Red Hot Race Produces Yet Another Winner Under blazing hot sunshine at the Sachsenring today, yet another winner in the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2004 came to the fore with Italian Roberto Panichi riding the wheels off his BMW R 1100 S to steal the...
Red Hot Race Produces Yet Another Winner
Under blazing hot sunshine at the Sachsenring today, yet another winner in the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2004 came to the fore with Italian Roberto Panichi riding the wheels off his BMW R 1100 S to steal the victory in the last half of a lap, putting himself back in with a chance of overhauling title leader Thomas Hinterreiter in the remaining three races. Leader for over half the race, Austrian Hinterreiter, was centimetres away from crashing in tremendous effort to stay ahead of the closing Panichi on the last lap, but had no reply over the hills and blind crests of the spectacular 3.6km German MotoGP venue. Hinterreiter, second today, has moved ahead in the title chase to have a lead of 27 points and `more-than-a-win', but the battle for second is covered by just three points and three riders. It's going to be a pivotal race at Donington Park (GB) next Sunday (July 25th) for the eventual winner of a brand new BMW M3 Coupe.
Overjoyed Panichi sprayed the winner's champagne in front of a sell out German crowd, even he thought it was a race lost at one point. "I started the first lap trying to lead them and get ahead by a good margin but it didn't happen. Stephane Mertens and Thomas were all going for it too. The pace was just so fast that we were right on the limit for grip around here on such a hot day. Thomas went ahead but I managed to reel him back in on the penultimate lap and then pass him with four corners to go. It's just fantastic to back on the top step!" Said the Dream Car Team rider.
The first few laps were just as Pole sitter Panichi said; Manic. The lead was changing every lap between the leading three as they managed to romp ahead by some 6 seconds over fourth placed Markus Barth, VIP rider Jurgen Fuchs and the flying Gwen Giabbani who started from the front row for only the second time. Hinterreiter maybe thought he had the win in the bag but he rushed into the last few corners so fast that he dragged the cylinder head along the ground, lifting the front wheel off the asphalt, and the speeding Panichi through. Mertens was in the same kind of trouble trying to hold on to the rapid Italian. "Panichi was very aggressive when he came past me. I just couldn't quite hold on to him." Said the former World Endurance champion.
Randy Mamola proved that the pace was even too hot for the 13 time 500cc GP winner when he slid out on lap 4. "It's the first time I've ridden since Brno last year and then I fall at one of the slowest corners of the entire championship, but hey the pace of those guys at the front was just electric!" said Mamola. "I got back on the bike afterwards and had such fun playing to the massive crowd here. I think my cooling down lap waving at them and laughing with them was one of the longest ever...."
VIP rider Jurgen Fuchs finished 4th after a brilliant race long battle with fellow German Markus Barth who came home 5th. Daytona winner Brian Parriott got caught up with the pack early on, having a lonely race to cross the line 6th. Sebastien Legrelle then headed the next pack home with just turned 19 years old local rider, Arne Tode an excellent 8th in his first ever ride in a BMW BoxerCup race. He may well be a star for the future.... Celebrities on hand at the Sachsenring were former Le Mans 24 hours winner and this year's Nürburgring 24 hours winner Hans Stück who watched and loved every minute of the race whilst being alongside Prinz Leopold von Bayern on the pit wall.
The BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2004 moves on to the British round at Donington Park next weekend where yet another sell out crowd will be treated BMWs as the first race of the day on Sunday just before the MotoGP action unfolds.