Rebellion marks final Le Mans start with ‘amazing’ podium
By James Pavey
Monday 21st September, 2020 - 10:57am
Overall second place for the #1 Rebellion Racing entry at the 24 Hours of Le Mans was labelled an “amazing achievement” by Bruno Senna after a successful final visit to La Sarthe for the privateer team.
Senna, Gustavo Menezes and Norman Nato steered the #1 Rebellion R-13 to second in the race, five laps down on the winning #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid.
Not only did Rebellion keep the #8 honest to the end, but the #1 managed to stay ahead of the Hyperpole-winning #7 Toyota after it struck mid-race turbo dramas.
It was a relatively clean 24 hours for the #1 squad, aside from an issue with the car’s nose in the morning hours and a slow pit stop in the 23rd hour.
Regardless, Nato brought home the #1 one lap ahead of the #7 Toyota to hand Rebellion its best overall Le Mans finish, beating the third place achieved by Menezes, Mathias Beche and Thomas Laurent in 2018.
For Senna, it was a maiden Le Mans podium on his eighth attempt, besting fourth place finishes with Rebellion in 2018 and 2019.
“For sure an amazing achievement, the team did a really good job to make sure the preparation was properly done for the car,” Senna said.
“The car ran pretty well throughout the race, very small issues that didn’t delay us so much.
“This type of race is how you’re supposed to get podiums at Le Mans. If you are in the garage a lot, normally you don’t arrive on the podium.”
The pace was clear for the Rebellions from the outset, with American Menezes splitting the two Toyotas in qualifying.
Senna also set the fastest lap of the race with a 3:19.274s.
The #3 Rebellion firmed to take the final step on the podium once the #7 Toyota hit trouble, before Louis Deletraz dumped the car into the gravel at Indianapolis.
That came before a visit to the garage with clutch issues, consigning Deletraz, Romain Dumas and Nathanael Berthon to fourth overall, albeit on the same lap as the #7 Toyota.
With Rebellion exiting the World Endurance Championship at the end of the current campaign, second overall in the team’s final La Sarthe visit proved a breakthrough for both the Swiss outfit and veteran driver Senna.
“I’ve been very competitive here in the past but bad luck prevented me from getting the win or the podium,” Senna continued.
“This has been eluding me and finally Le Mans let me step on the podium. I wish it was the first step, but I’ll take the second step as things are not so easy at this place.”