The LMP2 class-winning #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca of Jean-Eric Vergne, Roman Rusinov and Andrea Pizzitola has sensationally been stripped of the victory after scrutineers at the Circuit de la Sarthe deemed they were running with a non-compliant part in the fuel restrictor.
The car had finished more than two laps clear of the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut of Nicolas Lapierre, Pierre Thiriet and Andre Negrao who now inherit the victory, while the Graff-SO24 Oreca of Vincent Capillaire, Jonathan Hirschi and Tristan Gommendy now places second.
The same penalty to that of the G-Drive Racing entry has been applied to the #28 TDS Racing Oreca of Francois Perrodo, Loic Duval and Matthieu Vaxiviere, which should have inherited the final spot on the podium, meaning the #32 United Autosports Ligier machine of Hugo de Sadeleer, Will Owen and Juan Pablo Montoya move up from fifth on the road to claim the bottom step.
The scrutineers found that the two disqualified teams were able to refuel their cars ‘significantly faster’ than anyone else due to the presence of an ‘additional machined part’ in the fuel flow restrictor, which was not present in the initial drawing of the restrictor and as such against the regulations.
“The technical delegates issued a report to the Stewards that “an additional machined part not featuring in the drawing is inserted into the flow restrictor, changing the wetted restrictor surface described by the regulatory drawing,” said the stewards decision.
“The Technical Delegates provided the Stewards with photos of the restrictor, the referenced part and its assembly to the “dead man valve”. The Technical Delegates also retained and controlled the parts. The checks by the Technical Delegates were done in the presence of the Competitor’s mechanics.”
It continued: “The contested part is a machined part that extends from the dead man valve and inserts inside the cone of the Flow Restrictor.
“The Technical Delegates stated to the Stewards that they started their investigation of the competitor’s refuelling system following the race when they noted the competitor was able to refuel significantly faster than any of their future.”
G-Drive Racing has made their intentions clear that they will appeal the decision.