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.
Team Manager, Bart Hayden:
"In qualifying we ended up with car number 31 in position 4 and car 13 in position 5 which is really good. We were aiming to get both cars into the top 6 so we are happy with these positions for the start of the race. I think it’s encouraging for everybody, especially because we have the two cars next to each other. We were trying to improve the lap time a bit more but the traffic and a few cars going off made it really difficult, but it was the same for everyone and to end up P4 and P5, I think we cannot be disappointed."
As explained by Team Manager Bart Hayden, the last two sessions were a true raging battle and many teams went into their qualifying round at key moments, which made getting a clear lap very difficult. By making different tests on the tires and on-board fuel, the team successfully optimized its driving time. The results were encouraging during the last hour as the two Oreca 07s managed to get even closer to the reference times.
Regarding the cars’ performances, the team shows confidence and doesn’t hide their ambition and aim to place their two Vaillante REBELLIONs on the 24 Hours of Le Mans winners’ podium, as Le Mans is a decisive step in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), a fact which our teams have never been more aware of.
Julien Canal, #31 driver:
" For us qualifying went quite well, we weren’t on a good way during part of sessions 2 and 3, because we carried out many tires tests, we pushed them to the maximum, we really favored endurance and consumption. It was very complicated to have clean runs. I, myself, had new tires but I was blocked by the traffic. Many cars had gone out at the same time to do their qualification lap, but despite these conditions Bruno managed to make the 4th fastest time shortly before the end of the session. For us it is still good proof of speed, we’re moving in the right direction, we’re among the leading cars, and we know what we are worth and we know in which way to work so we’re very confident for the race."
Mathias Beche, #13 driver:
"First of all I would like to thank the team for the work they’ve done, because out of 25 cars, to get these two cars in the top 5 is really a huge achievement and will allow us to approach the race in the best way. It’s important to start at the front in Le Mans as to not fall behind and play for the leading positions right away. As for qualifying, I am a little frustrated because we didn’t manage to have a clean run and I had to slow down on my fastest lap because of a yellow flag, which made me lose time but I still managed to finish a good lap so that’s the most important thing. We have a very good working base for the race, the car seems very consistent and that’s what will make the difference with reliability. Let the number 13 of Michel Vaillant bring us luck! "
Bruno Senna, #31 driver:
" It’s a great position to start the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The team did a great job today and we had a great and consistent car which is really good on the tires. Qualifying is always a bit of surprise, you have traffic and lots of things can happen. I’m really happy with our performance and I’m sure we can do very interesting things from 4th on the grid. "
David Heinemeier Hansson, #13 driver:
" We rolled off the truck at the Test Day with a remarkably strong setup, and that initial fit has carried straight over to the race week. All we've been doing is fine-tuning the car. This is without a doubt the fastest and at the same time most comfortable car I've driven in my 6 attempts at Le Mans. Bodes very well for the race to have a car this fast be this easy to drive. We missed out on pole in the luck of the traffic and yellows draw. We had the pace to give it a run, but at the fastest moment, we didn't get a clean run. Anyway, starting P5, just next to the sister car, is still an excellent place for such a long race. REBELLION has done a remarkable job getting ready for this event. We are ready to fight for the podium, and maybe even the win, of fortune smiles at us. "
1- G-Drive Racing (Rusinov / Thiriet / Lynn) – 3:25.352
2 - CEFC Manor (Gonzalez / Trummer / Petrov) – 3:25.549
3 - Jackie Chan DC Racing (Tung / Laurent / Jarvis) – 3:25.911
4 - Vaillante Rebellion #31 (Prost / Canal / Senna) – 3:26.736
5 - Vaillante Rebellion #13 (Piquet Jr / Heinemeier Hansson / Beche) – 3:26.811
6 - CEFC Manor (Graves / Hirschi / Vergne) – 3:26.871
7 - TDS Racing (Perrodo / Vaxiviere / Collard) – 3:27.108
8 - Signatech Alpine (Pancitici / Ragues / Negrão) – 3:27.517
9 - Jackie Chan DC Racing (Cheng / Gommendy / Brundle) – 3:27.535
10 - SMP (Aleshin / Sirotkin/ Shaytar) – 3:27.782
#13: P2 - 3:31.666
#31: P3 - 3:31.749
Qualifying session 1:
#13: P8 - 3:31.636
#31: P2 - 3:29.851
Qualifying session 2:
#13: P4 - 3:27.012
#31: P5 - 3:27.564
Qualifying session 3:
#13: P5 - 3:26.811
#31: P4 - 3:26.736
1: #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing
2: #26 G-Drive Racing
3: #31 (Prost / Senna / Canal) - Vaillante REBELLION
6: #13 (Piquet Jr / Beche / Heinemeier Hansson) - Vaillante REBELLION
The Oreca 07 #31 wins the seventh race of the FIA WEC season in very tricky conditions. The #13 car was forced to abandon the race after a contact with another LMP2.
Vaillante REBELLION #13 and #31 will start the 6 Hours of Fuji at the top of the LMP2 starting grid.
After two races in America, both Vaillante REBELLION crews expect to confirm their good dynamics for their arrival in Asia with a first round in Japan.
No third victory at Petit Le Mans for REBELLION Racing, forced to abandon the race following a shock with another car and a runway exit of the Oreca 07 #13 in the sixth hour.