Rebellion Racing’s No. 1 Rebellion R13 shared by Gustavo Menezes, Norman Nato and Bruno Senna claimed the R13’s maiden overall win on the road in the 4 Hours of Shanghai on Sunday (Nov. 10). It is the first time that the Toyotas have been beaten on the road since the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas in September, 2017, a span of 13 races.
“It’s amazing,” Senna said after the race. “It’s fantastic for us. Great job by the team. Our race was very, very clean and we took the win. Awesome job.”
Nato started the race from the overall pole, but appeared to get an absolutely terrible start. That allowed both of the Team LNT Ginettas and the No. 7 Toyota of Kamui Kobayashi to get past. Turns out that they were a little too fast in taking the lead. The stewards ended up hitting all three cars with drive-through penalties for jumping the start.
Yes, there were penalties, but they weren’t issued until nearly a quarter of the way into the race. As a result, Charlie Robertson was able to claim the overall lead at the start and proceeded to drive away in what was the strongest run by a Ginetta driver to date. On lap 11, 20 minutes into the race, Robertson had a nine second lead over teammate Ben Hanley and had already clocked in what would be the fastest lap of the race.
Meanwhile, Nato dropped all the way to sixth on the first lap, behind both Toyotas and the LMP2 leading No. 37 from Jackie Chan DC Racing. From that point, Nato slowly progressed back towards the front before stopping to get out in favor of Menezes.
When the Ginettas stopped to serve their penalties, the lead went to the No. 8 Toyota driven by Sebastien Buemi. Menezes was quickly gaining on Buemi. A few laps later, Menezes ran down the Toyota and made the pass on the road to take the overall lead. Aside from a short period in which Buemi retook the lead when Menezes made a pit stop, Rebellion Racing led the rest of the way from there.
Menezes and Senna pulled away to win by 66.984 seconds over the No. 8 of Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Kazuki Nakajima. The No. 7 Toyota of Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez was a lap down in third, while the No. 5 Ginetta G60-LT-P1 of Hanley, Jordan King and Egor Orudzhev were fourth.
LMP2 saw Jackie Chan DC Racing’s Will Stevens take the lead at the start from COOL Racing’s Antonin Borga and pull away in his ORECA 07-Gibson. The quasi-team car of JOTA Sport with Anthony Davidson at the wheel gave chase. Towards the end of the first hour, Davidson was able to catch Stevens and make the pass to put the Goodyear-sponsored No. 38 in the lead.
From there, Davidson, Antonio Felix da Costa and Roberto Gonzalez continued to stretch the lead and take the class victory in sixth overall. The margin of victory was 17.090 seconds over the Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07 of Stevens, Gabriel Aubry and Ho-Pin Tung. United Autosports’ Filipe Albuquerque, Phil Hanson and Paul Di Resta were third, followed by Signatech Alpine Elf’s Thomas Laurent, Pierre Ragues and Andre Negrao.
GTE-Pro was dominated early on by Aston Martin Racing’s No. 95 with Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen. However, a blown tire on the car brought out a full-course caution and dropped the No. 95 out of contention. That allowed AF Corse’s No. 51 Ferrari for Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado to claim the class lead with a little more than an hour remaining. From there, Pier Guidi was able to hold on to win on the road.
However, after the race, the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE was found to be too low in post-race inspection. As a result, the team was disqualified.
The disqualification means that victory reverts to Porsche GT Team’s Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre in their Porsche 911 RSR-19. Teammates Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz were 13.428 seconds back in second, followed by Aston Martin Racing’s No. 97 for Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin.
Finally, GTE-Am saw Team Project 1’s Egidio Perfetti start from pole and lead early in his Porsche. After a good run early, Perfetti made an early pit stop that dropped the team out of the hunt. Another stop shortly afterwards dropped them out of contention.
The early stop for Perfetti put TF Sport’s Salih Yoluc in the lead in his Aston Martin. Yoluc, along with teammates Jonny Adam and Charlie Eastwood, dominated most of the race en route to their second win of the season. Their margin of victory was 16.251 seconds over the No. 57 Team Project 1 Porsche of Jeroen Bleekemolen, Ben Keating and Larry ten Voorde. Aston Martin Racing’s Paul Dalla Lana, Ross Gunn and Darren Turner were third in their Aston Martin, while AF Corse’s No. 83 Ferrari for Nicklas Nielsen, Emmanuel Collard and Francois Perrodo were fourth.
WEC teams have the next month off before the championship resumes in mid-December at the Bahrain International Circuit. The 8 Hours of Bahrain is scheduled for Dec. 14.
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