Australian Steve Martin and his Yamaha Austria Racing Team set to clinch 2009 Endurance World Championship during this weekend's Bol d'or 24-Hour event in France, where the team will need to score just one point to ensure they wrap up the team's first world title after a dominant season.
The second all-time classic and fifth round of the Qtel FIM Endurance World Championship, the Bol d’Or will take place this weekend on the race-track of Magny-Cours, near Nevers.
This 24 hours race will be the deciding event for which team will be the 2009 World Champion. Strong championship leader, with three victories out of four races, the Yamaha Austria Racing Team is only one point away from the title, over runner-up RT Racing Team. On the Austrian Yamaha, Igor Jerman, Steve Martin and Gwen Giabbani could score another victory, but might also satisfy themselves with any result that will give them the 2009 world title.
Against YART, who races on Michelin tyres, the competition could come from the Michelin Power Research Team. The French team counts on its two world champions, Matthieu Lagrive and William Costes, associated with Josep Monge, to finally get on the podium at last. Although the Honda was very competitive over the season, they never managed to secure a top result and hope to do so this coming weekend.
As in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Yamaha Austria will have to face strong competitors. The Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, who was dominated by YART earlier this year, will do their best to get back to the only position that suits a nine-time world champion team: the first. This official SERT Suzuki is ridden by Vincent Philippe, Olivier Four and Freddy Foray, given by the Junior Team Suzuki because of the lack of form of Barry Veneman, still injured. The Yamaha France GMT 94, betrayed at Le Mans by their radiator and then their engine, is back on track, more motivated than ever, with Sébastien Gimbert, David Checa and Erwan Nigon. And who knows what the Kawasaki GSR Team with Kenny Foray, Kenny Noyes, Javier Fores and Bernat Martinez can do.
In the Superstock class, the Suzuki Junior Team LMS remains the favourite. To replace Freddy Foray, Mathieu Ginès, leader in French Supersport Championship, will ride with Cédric Tangre and Louis Bulle. They’ll have to deal with the Suzuki Qatar Endurance Racing Team of Mashel Al Naimi, Rashid Al Mannai and Anthony Delhalle, current leader of the 2009 FIM Superstock World Cup. The Suzuki Endurance Moto 45 of Alexandre Lagrive, Adrien Ganfornina and Nicolas Jaulneau, and the Kawasaki Cordoba Patrimonio de la Humanidad of Alvaro Molina, Dailos Sainz and Luis Castro, are respectively second and third in this class.
The free practice of the 73rd Bol d’Or will start on Thursday at Magny-Cours.