Cristobal wins, Mertens clinches second consecutive title. The eighth and final round of the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2002 took place on September 14th in Magny-Cours on the occasion of the 66th Bol d'Or. Held in exceptionally sunny and warm...
Cristobal wins, Mertens clinches second consecutive title.
The eighth and final round of the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2002 took place on September 14th in Magny-Cours on the occasion of the 66th Bol d'Or. Held in exceptionally sunny and warm weather conditions, the race was won by Spain's Fernando Cristobal after a 16-lap battle with Matthieu Lagrive and Thomas Hinterreiter, who finished in that order, only separated by the narrowest of margins : 3 thousandths of a second ! Looking to conquer his second conse cutive BMW BoxerCup title, Belgium's Stéphane Mertens completed the first lap in the lead, and later protected his 21-point championship advantage when the leading pack of five riders began an incredible final scrap.
"I'm so happy to end the championship like this," said Fernando Cristobal after fighting his way back from fifth on lap one, clinching the fastest lap halfway through the race, and finally fending off both Thomas Hinterreiter and Matthieu Lagrive in the penultimate lap. "I was in the lead then, and a backmarker helped me open up a half second gap which I was able to keep until the chequered flag. It's a great feeling at last, because the start of the season was really tough on me, with two DNFs in Donington and Mugello."
Cristobal's victory in Magny-Cours wrapped up an incredible record in this year's BMW BoxerCup, with seven different winners out of eight races, from seven different nationalities. "We couldn't have dreamed for a more cosmopolitan outcome to the series, " admits Berthold Hauser, BMW Motorrad's Motorsport manager. "This season really has been fantastic, with a bunch of very fast riders. The championship was extremely close until the very last race and I'm glad to announce that the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup will be reconducted next year and extended to nine races."
After clinching the constructors Endurance world championship for Zongshen, Stéphane Mertens completed a very successful season by winning his second back to back BMW BoxerCup title. The Belgian rider needed only to finish eleventh in Magny-Cours, and finally crossed the finishing line in sixth position. "The race was a little frustrating today, and I couldn't help thinking about the championship. Now I'm so happy it's over. I'm forty three years old, and to achieve both my sporting goals this season is exceptional. Just like the M Coupé I can't wait to test back home in Belgium !"
Runner-up in the championship and newcomer to the BoxerCup, Austria's Thomas Hinterreiter rounded up a very impressive season, winning the 2nd prize BMW GS 1150 Adventure. "My biggest mistake was the crash during qualifying in Sachsenring, where I broke three ribs and was unable to race. Otherwise, who knows what would have happened..."
Third again in the overall standings as in 2001, Andy Hofmann recovered from three DNFs with some fine races. In Magny-Cours he managed to come home 7th despite an extremely painful broken finger. "It was hell out there for me. I had some pain killers injected yesterday and this morning my hand was completely numb. But I wouldn't let go and in the end I'm lucky to grab third place overall when Markus Barth failed to score any points today."