BMW BoxerCup Magny-Cours race report

Mertens secures championship after win N°5 Stéphane Mertens took his fifth win of the season this weekend at the Bol d'Or in Magny- Cours for the final round of the BMW Motorrad International BoxerCup 2001. The tall Belgian rider...

Mertens secures championship after win N°5

Stéphane Mertens took his fifth win of the season this weekend at the Bol d'Or in Magny- Cours for the final round of the BMW Motorrad International BoxerCup 2001. The tall Belgian rider imposed his BMW R 1100 S in front of arch-rival - and Endurance team-mate - Fernando Cristobal, with Swiss Andreas Hofmann coming third on the podium. Although 8th position would have been sufficient for Mertens to secure the championship win, the ex-Grand Prix 250 cc rider fought a hard race and came back from fifth position to eventually overtake Fernando Cristobal in the last two laps.

"I feel so happy and relieved," said Mertens as he climbed down from his BMW R 1100 S at the end of the race. In front of a full tribune, the Belgian rider even had a kind thought for his machine, gently kissing the fairing for what was his fifth win this season. "She really deserves it and worked perfectly while I was pretty tense before the start of the race. I knew that 8th position would be enough for me to wrap up the championship, regardless of where Fernando Cristobal and Andy Hofmann would finish. But I felt that if I started calculating championship points I could lose my concentration and maybe make a mistake. So I decided to race like in any other event, and to try and win if I could. It happened and I'm overwhelmed."

Mertens qualified on the second row of the starting grid (5th fastest) and managed a good start until the race was red-flagged due to the first lap crashes of Patrick Orban, Olivier Gabillon and Franck Renault.

All three riders escaped unscathed and another start was given for a nine-lap race. Belgian Eric Lejeune shot in the lead at the first corner ahead of Hofmann, Ciciliani, Cristobal, Mertens and BMW engineer Norbert Rebholz.

On lap three Andreas Hofmann passed Lejeune in an attempt to clinch the race win that could eventually offer him the championship. "I really was at the limit and I guess I wanted too much," the Swiss admitted. "I decided to fit my machine with soft compound Michelin Pilot Race, but soon realized that this was a wrong choice."

Two laps later, French police motorcycle instructor François Ciciliani took the lead after overtaking Hofmann and Lejeune in one move. Although Lejeune was determined to get his own back, ambassador Randy Mamola announced on the organisers' microphone that he believed Ciciliani would be the winner. Alas, the extremely determined French rider was forced to withdraw owing to technical problems.

At this point Mertens was still observing the fight up front, and decided to make his move when he saw Cristobal open up a slight gap. Two laps from the end of the race, he finally took the lead, claiming his fifth win out of seven races, thus clearly deserving the winner's BMW Z3. The second prize, a black roadster BMW R 1150 R, went to Fernando Cristobal, while Andy Hofmann claimed a F1 special edition BMW C1 scooter.

Other topics in Magny-Cours
Pole position ­ Andy Hofmann secured his second pole position this weekend in Magny-Cours. After the first practice session, French police motorcycle instructor François Ciciliani was sitting on, provisional pole, but was unable to maintain his position in the second qualifying heat. "I made the mistake not to change my rear tyre after the first session, but anyway I'm satisfied to sit on the first row of the grid," said Ciciliani.

Honor's lap ­ Randy Mamola was supposed to perform his usual honor's lap prior to the BMW BoxerCup race, popping his usual wheelies for the motorcycle fans. But the Californian BMW BoxerCup ambassador decided, together with the Cup organizers, decided instead to have a minute of silence in remembrance of the victims and families of the recent terrorist attacks on the United States.

Hospitality - For the last round of the BMW Motorrad International BoxerCup 2001, BMW had organized a very special hospitality unit with two tents in order to organize the final prize-giving ceremony. Complete with "central" heating and a special podium featuring the winners' prizes, the hospitality unit hosted up to two hundred guests.

VIP guest riders ­ the BMW Motorrad International BoxerCup 2001 organizers invited some VIP guest riders for the final round of the championship. Among the most famous was Frenchman Jean-Claude Chemarin, 4 times winner of the Bol d'Or in 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979. Also present was Swiss Philippe Coulon, a 500 cc Grand Prix rider with Suzuki in the late seventies, alongside Philippe Monneret, a Le Mans 24 Hours winner who now works as TV commentator for the motoGP for Eurosport France. Also present were Sweden's Tobias Nystrom and Rolf Kaare Valderhaug from Norway.

Candy Randy - Randy Mamola was awarded a very special prize only minutes after the prize giving ceremony. After being blindfolded on the podium, a very special pink BMW Z8 was wheeled under the hospitality tent. Randy had been waiting all season for the loan of a BMW Z8, but the very special color scheme came as a shock to the BMW BoxerCup ambassador. "My wife is going to love it," he said with a wide grin on his face!

<pre> Results round 7. International BoxerCup 2001, 15th.Sep.2001, Bol d'Or - Magny-Cours (F) Pos. Num. Name Nat Laps Time Gap Faste- st Lap 1 7 MERTENS Stephane B 9 16:50,4 136,28 01:51,4 2 16 CRISTOBAL ROMEO Fernando E 9 16:51,1 0,696 01:51,3 3 5 HOFMANN Andreas CH 9 16:51,9 1,446 01:51,6 4 8 LEJEUNE Eric B 9 16:53,3 2,896 01:52,4 5 85 REBHOLZ Norbert D 9 16:56,5 6,047 01:52,5 6 105 BUYLINCKX Dirk B 9 17:01,7 11,298 01:52,6 7 108 GEUDENS Eddy B 9 17:06,2 15,776 01:52,4 8 6 BRUN Eric B 9 17:06,7 16,277 01:52,9 9 128 LEJEUNE Fred B 9 17:11,6 21,172 01:53,4 10 160 WAUTERS Marc B 9 17:11,8 21,356 01:53,1 11 69 TEINTURIER Yves F 9 17:12,4 21,964 01:53,9 12 4 CARDUS CARRIO Carlos E 9 17:13,9 23,487 01:53,3 13 9 DENIS Plet E 9 17:20,1 29,722 01:53,6 14 188 LEMMENS Herwig B 9 17:21,0 30,574 01:53,0 15 102 HERMELAERS Franck B 9 17:21,5 31,088 01:54,1 16 27 BUSQUETS MARTI Agusti E 9 17:24,0 33,543 01:54,7 17 24 VALDERHAUG Rolf Kaare N 9 17:24,8 34,344 01:54,8 18 18 BUSQUETS MARTI Josep Maria E 9 17:28,5 38,064 01:54,3 19 17 EIBL Leonhard D 9 17:32,1 41,675 01:55,5 20 132 PHILIPPART Vincent B 9 17:33,0 42,545 01:55,1 21 39 NIES Klaus B 9 17:33,5 43,102 01:55,2 22 36 BUSQUETS MARTI Alex E 9 17:37,6 47,174 01:55,9 23 146 DESLOOVERE Bart B 9 17:39,7 49,316 01:55,3 24 114 LAMBRECHTS Geert B 9 17:42,2 51,744 01:55,4 25 116 DORSIMONT Bernard B 9 17:42,2 51,808 01:56,3 26 151 HARMEL Michel B 9 17:42,6 52,22 01:56,7 27 144 MICHIELS Yannick B 9 17:43,1 52,702 01:56,4 28 23 CHEMARIN Jean Claude F 9 17:50,6 01:00,2 01:56,4 29 123 MERTENS Renaud B 9 17:55,4 01:05,0 01:57,2 30 122 DE RIDDER Thijs B 9 17:55,7 01:05,3 01:57,7 31 180 DELSHOTELLERIE Alain B 9 17:58,0 01:07,6 01:57,6 32 12 COULON Philippe CH 9 17:59,9 01:09,4 01:57,8 33 170 TSAKIRIS Stelios B 9 18:05,9 01:15,5 01:59,1 34 169 GIELEN J.P B 9 18:08,1 01:17,7 01:59,4 35 190 DE MAESENEIRE Curt B 9 18:42,3 01:51,9 02:03,0 36 145 DE ROOVER Patrick B 9 18:50,5 02:00,1 01:58,3 Not classified: 25 NYSTROMTobias S 8 15:11,1 1 Runde 01:52,8 59 CICILIANIFrancois F 7 13:09,5 2 Runden 01:51,9 156 FURMANIAKJ.P B 7 14:57,2 2 Runden 02:05,4 15 MONNERET Philippe F 1 02:01,2 0 00:00,0

Fastest Lap: 16 / CRISTOBAL ROMEO Fernando /1:51.320 / 137.442Km/H

-bmw

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