Shorter than expected
Francorchamps, Belgique, June 7th 2022 - For the Kawasaki SRC team, the return of the World Endurance Championship to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit was not a great success. Gilles Stafler's team packed up before the third hour of racing.
Fifth on the grid, Florian Marino, Etienne Masson and Randy de Puniet had high hopes when they started what should have been 24 hours of racing at the sumptuous Spa-Francorchamps circuit. “We had improved the performance of the bike compared to Le Mans," commented Gilles Stafler. “We were in the running for a podium finish.” Unfortunately, at the end of the first stint, Florian Marino had a collision with a back marker and could not avoid a crash. By the time the bike was brought back to the pits, the Kawasaki SRC team had dropped way down the order. Etienne Masson took the bike back out on the track but crashed as he made his way up through the field.
Then Randy de Puniet, victim of a small technical problem, went down after the number 11 Kawasaki had to make another stop in the pits. At that point Gilles Stafler decided not to take any more risks and pull out before the end of the third hour of the race. The French team had by then covered only 57 laps. “We had doubts about the overall reliability of the bike and I didn't want to take any risks," admitted the Kawasaki SRC team manager. “There was a suspicion of an oil leak and it was out of the question to put either our riders or other competitors at risk. Spa is a very fast circuit where a crash can have terrible consequences. Out of respect for our opponents, I preferred to announce our withdrawal.”