ensure and reach the end! That’s just what Jan Bühn and Loïc Arbel did perfectly prior to giving to Kenny Foray the pleasure of finalizing the last relay, Him the previous 2014 World Champion who never had the chance of winning an EWC at Le Mans.
In the stand, one could feel the tension arising. One knows that one should never say “victory” before driving under the checkerboard flag. It’s only at the last run that they all assaulted the low wall of the stand to salute, fist in the air, the n°9 running on the line. A pure delivery for all the team. At this time, Arnaud Sassone could not help having some tears of happiness in the eyes. He was like free from an enormous task. His bet of coming in Superstock was fulfilled and won: “Once again, thank you to Warner Daemen, the MRP team and the people from BMW Motorrad who kept faith in our project. Thank you also to the pilots who trusted me and who made “The” perfect race. Finally, thank you to my family and all those who worked like mad since many months to reach this tremendous reward. We are going to celebrate this victory as it must be but I’m already looking forward to the future…”
The future in Endurance for Tecmas, it’s the Spa-Francorchamp 24 hours on 17th or 18th of June where the Bourges team will be looking for the “double” to consolidate it’s first place at the World Championship Cup. A general qualification where it has won 10 added points for having being leader for its category at the 8th and 16th hours of the race.
General classification : 1. TSR Honda Francen°1 (Hook, Di Meglio, Techer) 827 laps ; 2. Yart-Yamaha n°7 (Canepa, Fritz, Hanika) at 2 laps ; 3. BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team n°37 (Reitberger, Mykhalchyk, Guarnoni) at 5 laps.
Superstock : 1. Tecmas-BMW MRP Racing Team n°9 (Foray, Bühn, Arbel) 802 laps ; 2. Yamaha 3Art Best of bike (Renaudin, Cauchi, Lagrive) at 3 laps ; 3. Honda No Limits n°44 (Masbou, Nigon, Gabellini) at 11 laps.
The pilot’s reactions
Kenny Foray: «It’s an important victory for Tecmas which go in a new adventure, but also for BMW. This Superstock Category is perhaps less prestigious than the EWC but I am sure that as the years go by, there will be less EWC in competition and more Superstock (34 at Le Mans this year). For a manufacturer who think in market profiles, it’s very interesting as a Superstock racing moto is very close of the series. Just the electronic system and the tuning. The tires are identical to those used in the track days. It’s a pleasure. The race? Everything went well excepted for the safety sar interventions. Each time we lost a lot of time and we had to play with it to recover the first place.
Jan Bühn:” A super race without any serious problem. I’m really happy that I won my first race with Tecmas and Kenny (Foray) who has been a super leader. Greetings for all the team which has done a great work! The cold and the fog made the race more difficult. We had sometimes some difficulties to warm up the tires but finally, the Dunlop have been efficient”.
Loïc Arbel:” Once again, thanks to Tecmas who trusted me after my fall at the first part of FSBK which prevented me from participating at the Pré Le Mans tests. I did the podium (2nd) last year at Spa in EWC but, this time, this victory in Superstock, it’s even stronger. Everything went well on the track and the atmosphere within the team is great! The MRP Racing Team support who has the n°37 in EWC also helped it. We had the chance to run on a very performant bike at the first competition.”