This just in from FIM:
SRC Kawasaki chalks up its 4th win at Le Mans and Suzuki Endurance Racing Team takes its 13th World title
SRC Kawasaki has added one more to its streak of three wins at the Le Mans 24 Hours. This fourth success for Gilles Stafler's team is also the fourth for one of its crew members, Gregory Leblanc. Despite a minor crash for Fabien Forêt towards the end of Saturday afternoon, the factory Kawasaki with Nicolas Salchaud as third man quickly made its way back into the leading trio and went on to benefit from the mechanical problems that dogged BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent. The BMW ridden by Sébastien Gimbert, Sylvain Barrier and Josh Waters was in the lead for nine hours before a broken gearbox forced it out of the race during the night.
The amazing Suzuki of R2CL took the second spot on the podium. This much fancied private machine with Britain's Guy Martin and French riders Gwen Giabbani and Dylan Buisson on board pulled out a perfect race, totally undaunted by the factory teams. The R2CL finished 7 laps behind the SRC Kawasaki but managed to hold off the Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube. After night-time crashes that affected the gearbox, David Checa, Kenny Foray and Matthieu Lagrive clawed their way back on to the podium, finishing third, two laps behind the R2CL.
After a fine performance, especially in the closing stages, Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers on a Kawasaki took a richly deserved fourth place with Stéphane Molinier, Cédric Tangre and David Brière. At the finish, they just saw off the first of the Superstock machines, Team Motors Events April Moto. On this Suzuki, Gregory Fastré, Michael Savary and Claude Lucas won the Superstock 2013 FIM Endurance World Cup after the BMW of Penz13.com Franks Autowelt Racing Team, top of the Superstock leader board going into Le Mans, was forced to drop out with mechanical problems. Despite a crash that put them temporarily outside the top 40, Junior Team LMS Suzuki and its riders Baptiste Guittet, Etienne Masson and Guillaume Dietrich went all out to grab 6th place and finish as Superstock runners up. Third in the Superstock race, Team Louit Moto 33 deserves no less credit as it also had to chase its way back into contention after being involved in a group crash early in the race.
Also in the top 10 are the Yamaha of Maco Racing with a 7th place that is a season's best, Honda National Motos, forced out of 5th place by gearbox problems, and the Japanese crew of SynergieForce Trickstar with a fine 9th place for their début appearance at Le Mans.
This 36th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours was an eventful one for the top teams from word go with two successive crashes for David Checa on the Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube and one for Vincent Philippe on the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team and finally a crash for de Fabien Forêt on the SRC Kawasaki at the end of the afternoon. The only factory teams to avoid crashing, BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent, Monster Energy Yamaha YART and Honda TT Legends found themselves in first, second and third 5 hours into the race. An impressive group crash just short of the Musée bend put an end to the podium ambitions of Honda TT Legends. It also forced out the Kawasaki 3D Endurance Moto Center, the Suzuki of MCS Racing Ipone and the Kawasaki of Team Flembbo Leader Team. BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent and Monster Energy Yamaha YART succumbed to mechanical problems and dropped out during the night.
The Suzuki Endurance Racing Team also had a disappointing race. The crash was followed by a series of mechanical problems and an overheating engine. Dominique Méliand's team spent almost an hour and a quarter changing a cylinder head seal and repairing the crankcase. Vincent Philippe, Julien Da Costa and Alex Cudlin then went back into the fray in turn some 70 laps behind the leaders. The Suzuki Endurance Racing Team finished 26th overall but 12th in EWC, taking its 13th FIM Endurance World Championship title ahead of Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube and SRC Kawasaki.
What they said...
Gregory Leblanc, rider with SRC Kawasaki
"We managed to put pressure on the Suzuki and they made a mistake but Fabien Forêt was dragged into a crash by another rider and we lost 4 laps. But we only do the Bol d'Or and Le Mans and we are always in it to win. We gave it all we had."
Gwen Giabbani, rider with Suzuki R2CL
"It was a gamble to come back with the R2CL after riding a factory bike, the team R2CL made a convincing case for their project and the gamble paid off!"
Raphael Chaussé, team manager of R2CL
"We got a great helping hand from Suzuki when they let us recruit Guy Martin, who immediately found his place in the team."
Mathieu Lagrive, rider with Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube
"I've never had so many problems in a race. I have been 3rd and five times runner up at the Le Mans 24 Hours. Maybe I'll win it one day!"
David Checa, rider with Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube
"It's the first time I've crashed twice in three laps! I don't understand what happened! The crashes only cost us three laps but the consequences were much more of a problem."
Vincent Philippe, rider with Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, 2013 FIM Endurance World Champion Champion "I made a mistake braking but that little crash had enormous consequences: a cracked crankcase, a radiator leak, an overheating motor and a broken cylinder head seal. The mechanics went at it hammer and tongs for over an hour. We had to keep believing but it's hard to ride without the fight out front."
Dominique Méliand, team manager of Suzuki Endurance Racing Team
"We are disappointed because I wanted it all. I wanted to win the title and the race! I started out in endurance in 1969 and I have learned that you must never give up. The crew were just great. When I said we would have to take the engine out to fix a cylinder head seal, no one said a thing even though we weren't sure it would work. But it held for over 20 hours!"