This first meeting of the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2019 was difficult for the Team REBELLION Racing with an abandon for the R-13 N. 1 car and a podium lost by the N. 3 crew one hour from the checkered flag.
It was 4:00 pm on the East Coast when the 1,000 Miles of Sebring started under a sweltering heat. Thomas Laurent and Bruno Senna were the first to start on the track.
From the first laps, the REBELLION R-13 N. 1 car, started P6, was forced to return to the stand for a gearshift problem. The car came out 5 laps late on the leaders of the LMP1 category. It was then a new goal which began for the Brazilian driver since the end of the general classification. Mathias Beche subsequently achieved the best non-hybrids lap time of race (1:43.705). The hours go by, the drivers follow each other and the car N. 1 is raised to the eighth position of the general classification at only two laps of the LMP1 when two consecutive runway exits occurred in the fourth hour of the race. The car had to be taken to the garage for repairs and will not come back because of too much damage caused by the last shock.
For its part, the R-13 N. 3 car, started P3 after the downgrading of a competitor, was fighting with the SMP Racing driven by Stéphane Sarrazin and Vitaly Petrov. The battle for the third position on the podium was played from the outset. The car managed to break away from its competitors and to show two laps ahead of SMP Racing N. 11. After the successive abandonments of the SMP Racing N. 17, the sister car N. 1 and the Dragonspeed car, there were only two contenders for a single place on the podium. Shortly before the 7th hour of racing, a pit stop held the R-13 car at a standstill for long minutes, seeing the coveted third place in the overall standings gradually fade away. The car came out P4. The race ended under safety car after the exit of track of a LMP2 proto under a heavy rain. Positions have not changed anymore.
This seventh race of the FIA WEC Super Season was not easy at all for the Swiss team even if it cars got a good pace on track. REBELLION Racing keeps its second position overall with a 27-point lead over SMP Racing. Next FIA WEC meeting on May 4th for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps!
Thomas Laurent, N. 3 driver
“Everything was fine until a technical problem was detected on our car. We were then P3 with 2 laps ahead. But we had to stop several times to try to finish the race. We finished P3 in LMP1 and 7th overall behind LMP2. We could finish on the podium but unfortunately the fate was different.”
Nathanaël Berthon, N. 3 driver
“A first race with a podium lost in the last hour… It’s a pity because the whole team has worked hard for this result. Mechanical issues are part of motorsport… For me, the motto was not to make mistakes this weekend and bring the car without any problem and I did it. The pace is coming gradually and I’m starting to feel better at the wheel of the car but I have to raise the pace for the next race. I want to congratulate my teammates Tom and Gus who did an exceptional job! We must now focus on the next race! Thanks to the whole team.”
Neel Jani, N. 1 driver
“Not the weekend we were hoping for! We had the pace to make it to the podium but after 10min our race was heavily compromised after we had a gearshift issue that occured once more later in the race. then unfortunately mathias had a crash with another car that ended our race! reliability was our strenght at the beginning of the season but unfortunately Sebring showed us, that we have some work ahead of us!”
Bruno Senna, N. 1 driver
“Today really was a day to forget, for us in the REBELLION #1. We had issues early in the race and it became a bit of a reliability test for us, ahead of Le Mans. Unfortunately the race ended early with an incident and we missed out on points, but we’ll keep pushing and improving for Le Mans.”
Alexandre Pesci, President and Owner of REBELLION Racing
“This weekend is disappointing. After a bad start due to technical problems and human errors, we had the deception at the checkered flag as a result of electronic problems again not allowing us to achieve the performance expected at Sebring. Everyone will keep on working to come back even stronger at Spa.”
Source. Rebellion Racing