Lotus News Article

LMP1 - SIX HOURS OF SPA RACE REPORT

Saturday, May 5, 2012 - 18:00

REBELLION Racing secured first and second place amongst the FIA WEC LMP1 Privateers at the 6 Hours of Spa with their #12 and #13 B12/60 Lola-Toyotas; 5th and 6th overall, the first two non-Audi factory cars and the first two petrol powered cars home.

LMP1 Spa 12 hrsThis strong result was achieved after a fantastic race at a pace similar to a Grand Prix with some classic wheel to wheel battles between the REBELLION drivers and their competitors, Neel Jani vs Sebastien Bourdais, Nick Heidfeld vs Dany Watts, Nicolas Prost vs Johnny Kane and Andrea Belicchi vs Guillaume Moreau.

The trio of drivers in car #12, Nick Heidfeld, Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost combined good pace with great strategy calls and quick pitstops from the team to take a commanding victory amongst the FIA WEC LMP1 Privateers.

Andrea Belicchi and Harold Primat with the Lola-Rebellion #13 lost ground early on after being given a Stop and Go penalty and an unscheduled stop that forced them to recover from the back of the LMP1 field. Andrea and Harold pushed very hard during the second half of the race and ended up in 6th place overall, complementing the sister car #12’s win in the FIA WEC LMP1 Privateer Trophy with the second place.

For their first appearance in front of the FIA WEC competitors, both of REBELLION Racing’s new B12/60 Lola-Toyota Coupes met the team’s expectations by securing the best result possible for petrol powered cars and FIA WEC Privateer entrants at the 6 Hours of Spa. Both of the team’s cars dominated the free practice and qualifying sessions during the weekend and were the two best non-Audi diesel factory cars in the race.

All the team will now be focused on preparing for the Le Mans 24 Hours event and Official Test Day in less than a month.

Nick Heidfeld – Lola-Toyota #12 : « It was a very good race ! We had fun and nice fights. During my stint, I was touched by a GT and I spun, but luckily didn’t lose too much time. The management of the traffic is one of the peculiarities of the discipline of endurance I have to learn and improve. I have been lucky this time not to badly damage the car. The Michelin tyres were consistent in tricky conditions and allowed us to make very long stints. The car is nice to drive. This is very important for us to have this strong result because it confirms the high level of improvement we have obtained with the new aero kit from Lola. We'll be more confident preparing for the next race... which is Le Mans 24 ! »

Neel Jani – Lola-Toyota #12 : « The start of the race has not been really easy for us. We started with the option rain tyres and it took a few laps to find the grip. After 12 laps, it began to go better and better. I have made quick laps, sometimes even quicker than the Audis ! The gamble we took about the choice of tyres (putting directly slicks after rain tyres) was successful and we saved a pitstop, that meant around 45 seconds. All the team did a great job, Nick and Nico have been fantastic...and we have had the luck we didn't have in Sebring... »

Nicolas Prost – Lola-Toyota #12 : « It has been a very long race ! The beginning of the race was strategically complicated. We had to fight against the Dome with Sebastien Bourdais and the HPD of Johnny Kane. But Nick did a fantastic stint and succeeded in overtaking both. After that we managed the race and saved fuel to avoid an extra stop. When the track was dry we had good pace and it was quite easy. We have made a very big step forward with the car. The new car has been reliable straight out of the box. I think that the team has equally matured and structured to be able to anticipte, address and overcome all the small glitches that we have had in the past. On the other hand, we have seen today that we have very serious and aggressive petrol car competitors who won't allow us to make any mistakes ! »