Karel Hanika, Marvin Fritz and Niccoló Canepa return to action this weekend as the FIM Endurance World Championship returns to Portugal and the Circuito do Estoril on the Portuguese Riviera.
The official Yamaha EWC team are hungrier than ever following the disappointing end to their Le Mans 24 Hours last month. And, returning to a venue where they claimed pole position and the victory in 2020, the squad are quietly confident they can once again run at the front.
Located near Lisbon, Portugal, Estoril is one of the most challenging circuits on the EWC calendar. The venue opened in 1972 and has held World Championship motorsport events such as Formula One and, from 2000, MotoGP. Before returning to the calendar in 2020, EWC’s visits to the Estoril circuit came in 1987 for the Estoril 1000km and again in 2000 for the 8 Hours of Estoril.
This weekend’s 12-hour event will take place on 2.5-miles of twisting and undulating asphalt with a mixture of high and low-speed corners and quick changes of direction, which will put both rider and machine to the ultimate test. Not only do the riders have to take on the Estoril circuit, but the temperatures are expected to be a lot higher than September's race last season, which will add another factor to an already demanding race.
YART head into the second round of the series tenth in the standings, 50 points adrift from SERT who lead the way, but with a maximum of 45 points on offer, the team know they have to give it everything this weekend.
Following a solid seventh place in Le Mans, the VRD IGOL Expériences Yamaha running Florian Marino, Florian Alt, and Nicolás Terol will look to further add to the 32 points secured in France, which leaves them fifth in the standings.
The Wojcik Racing Team will also be aiming to bounce back from a difficult season opener. The Polish team welcomes back Gino Rea, who missed Le Mans due to travel restrictions. The British Superbike rider will line up alongside Sheridan Morais and Christoffer Bergman.
The 12 Hours of Estoril commences with the first practice on Thursday 15th at 11am local time before qualifying action at 16:00. Riders will also enjoy an evening practice starting on Thursday at 19:30. The second batch of qualifying sessions commences on Friday at 09:00 local time before race action gets underway at 9am on Saturday, July 17th.