ENDURANCE: BMP-ELF-99 Le Mans Thursday report

LAGRIVE FASTEST QUALIFIER AT LE MANS The BMP-ELF-99 Racing Team finished today as the fourth fastest team overall at Le Mans, after Matthieu Lagrive posted the fastest time of the day during this afternoon's qualifying sessions ahead of the...

LAGRIVE FASTEST QUALIFIER AT LE MANS

The BMP-ELF-99 Racing Team finished today as the fourth fastest team overall at Le Mans, after Matthieu Lagrive posted the fastest time of the day during this afternoon's qualifying sessions ahead of the 33rd running of the classic 24 hour endurance race this weekend.

The team put in a strong performance during free practice to finish seventh fastest on combined times, but were elevated to fourth place post qualifying thanks to Lagrive and teammate, Damian Cudlin, who were first and fourth fastest respectively in their qualifying sessions.

With less time on the BMP-ELF-99 Honda CBR1000 than his two teammates, Werner Daemen continued to improve throughout free practice and qualifying and is confident of reducing the team's combined lap time with further improvements during tomorrow's final timed sessions.

THE BMP-ELF-99 riders go into tomorrow's qualifying session determined to close the 0.7s gap to today's fastest team overall, GSR Kawasaki, and to secure a place in tomorrow afternoon's Superpole shootout, where the fastest 21 teams will go head-to-head to decide the final positions for the traditional 'Le Mans style' start to Saturday's race.

As the team's fastest rider so far during testing, free practice and qualifying, Matt Lagrive will pilot the BMP-ELF-99 Honda CBR1000 in the one-lap shootout should the team qualify for tomorrow's Superpole.

Matthieu Lagrive: Fastest Lap - 1'38.110

"The lap time was good today, but it didn't come easy. We have some issues with chatter going into the turns, which doesn't help your confidence when you have to start pushing hard on the bike. The problem is apparent on race tyres, but it gets worse when you switch to qualifying tyres, which offer more rear grip. We have some ideas of how to improve things for tomorrow and, if we can eliminate the problem, then I honestly think we can go a second faster than we did today. We will try some changes to the set-up of the bike during the night practice this evening and qualifying tomorrow morning. If we can make even a small improvement then it will put us in a much stronger position, both for Superpole tomorrow and for the race on Saturday."

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal

"Mathieu and Damian did a great job to set the fastest and fourth fastest times in their respective qualifying groups today, as we've still not matched the set-up of the bike to the characteristics of the Le Mans circuit and all three riders have suffered with chatter as a result. I'm confident that we can make some improvements for tomorrow; if we can reduce the chatter even a little, all three riders will find it much easier to improve on their lap times during the final qualifying sessions. Werner has had less time on the bike than his teammates, so he's not managed to match their times today, but he's getting faster with every lap and I'm sure he will be much closer tomorrow, which will be great for our final qualifying position. We came into the season quite late compared to our rivals, but the team and the riders have done a fantastic job over the past few weeks to ensure we go into this race in a strong position. We came here aiming for a top ten finish on our EWC debut but we may have to reassess our goals after tomorrow's final qualifying and Superpole sessions. As it stands at the moment, I think top five is a realistic possibility if everything goes according to plan, but we'll see where we are and plan accordingly tomorrow afternoon. For me, personally, after 17 years away from endurance racing, it's a real pleasure to be involved in this championship once again and I'm really looking forward to Saturday's race."

-source: bmp elf 99

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