Half-Rouen!

Photos Compliments of Gregoire Auger

Race winner Tech Motor Racing Matmut #16 and Class 2 champion Team Dailly Inshore Passion #36.

24 “Half-Hours” of Rouen is in books. The race concluded 4 p.m. Rouen, France time Sunday, May 1. Mercury dominated the 48th annual event, winning overall, as well as Class 3 and Class 2. (See Same Planet, Another 24 Hours) for class designations. Mercury powered boats swept the top 12 positions and powered 22 out of 28 competitors.

Rouen 2011 was historic in that it was the first time the race was not started with the intention of running a continuous 24 hours. Race officials changed the format this year, running the race for a total of 12 hours over two days to avoid racing overnight. The change was made in response to a tragic accident that took place last year. This year, racing started 2 p.m. local time Saturday, April 30 and ran until 8:00 p.m. Racing convened at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 1, with a 4 p.m. finish.

I’ve written Rouen race results for over twenty years – including on-site, real-time web updates with Fred Kiekhaefer and associates on three occasions. I’m so used to the 24 hour format that I’m struggling with the change. My Facebook buddies Lars and Tony will be proud of me for finally getting the two day, six hour per day format down correctly :-).

Mercury S3000 race outboard-powered Tech Motor Racing Matmut #16.

Tech Motor Racing Matmut #16, a Mercury S3000 race outboard-powered Moore hull, won the race overall and Class 3 competition. Drivers Marc Roig, Jean Vital Deguisne and Ced Deguisne completed 294 laps, 10 laps ahead of their nearest competitor Team Vauban Humanis #8, to capture the checkered flag.  Force Inshore #18, and Drakkar Inshore #2 rounded out the top four overall. Mercury S3000 race outboards powered the top seven out of eight places in Class 3 competition. A low-emissions Evinrude E-Tec outboard powered CMN to a last place finish in Class 3 (and behind five, low-e, Mercury OptiMax 200XS’s from Class 2).

OptiMax Rules Class 2

OptiMax 200XS SST race outboard powered Team Dailly Inshore Passion won Class 2 and placed fifth overall.

Low-emissions Mercury OptiMax 200XS SST race outboards powered four of the top five finishers in Class 2 competition. OptiMax 200XS SST powered Team Dailly Inshore Passion #36, a Moore hull driven by Al Dailly, Quent Dailly and Stephane Lemoine, completed 248 laps to win Class 2 competition and place fifth overall. OptiMax200XS SST outboard power provided an exciting race for second place. Defending Class 2 champion Asso Navi Kart #32 and Team Dailly Inshore Passion #35 both completed 247 laps. Navi Kart #32 earned their repeat Class 2 victory on time – crossing the finish line  just over a minute ahead of Team Dailly. A Mercury SST 120 race-outboard powered Team Prvilege #25 to a fourth place  finish with 236 laps completed. OptiMax 200XS SST race outboard powered Team Neptune Inshore #34 completed 223 laps to round out the top five in Class 2 competition.

Class 1 Threat

The Mercury 60 EFI FormulaRace four stroke powers Team Vallee de Seine #77 to a Class 1 podium finish.

Historically, Yamaha wins Class 1 racing because their 2-stroke engines are closest in spec to the class 850 CC maximum displacement rule — and the teams race hard.  Team Vallee de Seine #77 drivers Oli Letellier, Jer Amedee and Thomas Cleret completed 154 laps in their Mercury 60 EFI FormulaRace outboard powered hull, 13 laps behind Class 1 winner Team Privilege #65.  The four stroke Mercury has been moving up in position over the years; this year marks the first time the engine has earned a 2nd place podium finish. See the official 24 Hours of Rouen website (they still call it “24 hours”) for complete results.

I totally understand Rouen race officials’  position in regards to the revised 12-hour format: Safety is first and foremost. I just hope the affected parties can come together with a solution — perhaps stadium lighting along the course and running under a caution flag when the merchant ships move through — to bring the race back to its former glory. The 50th anniversary is coming up fast. It would be a shame to celebrate the race’s golden anniversary over two days – in a shortened format. I suggest the city of Rouen and race officials begin work now to bring this iconic event back to its historic form.

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