The 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2010 saw an unusually high number of "Did Not Finishes" even amongst the Factory cars in the LMP1 category (only five LMP1 cars finished compared to eighteen on the starting grid). Unfortunately for REBELLION Racing,...
The 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2010 saw an unusually high number of "Did Not Finishes" even amongst the Factory cars in the LMP1 category (only five LMP1 cars finished compared to eighteen on the starting grid). Unfortunately for REBELLION Racing, both of their cars were amongst those that failed to make it to the chequered flag.
The race started well for the Swiss team, both Lola-Rebellions were in position to duel with the works Aston Martin entries, car #13 battling to be the third placed petrol LMP1.
An early contact with a GT2 car upset the race for the #12 Lola-Rebellion. Shortly before having to stop for its first pit-stop in the race, the #12 was hit on the rear left corner of the car by a GT2. The bodywork showed no major external damage, but due to a broken wheel rim, the team opted to change all four wheels after having refuelled. Neel Jani was quickly back on the track, and half an hour later, he set a new fastest lap. However, the contact proved to have a longer lasting legacy as it also caused a small rupture in a gearbox oil line which led to the loss of most of the gearbox oil. The team spotted the problem via the telemetry system and brought the car in for repairs.
A number of trips to the garage were required before the team were happy that the full extent of the damage had been contained and the other drivers in car #12, namely Nicolas Prost and Marco Andretti managed to recover several positions when they were on the track.
At the mid point of the race, the #12 Lola-Rebellion was back up to eighteenth place overall, 12th in LMP1 and fifth of the petrol LMP1.
Unfortunately, after 12 hours and 24 minutes of racing the #12 Lola-Rebellion stopped on the side of the track. The gearbox that had suffered with the oil problem early in the race gave in to the fight and failed, leaving the driver at the time, Neel Jani, with absolutely no drive to get back to the pits. Neel tried in vain to bring the car home, but the team had no choice but to officially confirm the retirement of the car.
The car #13 Lola-Rebellion of Belicchi - Boullion - Smith crashed out of the race just after the 9 hour and 18 minutes mark. At the time, they were strongly positioned in the top 10 overall, third petrol car in LMP1.
The #13 car went off at the Ford chicanes. Jean-Christophe Boullion was extremely disappointed by the premature end of the race : "We had an intermittent problem with the headlights, they were cutting out, but it was not too dangerous. We had planned to change the front nose during the next pit- stop with Guy Smith who was scheduled to get into the car after me. But, once while I was entering the last lap of my stint I lost the lights that illuminate the sides and thus missed my apex and with the cold tyres due to the safety-car period that had just ended I lost the rear of the car. We had a good pace and we were on our way towards a great result."
The REBELLION Racing team had high ambitions for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2010. The performance of the cars in the race proved those ambitions were justified, but unfortunately the race didn't run out to the hoped for conclusion.
REBELLION Racing now focuses on their main goal of the season, the LMP1 title in the Le Mans Series. The Swiss team is currently second in the championship behind Audi, who have opted not to participate in the next two rounds in Portugal and Hungary.
Good results in the summer should allow REBELLION Racing to be in a strong position in the championship at the final round in September at the 1000km of Silverstone when the works Audi and Peugeots will return to the fray once again.