By Giles Spencer
South London rider, Gino Rea, took a break from British Superbike duties to finished an impressive 7th place at the FIM Endurance World Championship 24hr race at Le Mans at the weekend.
Tooting born Rea set the fastest overall time in first qualifying with his Wojcik Racing Team eventually qualifying 9th on the average times from all three team riders.
After a gruelling 24 hours and 793 laps the team crossed the line in 7th place, only one lap behind 6th.
The result sees the team in 6th place in the championship, 10 points behind 5th but only a further 8 points to 2nd place.
“It was a crazy 24hrs of racing, as Le Mans always but it made it a bit hectic with the weather.” said Rea.
“The race started out dry and we were going pretty well. We had a couple of niggly issues with the bike but nevertheless, we were still top 7-8 in the dry, just behind the factory teams.
“We were doing the most we could, then it rained and that made it a bit difficult because our bike really wasn’t working too well in the rain and I had to do a double stint so that was pretty tiring. Also, the safety car came out and it got really really cold, so that was hard to do.
“From then onwards, as the track started to dry, it went back to normal and we settled in between 9-12th the whole way and as it dried we made a lot of progress, pushed forward and I managed to get us into 8th.
“In my last stint we had a little bit of rain which was a bit scary as I was on slicks but then the rain stopped and I managed to pick off another position at the end.
“We were happy to finish top 8-10, so to get 7th I think is a great achievement for our team, we’re still relatively new to this championship and we won the Dunlop Independent Trophy, so that’s nice to be one of the top independent teams out there.
“I think we had to be satisfied with 7th considering the circumstances and the few issues we had but as always Le Mans is eventful and to make it to the finish is an achievement in itself.”
The next round of the championship is the 12hrs of Estoril in Portugal on the 23-26th September.
Rea will be back in action in the British Superbikes this weekend (4-6th September) at Silverstone, Northamptonshire.
Photos by Mateusz Jagielski
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