Vaillante Rebellion disqualified from third

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Rebel­lion Rac­ing achieved some­thing in the LPM2 class at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans that they had attempt­ed to achieve for years when run­ning in the LMP1 cat­e­go­ry: an over­all podi­um fin­ish. The team was absolute­ly ecsta­t­ic at the third-place fin­ish for the #13 Vail­lante Rebel­lion Ore­ca 07 of Nel­son Piquet Jr., David Heine­meier Hann­son and Math­ias Beche, but a post-race reg­u­la­tion breach has seen the car be dis­qual­i­fied.



The #13 car had been in a great posi­tion going into the clos­ing stages of the race, bat­tling with the #35 Sig­nat­e­ch Alpine Mat­mut for the final place on the podi­um behind the sec­ond-place #38 Jack­ie Chan DC Rac­ing Ore­ca 07 of Thomas Lau­rent, Ho-Ping Tung and Oliv­er Jarvis. How­ev­er, the team was faced with dis­as­ter as a faulty starter motor start­ed to ham­per their chances. With cars hav­ing to be switched off dur­ing pit stops, the prob­lem would have cost the team a huge amount of time before the end of the race.

The team came up with an inge­nious solu­tion to the issue, drilling a hole through the body­work so that they could lit­er­al­ly hit the starter relay with a ham­mer and start the engine after every pit stop. How­ev­er, body­work mod­i­fi­ca­tions of this sort are out­lawed under the LMP2 reg­u­la­tions, as this would have meant that the car devi­at­ed from its homolo­ga­tion (the approved mod­el per­mit­ted to run in this par­tic­u­lar race).



The mod­i­fi­ca­tion was spot­ted in parc fer­mé fol­low­ing the race, although not before team mem­bers had attempt­ed to cov­er up the hole with race tape – which con­sti­tutes a vio­la­tion of parc fer­mé reg­u­la­tions, as no one is per­mit­ted to touch the car. Team man­ag­er Bart Hay­den had instruct­ed mechan­ics to cov­er up the mod­i­fi­ca­tion at one of the car’s final pit stops, but also said he was not able to explain the actions of his team mem­bers after the race.

The deci­sion pro­motes the sec­ond Jack­ie Chan DC Rac­ing car, the #37 Ore­ca 07 of David Cheng, Tris­tan Gom­mendy and Alex Brun­dle to third posi­tion over­all and sec­ond in LMP2 – giv­ing the Chi­nese-entered team a 1–2 in LMP2 and sec­ond and third posi­tions over­all.

Images © WEC-Mag­a­zin / Wal­ter Schruff / Ton Kerdijk