In front of 90,000 spectators, Belgian Sebastian Legrelle rode brilliantly today around the historic Assen racetrack to take his maiden victory in the 2003 BMW BoxerCup. In a race that was split into two parts due to rain, 6 laps were held ...
In front of 90,000 spectators, Belgian Sebastian Legrelle rode brilliantly today around the historic Assen racetrack to take his maiden victory in the 2003 BMW BoxerCup. In a race that was split into two parts due to rain, 6 laps were held in perfectly dry conditions and then a further 3 in treacherously wet conditions with the results calculated on aggregate. The non score of 2002 BMW BoxerCup winner Roberto Panichi (I) means that the championship has changed dramatically over the past two races with Andy Hofmann (CH) leading by just 4 points from today's winner, Legrelle.
The race was characteristically exciting with three changes of lead on the very first lap, with a leading pack of four soon dominating the race. They were Markus Barth (D), Hofmann, Panichi and Legrelle. However, British youngster Barry Burrell bridged an enormous gap to catch them, soon cutting through to lead at the end of the 7th lap on the Team Great Britain machine. Unfortunately the gods were against him as it began to rain at the fastest part of the race track where the R 1100S machines were flat out in 6th gear and race officials had no option but to stop the race and to take the results back to the end of lap 6. This still left three laps to complete in wet conditions after wet Metzeler tyres replaced dry ones.
With only a short amount of time available to replace wheels in the pit lane, some riders were caught in the pit lane, meaning they would have to start dead last. Even more drama unfolded as Rosana Scoleri (I) had a brake problem and hit the back of Oulton Park winner Richard Cooper as they lined up at the end of the pit lane. Both machines were damaged sufficiently for them unable to continue."I had bad luck today, but I now look forward to Spa-Francorchamps next weekend where I won last year," said the Englishman. Daytona and Mugello winner Panichi didn't restart either because a mix up with brake discs between the dry and wet wheels meant he didn't even finish the first lap of the dash to the flag.
Fernando Cristobal (E) won the wet second part of the race, but on aggregate finished 4th overall for his Auto Sports Busquets squad as winner Legrelle celebrated with his team. "Sebastian is like a red wine in that he is getting better with age, but he is very motivated after today as he is only 4 points behind Andy Hofmann, the BoxerCup leader," said Gaeten Hepigny the Team Manager for the BMW Motorrad Belgium/Herpig squad.