The #3 Rebellion Racing trio of Mathias Beche, Gustavo Menezes and Thomas Laurent were the best of the rest behind the dominant Toyota Gazoo Racing team during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The trio may have been twelve laps down on the race-winning Toyota of Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso, but they were the best of the privateer LMP1 entries, and both the #3 and the sister #1 were the only privateers to see the chequered flag without major issues.
For Rebellion stalwart Beche, it was the first time in his five races with the outfit (he was loaned to Thiriet by TDS Racing for the 2016 event) that he was able to stand on the overall podium, and it was his first visit to the Le Mans podium since 2014 when he aided Rebellion win the LMP1-L class with Nick Heidfeld and Nicolas Prost.
“The main goal has been achieved: we have both cars in good condition at the end of the race,” said Beche. “Third and fourth, it is a great result for the team a great reward for mechanics and engineers who have worked hard on this project for months. Without them none of this would be possible.
“Finishing was for us something important, finishing on the podium even more if we would have liked to finish much higher. It’s a great reward. I thank both technical teams especially my two team-mates who have done a great job.
“I am extremely happy with this result because our crew proved that we had our place in this car and we are a very nice trio. I cannot wait for more! But now rest and enjoy this moment!”
Co-driver Menezes says the result at Le Mans is an incredible one for Rebellion, and is just reward for all the team engineers and mechanics who had worked hard to ready the two R-13s for the event. It was the American racer’s first overall podium at Le Mans, and his second visit to the podium after winning the LMP2 class with Signatech Alpine back in 2016.
“This was an incredible result,” said Menezes. “After all the work, the Team, the mechanics, the engineers, everyone did a magical job to keep this car as good as possible.
“It was a very stressful race. It’s a tough situation because we were not really in competition with Toyota but there was only one step to the podium for the others. Mathias and Thomas did an incredible race.
“We had some problems on track but we could keep this third position until the end of the race. This podium was very magical it was amazing to see thousand of people around us.”
For Laurent, it was a second consecutive podium at Le Mans, having been a part of the Jackie Chan DC Racing LMP2 squad that came agonisingly close to outright victory in 2017, and the Frenchman says that Rebellion will take heart from their performance and come back stronger both in next years 24 Hours of Le Mans and the next round at Silverstone in August.
“Super race, it’s nice to bring a new Le Mans trophy this time in LMP1 Privateer,” said Laurent. “Both Toyota were really untouchable on this circuit and the rule was that they were even more untouchable.
“I’m happy with the result we did what we all wanted: bring back both cars third and fourth of the general. I think we learned a lot, we stopped a lot for small technical and electronic problems. We will come back stronger for Le Mans 2019 and we will already be stronger for Silverstone.”