Erwan Nigon and Sébastien Gimbert secured the first ever world championship race win for both the BMW S1000RR and Team BMW Motorrad France 99, with an emphatic victory in today's Eight Hours of Albacete, the second round of the 2011 Endurance World Championship.
Starting from second place on the grid, Nigon was the quickest rider off the line after the traditional Le Mans style getaway and led the race into the first turn. Consistently quick laps saw the reigning French Superbike Champion open a gap at the front of the field, which he and Gimbert were able to increase with each stint aboard the BMW S1000RR. By the halfway point in the race Team BMW Motorrad France 99 had a 42 second lead over the GMT 94 Yamaha in second place.
Team BMW Motorrad France 99 continued to dominate in the second half of the race, with Gimbert eventually taking the win by 31 seconds from the GMT 94 Yamaha after eight hours and 306 laps of racing. The Albacete victory moves Team BMW Motorrad France 99 up to second place in the championship standings, just two points behind leaders SERT.
Team BMW Motorrad France 99 will be back in action at the fourth round of the Endurance World Championship, which takes place at the Suzuka circuit in Japan on 31 July. Before leaving for Japan Nigon and Gimbert will defend their first and second places in the French Superbike Championship standings at Le Vigeant, Ledenon and Magny-Cours.
"The race was perfect! We knew from the start that we'd have to do an extra fuel stop compared to the other teams, so the plan was to push as hard as possible to make up 10 seconds every hour. I got a good start and was able to build a good gap in the first hour before handing over to Sébastien. Both of us were pushing in every stint until, with 90 minutes of the race left to run, we knew nobody was going to be able to come back at us. Taking this first win for the team, BMW and Michelin is a great feeling, especially given how hard they've all worked to make it happen."
"I'm really happy for the team, for BMW and for Michelin that, after a year and a half of hard work by everyone, we finally managed to take our first win in the Endurance World Championship here at Albacete. We knew in Le Mans that we'd made the first big steps towards success, that we would only get stronger as the season progressed, and we proved that here today. Obviously I'm happy with the win, and pleased that it was taken together with Erwan, who also did a great job today. Now I'm looking forward to the next round at Suzuka, where I hope we will be able to fight at the front of the race once again."