On this first weekend of May, the 6H of SPA-Francorchamps were the opportunity for Vaillante REBELLION to get ready for the much anticipated 24H of Le Mans that will take place on June 17 and 18. The team was able to test the two Oreca 07 and achieve an encouraging performance for the rest of the season.
On the Belgian circuit, often considered as the most beautiful in the world, Bruno Senna, Nicolas Prost and Julien Canal (# 31) took the second place on the podium. They were closely followed by Nelson Piquet Junior, David Heinemeier Hansson and Mathias Beche (#13), who finished in fourth position.
At 2:30 pm, under a sunny yet cloudy sky, the two Oreca 07 #13 and #31 respectively kicked off in fifth and ninth positions for a six-hour battle.
After 45 minutes of racing, a fierce fight for the first spot was already taking place between Nelson Panciatici at the wheel of the #35 Alpine Signatech, and Bruno Senna on the #31. Ten minutes later, the same #35 collided with Oliver Jarvis (DC Racing) and allowed Oreca 07 #31 to take the lead of the race.
After a promising start, Bruno Senna then left his place to Julien Canal, who also fought to keep the first place against Alex Lynn (G-Drive Racing). After a pit-stop, the #31 restart in third position with a better lap at 02: 07.046.
At the wheel of #13, Nelson Piquet Junior was in seventh place during the first two hours before making a pit-stop and leaving David Heinemeier Hansson in ninth position and a better lap at 02: 06.963.
During the race, a first yellow flag was rased to slow down the pace because of the loss of a piece of carbon from the Porsche 911 #86, prohibiting drivers from overtaking each others until the total evacuation of the car. Then, Nicolas Prost, following Julien Canal at the wheel of the #31, received a 10-second penalty for causing a collision with a Porsche GT, making him falling from first to second place
A second yellow flag was raised an hour later, after four hours, because of the exit of François Perrodo (TDS Racing), but without any impact for the two Vaillante REBELLION, who were able to keep their fourth and second places all the way until the end of the race, despite a rain shower just a few minutes before the finish.
Reaction – Julien Canal (driver #31)
"We really worked in synergy between the two cars during the tests. We had a gearbox problem during the qualifying session, so we took the 8th position. Bruno made two first exceptional relays and left me the car in P1, the tires were a little degraded. I managed to keep the first position during my first relay. My goal was fulfilled by remaining in the dynamic of the leaders. We had twice 10 seconds penalties and more than a minute of pit-stop because of the antenna. All these problems brought us to the second place of the podium in spite of a very powerful race. It's very encouraging for the rest of the season!"
Reaction - Nicolas Prost (driver #31)
"A very good result, a second place is satisfying but à bit deceptive in spite of the incidents that occured. It is encouraging for Le Mans."
Reaction - Mathias Beche (driver #13)
"The team gave us a very good car, we had the ability to make a big result. We would have dreamed of making a podium unfortunately we finished just off it. Some small gearbox problems cost us a bit of performance throughout the race, otherwise we had a good balance and it is very encouraging before Le Mans. We have the ability to make a good performance at Le Mans, the competition is extremely tight and we will have to be better. Keep pushing!"
Reaction - Bart Hayden (team manager)
"All the Vaillante Rebellion team are really happy to get a second Podium of the season. It's fantastic to get P2 and P4, with the two cars, it is well deserved after all the hard work of the team. Spa has been a good circuit for us in the past and it kept that relationship with us today. We had fast cars, we ran at the front and had a great battle. Great job by the drivers and all the team."
Reaction - David Heinemeier Hansson (driver #13)
"Rebellion once again showed that we have the pace to fight for wins with both cars. Our run was marred by some technical difficulties, but the pace was there. Hopefully at Le Mans we will have all the elements aligned at the same time and be there at the end."
On the one hand, Bruno Senna, at the wheel of the #31, finished the race in the same way he started it and eventually grabbed the second spot behind Alex Lynn from G-Drive Racing.
On the other hand, Nelson Piquet Junior, at the wheel of the #13, finished fourth behind Ho-Pin Tung (DC Racing).
A very encouraging and promising race before the 24H of Le Mans for the two Oreca 07 and the six drivers, who were able to resist against the problems of this race.
Vaillante REBELLION results :
Oreca07 #13 : Nelson Piquet Junior, Mathias Beche, David Heinemeier Hansson
Oreca07 #31 : Nicolas Prost, Bruno Senna, Julien Canal
P1: G-Drive Racing #26
P2: Vaillante REBELLION #31
P3: Jackie Chan DC Racing #38
P4: Vaillante REBELLION #13
#13: P5 (2:02.943)
#31: P9 (2:02.953)
Free Practice 1
#13 Beche, Heinemeier Hansson, Piquet Jr: P7
Best lap: 02:05.344
#31 Canal, Prost, Senna: P4
Best lap: 02:04.485
Free Practice 2
#13 Beche, Heinemeier Hansson, Piquet Jr: P8
Best lap: 02:04.845
#31 Canal, Prost, Senna: P5
Best lap: 02:04.670
Free Practice 3
#13 Beche, Heinemeier Hansson, Piquet Jr: P5
Best lap: 2:02.943
#31 Canal, Prost, Senna: P9
Best lap: 2:02.953
As a reminder, the 2017 livery, exhibited on the Belgian paddock, will live its first race on June 17 and 18 during the 24H Le Mans.
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