F.C.C. TSR Honda France have wrapped up the 2019/2020 FIM Endurance World Championship in third place after the grand finale took place at Estoril yesterday (Saturday 26 September), where Freddy Foray, Mike Di Meglio and Josh Hook finished second aboard the all-new Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP.
Coming into the final round F.C.C. TSR Honda France were sitting second in the overall standings after their win last time out at Le Mans moved them 40 points behind series leaders SERT, but it was also mathematically possible for eight other teams to be in contention of the 2019/2020 EWC title.
The 12 Hours of Estoril was a new challenge for all endurance teams, historically the Suzuka 8 Hours hosts the season finale in July, but due to COVID-19 the season was reshuffled after some event cancellations, which saw the 24 Heures Motos (Le Mans) much later in the year and Estoril as the final race. Even at a new circuit F.C.C. TSR Honda France were looking strong from the first practices and hungry for the title fight.
Di Meglio started the 12-hour race for the team in second place after a strong qualifying session and once the flag had dropped the opening laps at the 4,182km circuit were frantic, with positions changing as the tyres warmed up to the cool morning temperature. At the first pit stop, Hook took over from Di Meglio and F.C.C. TSR Honda France were sixth.
At the end of the eight-hour mark all eyes were on the championship as SERT were down in fourth and they needed to stay in the top-ten to still be in with a chance of taking the title. Meanwhile, Honda’s endurance specialists were putting pressure on race leaders YART, maintaining second place and often taking back the lead thanks to Honda’s pit stops strategy. As a result of their good performance F.C.C. TSR Honda France took nine bonus points at the end of the eighth hour, boosting their championship ranking.
Around 11 hours and 20 minutes in to the race, F.C.C. TSR Honda France made their final pit stop, where they were sitting second and roughly one-minute and 10s behind YART, who needed to have a final ‘splash and dash’ stop. Coming down to the final minutes YART made their stop and managed to stay seconds ahead of the chasing Fireblade, where Di Meglio brought the team home in second place, 24 seconds from the win, having completed 421 laps.
Finishing the 2019/2020 FIM Endurance World Championship season in third place (24 points behind winners SERT), F.C.C. TSR Honda France made a stunning comeback from the 8 Hours of Sepang last December where they were 12th in the overall standings. Dominating the 24 Heures Motos they led from start to finish and were promoted in the standings to second place as they arrived at Estoril.
Dates for next year’s FIM Endurance World Championship are yet to be announced but F.C.C. TSR Honda France will be looking to start where they finished after showing the potential of the all-new 2020 Fireblade, where in its debut EWC race it took the win at Le Mans and finished this weekend’s 12-hour on the podium in second place.