German GP: BMW Motorrad BoxerCup - Sachsenring race report

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Andy Hofmann makes it sixth different winner in six races. Andy Hofmann took his first win of the season in sunny Sachsenring for the sixth round of the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2002, held on the eve of the German Grand Prix in front of packed ...

Andy Hofmann makes it sixth different winner in six races.

Andy Hofmann took his first win of the season in sunny Sachsenring for the sixth round of the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2002, held on the eve of the German Grand Prix in front of packed spectator tribunes. Although title defender and series leader Stéphane Mertens led for most of the race, the tall Swiss powered into the lead on the ultimate lap, holding back Jürgen Fuchs and Fernando Cristobal to finally become the sixth different winner in this year's BoxerCup. He now moves up from fourth to second in the provisional standings, and only trails Mertens by one point. For sure, the next round of the BMW BoxerCup, on August 10th in Oschersleben, will prove decisive for the outcome of the championship.

"Things weren't looking so good for me in the early stages of the championship, but what can I say now. It's like a dream come true," admitted Andy Hofmann. "I now stand a real chance of winning the championship, and although you don't want to underestimate a rider like Stéphane Mertens, I can now feel a new motivation growing. It's a great feeling. For myself of course, but also for my team (Senger Racing Team) and mechanics."

Hofmann's broad grin truly contrasted with the facial expression of Mertens. After securing a front row start behind Markus Barth (pole position, 1'36''122, 1,6 seconds faster than last year) and BMW BoxerCup ambassador Randy Mamola, the Belgian rider indeed performed superbly, leading a pack of six riders for most of the first eighteen laps, and probably thought he'd done the job. But first Roberto Panichi managed to close the gap on Mertens, bringing the other riders with him before he eventually crashed. And on the last corner of the penultimate lap Spain's Fernando Cristobal made a brave move to overtake Mertens for the lead. Both riders were slowed down, allowing Andy Hofmann and VIP rider Jürgen Fuchs to move ahead.

With Thomas Hinterreiter a non-starter after he injured his ribs following a crash in the second qualifying session, with early race leader Markus Barth also physically down following his huge Assen spill, it really looked as if Mertens was holding a chance to open up a significant championship lead. "Instead of this I'm going to have to watch out for Hofmann in the two remaining races, and he definitely is a tough rider," said Mertens.

Mertens will also need to keep an eye on Fernando Cristobal. Runner-up to Mertens in last year's BMW BoxerCup, the Spaniard is back on top form after an unlucky start to the season. With two races to go (Oschersleben on August 10th during the Speedweek, and the final round in Magny-Cours at the Bol d'Or on September 14th), it looks like the outcome of the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2002 is as undecided as ever. So keep in tune...

<pre> Race classification (19 laps = 70.376 km) Pos Race n° Name Nat Team Time km/h Gap 1 5 Andy HOFMANN SWI Motorrad Senger 30'55.342 136,553 2 111 Jürgen FUCHS GER VIP 30'56.075 136,499 0,733 3 16 Fernando CRISTÓBAL SPA Interviú/Busquets 30'56.239 136,487 0,897 4 1 Stéphane MERTENS BEL BMW Belgium/Faignoy Motor 30'56.866 136,441 1,524 5 21 Sébastien LEGRELLE BEL BMW Belgium/Herpigny Motor 30'57.022 136,43 1,68 6 6 Markus BARTH GER BMW Group Niederlassungen 30'57.328 136,407 1,986 7 47 Richard COOPER GBR BMW Motorrad Great Britain 31'17.712 134,926 22,37 8 11 Brian MORRISON GBR BMW Motorrad Great Britain 31'17.909 134,912 22,567 9 31 Philippe THOMAS FRA Ducos Moto 31'22.401 134,59 27,059 10 2 Randy MAMOLA USA VIP 31'25.363 134,379 30,021 11 8 Josep Maria BUSQUETS SPA Interviú/Busquets 31'25.407 134,376 30,065 12 25 Arne TOBE GER VIP 31'27.999 134,191 32,657 13 15 Jorge MARTINEZ SPA VIP 31'28.098 134,184 32,756 14 35 Norbert REBHOLZ GER Das Boxer Team 31'32.909 133,843 37,567 15 12 Gus SCOTT GBR BMW Motorrad Great Britain 31'35.588 133,654 40,246 16 17 Javier RODRIGUEZ SPA Interviú/Busquets 31'35.834 133,637 40,492 17 48 Grégory FASTRÉ BEL BMW Belgium/A.M. Superbike 31'36.117 133,617 40,775 18 37 Steven CASAER BEL BMW Belgium/Lievens Mechanics 31'48.156 132,774 52,814 19 13 Herbert MANDELARTZ GER Hakvoort-Klipfel Racing 31'48.459 132,752 53,117 20 10 Tobias NYSTRÖM SWE BMW Sweden 31'51.471 132,543 56,129 21 27 Agustí BUSQUETS SPA Interviú/Busquets 31'56.234 132,214 1'00.892 22 3 Lex VAN DIJK NED Gilex Racing 32'07.662 131,43 1'12.320 23 59 Francois CICILIANI FRA BRH Motos 32'07.994 131,407 1'12.652 24 33 Franck RENAULT FRA Moto Technic 32'08.717 131,358 1'13.375 25 14 Jeroen OUDEMAN NED Nico Bakker 31'02.217 128,888 1 lap 26 20 Jakob HOBI SWI Hobi-Moto 31'41.950 126,196 1 lap

Not   classified
 99          Roberto PANICHI          ITA          Dream Car Team                      29'18.387  136,499  1 lap
 36          Alex BUSQUETS            SPA          Interv iú/Busquets                  18'27.798  132,405  8 laps
 22          Klaus NIES               GER          Bernhardt + Röhrich                 9'51.224  135,323  13 laps
 79          Ivan LAZZARINI           ITA          Solo Moto                           10'43.446  124,34  13 laps
 4           Tony Mac BRIDE           GBR          SPC                                 1'54.602  116,353  18 laps
 45          Dirk BUYLINCKXS          BEL          BMW Belgium/Bavarian Motorsport

Provisional standings after 6 of 8 rounds Pos Nr. Team Rider Points 1 1 BMW Belgium/Faignoy Motor Stéphane Mertens 82 2 5 Motorrad Senger Racing Team Andy Hofmann 81 3 6 BMW Group Niederlassungen Racing Team Markus Barth 69 4 21 BMW Belgium/Herpigny Motor Sébastien Legrelle 67 5 7 Team Austria-Hinterreiter Thomas Hinterreiter 66 6 47 BMW Motorrad Great Britain Richard Cooper 66 7 99 Dream Car Team Roberto Panichi 47 8 16 Interviú/Busquets Fernando Cristóbal 46 9 11 BMW Motorrad Great Britain Brian Morrison 42 10 12 BMW Motorrad Great Britain Gus Scott 35 11 79 Solo Moto Ivan Lazzarini 32 12 31 Ducos Moto Philippe Thomas 29 13 35 Das Boxer Team Norbert Rebholz 27 14 59 BRH Motos François Ciciliani 21 15 17 Interviú/Busquets Javier Rodriguez 21 16 48 BMW Belgium/A.M. Superbike Grégory Fastré 17 17 22 Bernhardt + Röhrich Klaus Nies 16 18 9 Motociclismo Antonio Calasso 15 19 85 Team Le Brasseur Matthieu Lagrive 13 20 45 BMW Belgium/Bavarian Motorsport Dirk Buylinckx 11 21 36 Interviú/Busquets Alex Busquets 11 22 8 Interviú/Busquets Josep Maria Busquets 10 23 37 BMW Belgium/Lievens Mechanics Steven Casaer 7 24 4 SPC Tony MacBride 5 25 13 Hakvoort-Klipfel Racing Herbert Mandelartz 2 26 3 Gilex Racing Lex van Dijk 1 27 27 Interviú/Busquets Agustí Busquets 1 28 14 Nico Bakker Jeroen Oudeman 0 29 20 Hobi-Moto Jakob Hobi 0 30 33 Moto Technic Franck Renault 0 31 10 BMW Sweden Tobias Nyström 0 32 91 Sport Garage Stéphane Coutelle 0

-BMW-

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