Vaillante Rebellion ended the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship as the LMP2 category champions.
As the final race of the year started, Bruno Senna was in the #31 with David Heinemeier Hansson in the #13 with both drivers wanting to finish on the top step of the podium.
After an hour of racing had passed, a short off track excursion dropped the #13 car down to 8th in class.
Whilst battling one of the CEFC Manor TRS Racing machines slight contact was made and the #31 was handed a 5 second penalty to be added to their next pitstop – despite this Julien Canal (who had taken over from Senna) retained his second position behind the Jackie Chan DC Racing #38.
Mathias Beche, had taken up residency in the #13 and was rapidly working his way through the field until the two Rebellions were running in second and third.
Due to an offset strategy when the #38 came in for its final driver change it allowed the Rebellion cars to inherit the lead.
However it was not plain sailing to the finish as Senna reported a power steering issue with the #31 which hampered him in the final 45 minutes of the race.
The Brazilian managed to keep the situation under control to cross the line in first place, ahead of the #38, to claim the 2017 World Endurance LMP2 title.
With the #13 completing the podium and in doing so claiming fourth in the championship.
Team manager, Bart Hayden, said: “What an intense race and season! For much of this race I thought that the #38 car was looking like they were going to win, but when we observed that they were having trouble getting a full stint from their fuel tank, we saw the opportunity.
“We were leading when Bruno reported the power steering loss, so we suddenly thought that fate was going to twist again. But, through sheer will and determination, Bruno brought the car home to win and it’s a truly fantastic result.
“Hats off to the Jota Jackie Chan DC Racing car #38 guys, they made a real fight of it and they were a bit unlucky today, but these things play out through the season. I’d like to say a big thank you to the whole team for improving throughout the season and for digging deep when it mattered.
“Winning the Championship in the face of strong competition makes the result taste even sweeter.”
Although he also piloted the #31, Nicolas Prost is not counted as a champion due to missing the 6 Hours of the Nurburgring.
“The team did an exceptional job. Everybody improved their job, mechanics, engineers and all the drivers,” said Senna. “We all became stronger all along the season. It really changed during the oversea part of the season. I want to thank all these guys who were extraordinary. Winning this championship is an amazing feeling!”
Team-mate Canal added: “After my stint I was not really confident for the win today. But after the amazing job of my two teammates, I changed my mind! I really want to thank theses guys. Nico and Bruno did a really good job and they are really good drivers and my best friends. They increased my sense of competition, my team spirit and my performances on track. We worked a lot this year and I want to thank all the team!”
In addition to the Drivers’ title with the #31, Rebellion also claimed the Teams’ title.