Shanghai victory was "meant for" Rebellion

Gustavo Menezes believes victory in the Shanghai round of the FIA World Endurance Championship was “meant for” Rebellion after it defeated the factory Toyotas in a straight fight for the first time.

Listen to this article

Menezes, Bruno Senna and Norman Nato won the third round of the 2019/20 season in the #1 R-13, ending a winning streak for Toyota that stretches back to last season’s Fuji round.

It marked Rebellion’s second outright victory in WEC and its first on-the road triumph, as its maiden win was inherited after both Toyotas were disqualified at Silverstone in 2018.

The Swiss privateer outfit was helped by an unfavourable success handicap for Toyota, with both the TS050 Hybrids pegged by 2.74 second a lap on account of exceeding the 40-point threshold to the last-placed LMP1 car in the standings.

Read Also:

That meant the #1 R-13 held a comfortable lead heading into the second half of the race, and Toyota’s fuel advantage was then negated when an ill-timed FCY was deployed to remove tyre debris from the GTE Pro-leading #95 Aston Martin Vantage.

Menezes said the timing of the FCY, which meant the #8 Toyota would also have to pit for a late splash-and-dash like the Rebellion, made him believe that luck was on his team’s side in Shanghai.

“It was actually very fun to be able to actually fight," he said. “It’s been a long time since the LMP1 class has seen any kind of real racing and even though the success handicap was there I’d say it was a little bit towards advantage for us, that was obvious. 

“It was still the healthiest we’ve seen any kind of racing in the WEC championship. To be able to fight with the Toyotas and have some entertainment for the fans of the championship and for us it was great. 

“And once I got in the rhythm I maintained it. What I was really ecstatic about was the pace on the second stint of the tyre. We managed to kind of keep the separation from the cars behind whilst on the second stint and then on new tyres. 

“So that gave us a lot of confidence giving the car to Bruno. And have to say he did a splendid job. 

“The FCY kind of timed itself well for us. And I thought that the race was meant for us today. So very grateful.”

Senna took over the car for the final stages of the race and gradually extended his lead over the #8 Toyota, eventually securing a dominant one-minute victory for Rebellion.

With that result, Senna has now won in all four classes of WEC, a feat made possible thanks to a single race-winning GTE Am appearance with Aston Martin back in 2013.

The Brazilian said he struggled in the early part of his stint on worn-out tyres, before a fresh pair of rear tyres “transformed” the Rebellion and allowed him to streak clear of the field.

“To be fair I felt Norman’s pain because I started on a full set of quali tyres and we were really struggling with pace,” Senna said. “Actually I was losing time to the guys behind me on old tyres, second-stint tyres. So it was a real struggle. 

“And then once we put two new tyres on the rear, the car transformed itself completely. It was a new car. It gave me a second and a half average, just like that. So I could push. 

“I know that these guys pushed everything they had. They did a really good job considering every conditions we had. And the team did a good job.

"We’ve been having lots of reliability issues, small things but they all count. Today the car ran from beginning to the end without any issues. 

“Good job from the team and, as Gustavo said, maybe today was meant for us. So we’ll take it and we’re happy about it.”

Additional reporting by Jamie Klein

shares
comments
Shanghai WEC: Rebellion beats the Toyotas to win
Previous article

Shanghai WEC: Rebellion beats the Toyotas to win

Next article

Ferrari stripped of Shanghai GTE Pro WEC victory

Ferrari stripped of Shanghai GTE Pro WEC victory
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Prime

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, are arguably the greatest sportscars of all time.

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Prime

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return Prime

The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return

The Peugeot 9X8 will make its FIA World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend. The French manufacturer has gone radical and will be hoping it doesn’t need to overhaul its contender, as it did with its first Le Mans challenger…

WEC
Jul 8, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans Prime

How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future Prime

How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans Prime

The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans

Three young Britons will make their first starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend in the highly-competitive 23-car GTE Am field. But how did they get here? Motorsport.com hears their stories.

Le Mans
Jun 7, 2022
The wingless wonder Peugeot hopes will restore it to Le Mans glory Prime

The wingless wonder Peugeot hopes will restore it to Le Mans glory

Peugeot went radical with the initial plan for its Le Mans Hypercar project, and then stuck to its guns. Here’s how things are shaping up a few weeks before the debut of the 9X8 in next month's Monza World Endurance Championship round

WEC
Jun 1, 2022
How Toyota’s sole survivor turned the tables at Spa Prime

How Toyota’s sole survivor turned the tables at Spa

After a chastening opening to the season at Sebring that ended in an enormous accident, Toyota's #7 crew got their World Endurance Championship underway with victory at a treacherously slippery Spa to make up for its sister car's Sebring defeat to Alpine, as Glickenhaus's promising qualifying turned to disaster in the race

WEC
May 9, 2022