REBELLION RACING 3RD IN THE 2011 INTERCONTINENTAL LE MANS CUP.
The REBELLION Racing’s #12 Lola-Toyota, driven by Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost, took the checkered flag of the 6 Hours of Zhuhai in fourth position overall and first of the petrol powered cars. This result meant the team scored the necessary points to secure third place in the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup LMP1 Teams Championship, behind the Peugeot and Audi factory teams. With this strong result, REBELLION Racing finished the season as the best LMP1 privateer in the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.
In car #12, Neel Jani was the start driver for the 6 Hours of Zhuhai. After a strong start, Neel was leading the petrol LMP field in 5th position overall. Lap by lap he was able to extend his lead over the Aston Martin Racing and Oak Racing cars.
After one hour and seven minutes of racing, Neel Jani and the #2 Audi driven by Allan McNish made contact while battling for fourth place. Neel had to come back to the pits to change both the front nose and the rear end bodywork of the car. The team worked very quickly to replace both elements. Neel Jani rejoined the race in tenth position, with more than two laps lost to direct opponents. An hour later Neel had recovered up to seventh place.
Nico Prost took over behind the wheel from Neel and added a valuable contribution to the #12 Lola-Toyota’s recovery. On lap 127, Nico set the fastest laptime of the car with a time of 1:24:612. After four and a half hours of racing, the #12 Lola-Toyota was back in the top five, and quickly reducing the gap to the #24 Oak racing car, which was in fourth place at that time.
When Nico gave the driving seat back to Neel Jani, the driver pairing had recovered the two and a half laps that they had been behind the #24 car and Neel exited the pits only 18 seconds behind the #24 Oak Racing car. A few laps later, he was able to pass it on his first attempt, with just fifty minutes to the end of the race.
The remaining laps were trouble free for Neel Jani, and all the REBELLION Racing team members were on the pit wall to celebrate the finish line crossing of the #12 Lola-Rebellion, a fitting salute at the end of a very succesful 2011 racing season.
Nicolas PROST : « I am delighted with this result that rewards our hard work this year. The car was great to drive today and I was able to push very hard to recover during my stints. Once again it was not a trouble free race, but at the end the result we have acheived with Neel and the team is even much valuable. »
Neel JANI : « Of course I am happy after this race. We have converted our pace into a good result. Due to issues we were not able to do it at both Silverstone and Petit Le Mans, where we should have finished on the podium. Fourth was the best result possible today, so we are happy about the job we have done here in China. »
Bart hayden, REBELLION Racing Team manager : « Fourth place at the 6 Hours of Zhuhai is a result that ends our 2011 racing season in the best way that we could have hoped. We are the first petrol LMP1 in the race in front of very strong and professional teams. This result gave us the points to finish as the best privateer team of the 2011 season in the « Le Mans » endurance races. We are the best privateer LMP1 team in the ILMC, we won the Le Mans Series and we were the first petrol at Le Mans 24 Hours.
Today was a race to test the nerves and we experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. To be strongly positioned in fourth place early in the race and then to have an incident that dropped us down to tenth was a low moment, but thanks to great work by the team in the pits and fantastic recovery driving, we overhauled the opposition and reclaimed fourth place at the end, to leave us on a high.
The pace we had in our car today was evident for all to see. Michelin helped us enormously by providing great tyres that were quick and durable at the same time. The engine supplied by Toyota Motorsport GmbH was really strong and we were able to tune the Lola chassis to help deliver this result.
It’s been a long season, but we are immensly proud of what we have achieved, the whole team have really delivered this year and we look forward to having more successes in the future.
On a personal note, I’d like to thank all the team for their efforts and dedication this season. They provided support to me at a difficult time as we entered the year and together we have grown into a strong team. To have completed our haul of accolades this season on the podium of the ILMC LMP1 Teams, the best privateers behind the factory diesels is a fitting reward for everyone involved. »