ERC Endurance has successfully debuted its Ducati Panigale V4 at the 8 hours of Sepang in Malaysia, taking a Top-10 finish with riders Ondrej Jezek (CZE), Randy de Puniet (FRA) and Louis Rossi (FRA). In unpronounceable weather conditions, the team faced a shortened race due to heavy rain falls at the Sepang International Circuit. At the end, Jezek, de Puniet and Rossi crossed the finish line in tenth position, a Endurance-all-time-best on Ducati.
The ERC Endurance team’s decision to swap machinery to Ducati was made shortly before the Sepang outing, second round of the 2019/2020 FIM Endurance World Championship. The team and riders had their first roll out on Wednesday morning on the brand new Ducati Panigale V4 – and immediately made progress, taking the first successes along the way to find the base set up.
At this trip to Sepang, there were reasons to cheer about aplenty, as the team qualified in seventh position overall entering the Top-10 Time-Trial Superpole session on Thursday night.
Randy de Puniet went on to fight for Pole Position, confirming the team’s seventh position in the shoot out which was considered a big success after the race preparations got hampered by rain on Wednesday, leaving the team with even less track time.
The race itself was held in heavy rainy conditions so it took three attempts to finally start behind the safety car, reducing the race time to just two and a half hours.
Jezek, De Puniet and Rossi made a superb job by judging the conditions right, not making any mistakes and steadily made their way back up the field after a cautious first phase of the race. When many other teams crashed out, ERC Endurance stayed on the bike, having the one and only target: Finishing the first edition of the “Races of Malaysia”.
In the end the team finished in tenth position, taking twelve points for the 2019/2020 FIM Endurance World Championship.
“What a race, what a spectacular first weekend for our ERC Endurance squad and on the new Ducati Panigale! We all knew this weekend would be challenging but also more than interesting and exciting. It is a great pleasure to be part of this team and project. The race itself was a strange one and as we saw at many other teams it was easy to make mistakes, so hats off to everyone at ERC Endurance Ducati and my team mates to make it safe and stay upright. We have a good base now already and are looking forward to Le Mans in April.”
Randy de Puniet:
“I am happy on how this weekend and race went. It was difficult out there so we all opted to play it defensively-minded as there was a lot more to lose than to gain. We need more kilometres on the Ducati Panigale in the dry so there was no reason to do anything silly in the wet. To be in the Top-10 at the end is like a victory for this very young and exciting project.”
“Another strange and complicated race, but we took a tenth and with that the best ever finish of a Ducati in the FIM Endurance World Championship. What an amazing week and exciting project! I am very happy and proud to be part of it and what we achieved this weekend.”
Uwe Reinhardt – Team Owner:
“Top-10 in our first race on the Ducati – this is something a few days ago we could only had dreamed of! What a perfect way to start this exciting new challenge and project. Ondrej, Randy and Louis did a superb job on track, especially considering those tricky conditions. But also, the Qualifying and dry sessions were a success considering how new this project is and we entered the Top-10 Time Trial to start the race from seventh position. All in all, we can be happy about how the whole weekend went. The base is made and we are now looking to proceed further at Le Mans. I want to thank my whole team, Ducati, BARNI racing and everyone involved!”