REBELLION Racing dreamt of reaching the podium in LMP1 at the 24H of Le Mans, Michel Vaillant was facing a Porsche in the latest "RÉBELLION" album :
Vaillante REBELLION got to the general podium alongside a Porsche LMP1 for these 85th 24 Hours of Le Mans!
Team Manager, Bart Hayden:
" We are all amazed to be able to stand on the overall podium at Le Mans and to claim second place in the LMP2 category. The race was hard and full of emotion. For much or the first 12 hours we were in first and second in LMP2 and we dared to hope that it would still be that way at the end. Unfortunately a broken 4th gear spoilt the race for car #31, but once a replacement was fitted, we returned to the race to take the chequered flag. It is a race that we will remember for a long time. "
Brazilian drivers Bruno Senna and Nelson Piquet Jr were kicking off the first relays at 3 pm. As the race had barely started, a driving mistake by G-Drive Racing’s Oreca 07 in the first round allowed the two Vaillante REBELLIONs to lead the LMP2 category. After a one-hour race, #13 and #31 placed first in that category and kept their positions for the 12 first hours.
Several technical problems forced #31 to stop to have the front of the car replaced and the whole car checked. That break eventually prevented #31 from keeping the lead of the race as it fell to the 4th position at the stands’ exits, with nearly one full lap’s gap with Vaillante REBELLION #13’s leading duo (Piquet Jr, Beche, Heinemeier Hansson) and Jacky Chan DC #38 (Tung, Laurent, Jarvis).
At the 16th hour, #38 benefited from the chaos among LMP1s to grab the first spot in general. Meanwhile, #13 still was slightly behind during the first for a long period but #38’s steadiness eventually prevented our team from reaching the top spot. Less than 3 hours before Oreca #13’s arrival with Mathias Beche was replaced by Nelson Piquet Jr - a change in drivers during which the car fell to the 4th position, overtaken by the Alpine #35.
The night was a raging battle for the two first spots, but a problem with the gearbox froze #31 for a long time and had it eventually fall in positions then re-start at P16. The drivers of #31 delivered a spectacular performance and fought until the very end during these 24H of Le Mans, as they crossed the finished line with everyone’s recognition.
The checkered flag is agitated, that's it! The crew #13 is P2 in the LMP2 classification and P3 in the scratch! Michel Vaillant will have lived an incredible adventure at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2017 !
Mathias Beche, #13 driver:
" What a race! I am so happy to have been able to reward the project of a man, the work of a whole team, the beautiful association between REBELLION and Vaillante. Le Mans is the unmissable event of the year and we wanted to make it happen. The welcome from the beginning of the week in Le Mans was incredible and the fans were present. Finishing second in the LMP2 and on the podium of the general is simply magical and historical for the team. Thanks to my teammates, the mechanics, the technical team and of course to Alexandre Pesci for the trust he has given me. "
David Heinemeier Hansson, #13 driver:
" This was a true comic book race. So many twists and turns, ups and downs. We started with a dominant 1-2 position with both cars but once the night fell, the trouble started and Le Mans showed why it's the toughest race of them all. But with hammer and perseverance, we made it through to the end, and stood in glory on the overall podium. Just fantastic race and fantastic teamwork. Rebellion Racing made its mark on the 2017 Le Mans race. "
Nelson Piquet Jr, #13 driver:
" It was a very long race for us. We didn't really know what to expect because we had two tough races in Spa and Silverstone. The team did an exceptional job coming over here. Even if we had some issues during the race, the pace was there, the drivers did an amazing job, engineers, mechanics, they worked so hard. I want to thank everybody from the team. It was a rollercoaster ride today, many ups and downs ! The race started fine, but there was many issues especially at the end, it was so stressful because we had pressure from the third car but kept pushing and it worked out! "
Julien Canal, #31 driver:
" For us it was an perfect half race, we led it, we were on the general podium. It worked very well from the beginning. Bruno (Senna) started fourth on the grid and gave the car in P1, he did a great job. Nico (Prost) did the same by keeping the car in the same position. I took the wheel in P2 and I could also bring it back to the top of the race. Then, we had to change the front of the car during Nico’s relay, I had an electrical problem, and the problem of gearbox after Nico relay, so all this made it impossible to keep the first positions as we wanted, I think we had the potential to do 1 and 2 or 2 and 3 in any case on the LMP2 podium. It is a pity, but what is reassuring is that we know more than ever that we are fighting for victory until the end of the year. "
Bruno Senna, #31 driver:
" Quite disappointed for our result of course, we lead during a big part of the race. If it was the 12 Hours of Le Mans it would be amazing, but the 24 Hours are not so amazing. I think we had the potential to be in front today but it doesn't happened, it's very tough. We can keep pushing for the next time and I'm very happy for the sister car, they did a great job. "
Nicolas Prost, #31 driver:
" I am very disappointed, we were fighting for the general podium and the LMP2 podium but the gear broke at 9 am from the finish and it is a bit hard to accept. It's like that, it's the race, it's Le Mans. I would like to congratulate the #13 who did a very good race and who deserves this result ! "
1 - Jackie Chan DC Racing #38 (Tung / Laurent / Jarvis)
2 - Vaillante Rebellion #13 (Piquet Jr / Heinemeier Hansson / Beche)
3 - Jackie Chan DC Racing #37 (Cheng / Gommendy / Brundle)
4 - Signatech Alpine Matmut #35 (Pancitici / Ragues / Negrão)
5 - United Autosports #32 (Owen / De Sadeleer / Albuquerque)
15 - Vaillante Rebellion #31 (Prost / Canal / Senna)
1 : Jackie Chan DC Racing #38 (90 pts)
2 : Vaillante REBELLION #13 (50pts)
3 : Vaillante REBELLION #31 (48 pts)
4 : G-Drive Racing #26 (38 pts)
5 : Signatech Alpine Matmut #36 (38 pts)
It was at midnight that the third and last qualifying session for the 85th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans came to an end, solidifying the starting grid for Saturday’s race. Bruno Senna and Mathias Beche, respectively at the wheels #31 and #13, recorded the best qualifying times in this final session.
The most anticipated week for all motor sports fans has finally started! The 24 Hours of Le Mans have been taking place every year at the heart of Sarthe, on the legendary Circuit des 24 Heures since 1923.