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World Endurance Championship at COTA: Rebellion wins

FIA WEC Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of the Americas

* WEC Rebellion Racing triumphs at COTA

Austin, TX, Feb 23/20 (WEC): Swiss LMP1 team Rebellion Racing has claimed its second FIA WEC victory this season after dominating today’s Lone Star Le Mans, round 5 of WEC Season 8. Over 22,000 spectators came to watch the spectacular LMP and GTE machinery this weekend as the World Championship made a welcome return to Texas for the first time since 2017. It also marked the first of a USA double header as the WEC prepares to join IMSA in Florida next month for the highly anticipated SuperSebring.

The non Hybrid Rebellion R13 Gibson car driven by Gustavo Menezes (USA), Norman Nato (France) and Bruno Senna (Brazil) led today’s 6 hour race from start to finish and in the doing so successfully closed in on championship leaders, Toyota Gazoo Racing. Rebellion now lie 33 points behind Toyota in the overall championship standings.

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s No. 8 and No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid cars finished second and third respectively. The No. 8 crew driven by Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley eventually finishing 51.524s behind race leaders, Rebellion Racing. With success handicap in play, Toyota’s strategy was to regain some of the time lost out on track during the pit stops but a near perfect performance from Rebellion dashed any hopes of the Japanese squad taking the competitive edge. The No. 7 crew driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez rounded out the podium in LMP1, the crew eventually finishing two laps behind race victors, Rebellion.

The LMP2 category saw its highest number of entries so far this season with nine cars all battling it out for the win on Texan soil. In the hunt for overall supremacy, it was the No. 22 United Autosports that eventually crossed the finish line first as the ORECA 07 driven by Filipe Albuquerque, Phil Hanson and Paul Di Resta ended the race 24.152s ahead of runners up Jackie Chan DC Racing.

United Autosports’ win is the tenth ever LMP2 victory for a British-flagged team and sees the team catapulted to the top of the standings with a four point lead over JCDCR. The team did not look likely winners initially but the trio’s consistency and a last splash and dash in the final hour ensured the trio had done enough to secure the victory over Will Stevens, Ho Pin Tung and Gabriel Aubry in the No. 37 car. JOTA Sport's No. 38 ORECA belonging to Anthony Davidson, Antonio Felix da Costa and Roberto Gonzalez rounded out the top three. Both the No. 37 and No. 38 crews were equipped with Goodyear’s tyres making it a double podium for the WEC’s newest tyre manufacturer.

Aston Martin Racing’s Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen dominated the GTE Pro category in today’s 6 Hours of COTA, leading the category from pole position through to the chequered flag to take the British marque’s fourth win in Texas in six years. The No.95 Aston Martin Vantage AMR was pushed hard in the closing stages by the No.92 Porsche 911 RSR 19 of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen who finished second. This second consecutive victory for the Danish pairing sees them take a 26 point lead in the FIA World Endurance GTE Drivers’ Championship. Nicki Thiim also set new qualifying and race lap records during the weekend which was enjoyed by a crowd of 22,000. Third place went to the No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi who had some door to door battles with the sister No.97 Aston Martin, with Calado surging past Lynn in the last 25 minutes of the race. The No.71 Ferrari of Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina came home in fifth.

Corvette Racing profited from its first WEC appearance of the season to put more valuable racing miles on the all new Chevrolet Corvette C8.R although Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller struggled to match their competitors on straight line speed here in Austin. Sebring is sure to be different.

The only problem for any of the GTE Pro runners was to the No.91 Porsche GT Team entry of Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz who stopped on track with 75 minutes to go due to a gearbox issue. After a re-set, and a later return to the pits for a battery change, it went on to finish the race. This was only the fourth time in the series’ history that all cars were classified as finishers.

In GTE Am, TF Sport’s No.90 Aston Martin Vantage AMR claimed its third win of the season after a nose to tail and, at times, side to side, battle with the No.98 Aston Martin Racing entry. Salih Yoluc, Jonny Adam and Charlie Eastwood took maximum points in the race to get their championship campaign back on track after a disappointing non finish at the last round in Bahrain. The trio finished 3.6 seconds ahead of the No.98 Aston Martin of Canadian Paul Dalla Lana, Darren Turner and Ross Gunn after a thrilling battle between all drivers in both cars.

At the final round of pit stops the No.98 emerged from the pits ahead of No. 90 thanks to a quicker pit stop, but Eastwood pushed Gunn hard in the final stages and took the lead with 20 minutes to go. The No.56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Egidio Perfetti, Matteo Cairoli and newcomer Laurents Hörr, in his first WEC race, took the final podium place. After leading the category for the first 3.5 hours of the race, Perfetti was passed by Adam but held on to cross the line just 22 seconds behind the class leader.

Click HERE for the results of the WEC 6 Hour at COTA.

The next round of the WEC’s Season 8 will be the 1000 Miles of Sebring as part of the SuperSebring weekend in Florida between 18-20 March.

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