LAST BUT ONE
The penultimate leg of the International BMW BoxerCup 2001 will be held on August 11 th in Oschersleben, on the occasion of the World Motorcycle Endurance Championship round. After the first five races Stéphane Mertens is on top of the leaderboard and looking set to maybe clinch the BMW Z3 awarded to the overall series winner. However Fernando Cristobal is still very much in the hunt and trails Mertens by a mere nine points while Andy Hofmann sits in ambush on third spot.
" Beating Mertens is not impossible," keeps repeating the ex-German Superbike champion Andy Hofmann who has been a strong contender ever since the International BMW BoxerCup 2001 started in Le Mans, on April 14 th .
After defeating his opponent for pole position in Spa-Francorchamps mid-July, the tall Swiss looked on his way to an impeccable win on the rain-soaked Belgian racetrack. Mertens suffered a first lap spill - from which he escaped unscathed - and was unable to resume the racetrack. Hofmann therefore seemed set to defeat the International BMW BoxerCup 2001 series leader. But he in turn was a victim of the appallingly wet Belgian racetrack.
At Sachsenring on the following week, Mertens and Hofmann showed equal determination on the twisty refurbished German circuit. Stéphane Mertens clinched pole position in the closing stages of the second qualifying session, but in a last lap effort Andy Hofmann was almost six tenths faster than his Belgian opponent in the split times. " I knew I was fast out there, but also expected to lose time in the last uphill corner where I was just unable to find the correct racing line," admitted Hofmann, who moved down to second spot on the starting grid.
On the following day, Mertens proved he was just too fast for his opponents. The Belgian rider opened up an early gap, only to control the race through to the chequered flag. " I knew that there wouldn't be any slipstream phenomenon on this track, and my pre-race tactics worked according to plan," said a relieved Mertens, now back on top of the points leaderboard.
Now the International BMW BoxerCup 2001 riders turn to Oschersleben with equal chances. Indeed, no BMW BoxerCup race has ever been held on the German racetrack, which was built back in 1997. The Motopark Oschersleben is located south west of Magdeburg, approximately 150 km from Hannover and Berlin. It is 3. 667 kms long (2.285 miles) and the track width is comprised between 11 and 13 meters. It totals fourteen corners, among which seven right handers and seven left handers, and turns clockwise,
Oschersleben, August 2001.unlike at Sachsenring. The longest straight line is 680 meters long. Although at first hand the riders thought it would be difficult to overtake, experience has shown that the racetrack is well balanced. Left hand corners and right hand corners are on a par, corner speeds are relatively low in most corners, and track security seems to meet modern standards. As far as track grip is concerned, the Michelin technicians consider the Oschersleben asphalt as " moderately abrasive", which means tyre choice within the range of Michelin Pilot Race compounds will be important to reach the adequate grip/endurance compromise.
As usual, those people not attending the International BMW BoxerCup 2001 race in Oschersleben will be given the opportunity to catch the highlights on television. Indeed, Eurosport International will be broadcasting a summary of the Oschersleben meeting in its "Series" programme. So check your TV guide!
<pre> Oschersleben, August 2001 International BMW BoxerCup 2001 Schedule-Oschersleben Friday, August 10 th : Qualifying sessions : 13h30-14h00 15h55-16h20
Saturday, August 11 th : Race (14 laps) : 12h10.3
Entry list/Provisional standings Oschersleben - August 11 th Pos. Race n° Riders Points 1. 7 Stéphane Mertens (B) 95 2. 16 Fernando Cristobal (E) 86 3. 5 Andreas Hofmann (CH) 83 4. 8 Eric Lejeune (B) 68 5. 59 Francois Ciciliani (F) 55 6. 85 Norbert Rebholz (D) 50 7. 18 Josep Busquets (E) 33 39 Karlheinz Hennemann (D) 33 9. 14 Olivier Gabillon (F) 31 10. 4 Carlos Cardus (E) 30 33 Franck Renault (F) 30 12. 9 Piet Denis (B) 24 13. 36 Alex Busquets (E) 21 14. 27 Augusti Busquets (E) 15 15. 17 Leonhard Eibl (D) 14 6 Eric Brun (B) 14 17. 10 Patrick Orban (B) 11 12 Gerhard Lindner (D) 23 Alain Kempener (B) 24 Helmut Dähne (D) 25 Jörg Schüller (D) 29 Sébastien Legrelle (B) 69 Jean-Pierre Gilen (B) 128 Frédéric Lejeune (B) 131 Eric van Heurck (B) 132 Vincent Philippart (B)