WEC: Last European race of the year ends with historic victory and a double podium for REBELLION Racing
Weds 22nd Aug 2018 – Everything seemed fine on the British circuit until an unfortunate event disturbed the first free practice. Victim of an outing of more than 200 km/h, Bruno Senna was sent to the medical center of the Silverstone circuit: the Brazilian driver suffering from a crack at the foot and was therefore unable to participate in the meeting happening the following day.
[ The whole Team REBELLION Racing wishes him a good recovery and expects him to be back to the wheel very soon! ]
An incredible job was done by the mechanics and engineers to put the REBELLION R-13 N. 1 back on the track the next morning.
On Sunday, August 19th at noon, the race kicked off with a Swiss duo competing in the name of Team REBELLION. Neel Jani and Mathias Beche began P4 and P5 but were hit by the SMP Racing N. 17 car and went off the track. Stuck behind the LMP2 and LMGTE cars, the Swiss drivers were able to start only in eleventh and twentieth positions. In less than ten minutes, Neel Jani went back P4.
Mathias Beche started his fight with Stéphane Sarrazin (SMP Racing N. 17) to go up the rankings. After 15 minutes, the two riders overtook the ByKolles Racing Team N. 4 and Dragonspeed N. 10 cars. They were back in the race for a spot on the podium.
The battle for the third position, which was synonymous with a spot on the podium, happened between both REBELLION R-13s and the SMP Racing N.17. Shortly after mid-race and several high level stints, both R-13s managed to keep their positions 3 and 4 and gradually widened the gap with their other competitors. One hour before the checkered flag, Gustavo Menezes was back on track, still P4 behind his “sister car”, driven by André Lotterer. Neel Jani was back at the wheel for a third and last stint at 5:30.
Fifteen minutes later, the rear block of the R-13 N. 1 needed to be changed, and while it got out of the pit lane, the N. 3 cars went back P3 of the general classification and crossed the finish line in the same position. After the race, the commissioner made the decision to disqualify both Toyota Hybrids because of a problem with the skid block, which allowed the REBELLION R-13 cars P1 and P2 to move up the general classification.
The last European race of the year ended up with a historic victory and a double podium for REBELLION Racing.
Alexandre Pesci, President of REBELLION Corporation
“I take my hat off to the whole Team and especially to the mechanics who were able to put the car N. 1 back on track before the race and the drivers who did an incredible job. It is thanks to this tremendous teamwork that this victory was possible. REBELLION Racing is now only 3 points from Toyota in the championship.”
Neel Jani, #1 driver
“First and second for REBELLION, cool result but we should still see the truth and keep working hard to improve our package. Unfortunately our rear tail light change 15min before the end did not cost us P3 but actually the win. I guess that is racing.”
Bruno Senna, #1 driver
“I was really flattered by the support from my team, team-mates and fans! Watched the race from start to finish and am super proud of the guys for putting the car back together and having done such a good job after the most difficult of starts. Can’t wait to be back in action in Fuji with the Rebels!”
Mathias Beche, #3 driver
“The start of the race was complicated for our car but it shows once again that we must not let anything go and that everything is always possible in endurance. I had a good start and went inside but Stephane (Sarrazin) did not see me and suddenly took the rope, I unfortunately could not avoid it. After the contact the car was damaged and became extremely difficult to drive so I tried to make the difference in the traffic to stay in the race for the podium. Then my teammates and the whole team did a great job. We ran out of luck on a safety car and lost a lap but the race was again in our favor in the last minutes, then again after scrutineering. It is a historic result for a private team to win the Tourist Trophy. I want to thank REBELLION, Oreca, Gibson and all the partners who are supporting this rebel team and I hope this victory will not be the only one.”
Thomas Laurent, #3 driver
“The weekend was pretty complicated overall. The car settings were hard to find for this track. In addition, the accident of the N. 1 prevented us from getting enough data during the free practice 1 and 2. A difficult start of the race with the contact, Mathias still managed to bring the car back to the garage. I did three stints, the last with a good fight with the SMP car! Gustavo ensured until the end and we crossed the finish line in 3rd position! Then, first victory for us in WEC overall! A great team work throughout the weekend! The engineers also did a great job for the strategy. Many thanks to REBELLION! Forza Zebra Gang!”
Next race is more than 9000 km away, on October 14, for the 6 Hours of Fuji!
6 Hours of Silverstone – General classification
REBELLION Racing #3 (1:41.579) – T. Laurent, M. Beche, G. Menezes
REBELLION Racing #1 (1:42.044) – A. Lotterer, N. Jani
SMP Racing #17 (1:42.203) – S. Sarrazin, E. Orudzhev, M. Isaakyan
FIA WEC 2018 classification – LMP1 category
Toyota Gazoo Racing – 65 pts
REBELLION Racing – 63 pts
SMP Racing – 25 pts
Bykolles Racing Team – 12 pts
CEFC TRSM Racing – 1 pt
Dragonspeed – 0,5 pt