G-Drive's Rusinov responds to 'very harsh' Le Mans crash penalty

Roman Rusinov says the three-minute penalty he was awarded for his Le Mans 24 Hours crash with a GTE Am car is "very harsh"

Rusinov hit the GTE Am Proton Porsche 911 of Khalid Al Qubaisi at the Porsche Curves in his TDS-run G-Drive ORECA 07 in the second hour of the race, forcing both cars out of the race.

He will be forced to serve the penalty at the next round of the World Endurance Championship at the Nurburgring but said he felt the penalty was unjustly severe having already "paid a lot" for the crash.

"We were preparing for Le Mans the whole year - I definitely didn't want to end my race after an hour," Rusinov, who had started the race from LMP2 pole position, told Autosport.

"We lost plenty of points, we lost the possibility to fight for the race and claim the victory.

"I don't feel comfortable with the fact that the penalty hit the whole team because of the racing incident.

"Why carry over something that happened [in] this race, to the next one?

"We've already paid a lot for this incident. Giving such a penalty to the whole team is very harsh decision.

"We saw such accidents many times in Le Mans.

"Let's remember Mike Rockenfeller crashing with a Ferrari [in 2011], or Allan McNish [that same year]... I don't remember they were getting 3-minute penalties for the next race."

Rusinov added that the speed differential between his ORECA LMP2 and Al Qubaisi's GTE Am Porsche in the Porsche Curves had contributed to the collision.

"Every time you drive LMP2 car and lapping GT car, you're on a knife edge, because you don't know if he sees you," added Rusinov.

"This year, speed has increased and we are approaching GT cars much faster.

"Surely, it's hard for them to realise our approaching speed, because it's not that simple with their mirrors.

"I know this very well, because I used to race in GT car in Le Mans in 2008 and 2009.

"When you're at the Porsche Curves, the speed difference between GT and LMP2 cars is 80km/h. You lap GT cars there very often.

"If you can come alongside the other car before the turn, then you're OK to overtake it, because [with] a GT car entering the corner outside and you stay inside.

"Most times it happens this way, but unfortunately not this time."

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