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Reeves takes fourth World Sidecar title at Le Mans

In the year of the Olympics, Tim Reeves and Ashley Hawes became the latest recipients of a gold medal when they took a brilliant win at Le Mans, France on Saturday to clinch the 2012 World Sidecar Championship. With just four points separating the leading four crews coming into the event, it was very much a case of 'winner takes all' and it was Tim and Ashley who put together a faultless performance. The world title was Tim's fourth, his first since 2007, whilst for Ashley it was his maiden crown.

The weekend got off to a great start for them when they posted the second fastest time in free practice and with everything new on the bike that could be new, they used the session to run in the engine and ensure everything was bedded in successfully. When the second qualifying session came, they were ready to push for a time and a lap of 1m42.925s saw them qualify on the front row of the grid in 2nd place and with less than half a second covering the four crews fighting it out for the World title, the stage was set.

With perfect conditions around the GP circuit, Tim made the perfect start to lead the field through the first few bends and behind him two of his main rivals were immediately out with Pekka Paivarinta/Adolf Hanni coming together with Ben and Tom Birchall. That meant it would be a straight fight between Tim and Ash and Jorg Steinhausen/Gregory Cluze. Tim soon opened up a gap over the German driver but as the race entered its second half, the gap was decreasing and soon Steinhausen was on the tail of Tim. Positions changed hands over the next few laps but, Tim and Ashley were putting in the perfect race and, having successfuly conserved their tyres during the middle of the race, they were able to push on in the final laps and with Steinhausen having no grip left, they edged away. They went on to comfortably take the win for their 4th win of the season whilst it also ensured that they finished on the podium in every race they completed.


Speaking later, a delighted Tim said; "I'm absolutely over the moon to be World Champion again and this has undoubtedly been the hardest one to win. There's been nothing between the leading six outfits all year so to come out on top is truly special. Coming into this weekend, the equation was simple for all four of us - win and be World Champions - and I think it came down to who could handle the pressure the most. With a new engine, brake pads and the like, I did what I needed to do during practice and qualifying and felt confident coming into the race that I had the pace to run at the front and the race simply couldn't have gone any better for us."

"I made an absolute flyer of a start to get straight into the lead and my game plan was to push as hard as I could in the early stages to open up a gap and that's exactly what I did. With Pekka and Ben going out, it was down to just two of us and at half race distance, I eased off a bit to conserve the tyres and that's when Jorg began to pull me in. I knew that he was pushing hard to get with us so when he came by me I wasn't unduly worried and we swapped places a few times, mainly when I outbraked myself going into the chicane. In the final third of the race, I could see my tyres were in better condition than his so with three laps to go, I made my move and pulled away again to take a dream win and a superb World Championship."

"This was my main objective at the beginning of the year so to be World Champion again after a five-year gap is really special. Midway through the season, I said the winners would be the most consistent and the whole team's been brilliant so to be on the podium in all the races we've finished shows how well we've worked. Ash had never competed in a GP before the first round this year and we gelled from the start so I'm chuffed to bits for him that he's World Champion and we're all just ecstatic right now. None of it would have been possible though had it not been for all my loyal sponsors so a big thanks to all of them especially the Haith family, Gunther Reuschling, Derek Brindley (Arrow Engineering), Monster Energy, H&S Contractors, Q8 Oils and John Lawson."

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