2021 – Bol d’Or – ERC Endurance Ducati forced to retire early whilst fighting for podium at the Bol d’Or
Le Castellet, France. ERC Endurance Ducati delivered a strong showing at the 84th Bol d’Or at the 24 hours of Le Castellet with its riders Mathieu Gines (FRA), Lorenzo Zanetti (ITA) and Etienne Masson (FRA) but was not rewarded for the fight in the end. A chaotic race with rain during the first night period saw the Panigale V4R mounted EWC squad delivering a faultless race until Gines had a crash at the end of the 1.8 kilometres long Mistral straight shortly before the halftime of the course. Unfortunately, the bike was irreparable on site.
Nevertheless it was a strong weekend for the ProKasro ERC Endurance Ducati at the Paul Ricard Circuit in southern France. Gines, Zanetti and Masson had qualified in seventh spot by a average best lap time of a 1:54.452 mins. And whilst the opponents had to go a slower pace during the race, the EWC-spec Ducati Pangiale V4R riders could hold on to the qualifying pace by posting times between 1:54 and 1:56 constantly, meaning they were fighting for podium spots shortly after the race had started already.
There were some further eight World Championship points for ERC Endurance Ducati after eight hours of racing when laying third in the ranking. But it wasn’t to be as shortly after midnight the ProKasro Ducati and the squad mounted with Gines, Zanetti and Masson had to retire early. Gines had a crash of no fault of his own at the end of the 1.8 kilometres long Mistral straight and the bike was so heavily damaged that it could not be repaired on site in the pits. Gines luckily escaped unhurt.
Prior to the final round of the 2021 FIM Endurance World Championship season with the 8 hours of Most (Czech republic), ERC Endurance Ducati has collected 57 points holding on to eights in the overall ranking, only some less than 30 points shy of the Top-5.
“First of all I want to apologize to my team mates and the whole team for this crash, even though it was not my fault. But still it is a big pitty as we had all the incidents to be successful here and to make it onto the podium. The team had done hard working during the last races and in the build up to this one and every time we come back some more small issues are solved and gone. For sure our EWC spec Ducati Panigale V4R has arrived in the world elite of Endurance racing and we are all keen to show that again at Most.”
“It is a shame we could not make the finish line in my first 24 hours race but until we had to retire we were showing a real strong race. All week long we had prepared the race and now we were able to transform our qualifying pace to the race itself – to where it mattered. Our Ducati Panigale V4R was so easy to ride and a perfect Endurance bike which we showed in fighting for the podium for the whole time we were in the race. Unfortunately in the end it wasn’t to be and we had to retire shortly before the eleventh hour. Next time it will be better!”
“We are looking back at this 84th Bol d’Or with mixed emotions. We surely did prove in the race we were amongst the fastest of the field and we did fight for the podium. Unfortunately we had to retire after a crash, but looking at how many teams did not finish this time also shows how extreme high the level is. It is a pity but we take the positives to Most and will be in full attack mode there again.”