Portimao: REBELLION Racing race report

REBELLION RACING ONCE AGAIN ON THE PODIUM Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost finished second in the Le Mans Series 1000 km of Algarve with their ...


Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost finished second in the Le Mans Series 1000 km of Algarve with their #12 Lola-Rebellion race car. This is the second podium in three Le Mans Series races in 2010 for REBELLION Racing after their third place finish at the 8 Hours of Le Castellet. Jean- Christophe Boullion and Andrea Belicchi finished fourth in the LMP1 category with the #13 Lola-Rebellion, thus scoring important points to keep the Championship hopes alive.

An additional challenge made the early stages of the race tough for the two Lola-Rebellion cars since they were relegated to the last row of the grid; the #12 car was penalised for having excessive wear to the flat floor during the qualifying session and the #13 for having to change two damaged tyres after qualifying. It was a shame because the team had had a good qualifying session, Neel Jani with #12 had set the second fastest time with a 1'30''937, only three-tenths off the Peugeot 908 HDi- Oreca, Andrea Belicchi was fourth (1'31''831) after an engine change overnight for the #13 car.

As soon as the race started, both Lola-Rebellions started to recover places. With fantastic drives from Andrea Belicchi and Neel Jani, it took only six laps to have both Lola-Rebellions in the top 6.

After two hours and twenty minutes of racing, Nico Prost with #12 and Jean-Christophe Boullion in #13 were respectively, strongly placed in second and third, with their sights set on a great result. However, at mid-race the bumpy rollercoaster Algarve track forced the #13 Lola-Rebellion to have to stop in the pits to identify and repair a leak in the oil system. After the repairs, Andrea Belicchi took over behind the wheel and started to recover again from the back of the classification.

With Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost strongly positioned in second place with the Lola-Rebellion #12, but already three laps behind the leading diesel powered car, they started to manage their lead over the third placed #008 Aston Martin car. The #12 car went on to a richly deserved second placed finish.

After a challenging weekend, the #13 car finished in 4th place in the LMP1 class, thus scoring highly valued points in the championship. With 40 points, the Lola-Rebellion #13 is now only four points behind the Championship leading factory Audi #7 and still one point in front of the third placed Peugeot-Oreca #4.

Jean-Christophe Boullion and Andrea Belicchi are still third in the LMS drivers classification.

With their second place finish Nico Prost and Neel Jani are sixth in the drivers championship.

Nicolas Prost: "Honestly, it's the hardest race of my life. The heat and bumps of the track made my stints very stressful, even though the race conditions were the same for everyone! We had a good race and we can be satisfied with our work. After two second places in the Le Mans Series, I now look forward to my first victory!"

Neel Jani: "My first stint was not easy. Starting from the last row on the grid, we had to go through so much traffic! I also had a problem with my drinking system which meant I had no drink. Even though we recovered to second place after two stints, we saw that we could not catch the race leading Peugeot. We tried to maintain our position taking care of the car and this strategy has paid off."

Adam Airey, #12 race engineer: "It has been a very emotional weekend and an almost perfect race. The team worked particularly hard, and did a great job. We have reached an important step in terms of development of the cars here at Portimao. When a race runs as faultlessly as this one did, it almost seems to be easy! It's not of course, but I hope that the remaining races will run in a similar way."

Bart Hayden, REBELLION Racing Team Manager: "It's a good result for the team, a second podium this year, which rewards the hard work of the crew and the drivers since the beginning of the year. I'm very happy for Nicolas and Neel who deserve their turn to get on the podium. Andrea and Jean-Christophe drove well in difficult circumstances and their determination has kept the Championship hopes alive. I'm pleased also for REBELLION Timepieces, our main partner. Michelin worked closely with us again and their tyres and service were first class. The battle for the Le Mans Series title will be tough, but we are ready to do our best and the drivers are hungry for a victory."

-source: rebellion-racing.com

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Jean-Christophe Boullion , Bart Hayden , Neel Jani , Nicolas Prost , Andrea Belicchi