Rebellion a threat in WEC title race - Toyota

Toyota says the speed Rebellion showed with heavy success handicap in Bahrain makes it a true challenger for the LMP1 title in the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship season

Rebellion a threat in WEC title race - Toyota

Rebellion drivers Bruno Senna, Norman Nato and Gustavo Menezes overcame a per lap penalty of 1.36 seconds to secure pole position in the 8 Hours of Bahrain, comfortably outpacing the #5 Ginetta of Charlie Robertson, Ben Hanley and Jordan King that was pegged back by only 0.024s per lap.

The Swiss squad would have also been a strong contender for victory, had its race not been "destroyed" by contact from Robertson's Ginetta on the opening lap.

The #1 R-13 eventually finished third behind the two Toyotas after it suffered a gearbox issue - something Senna and Menezes traced down to the first-lap clash with Robertson.

Asked if Rebellion is now a serious threat in the championship fight, Toyota team director Rob Leupen told Autosport: "If they can continue like this they are.

"But they need to win some races and I would [have] expect[ed] them here [in Bahrain] to be bit stronger. At least they were as quick as us.

"They had their issues, which you need to sort it out. Also we had some problems in the race but they were not as dramatic as Rebellion encountered.

"So from that point of view, yes they are a threat. They are a competitor, they should be.

"And the regulations are made in the direction that they have to be. So look for some interesting races in Austin and after that Sebring and Spa and then Le Mans."

Following the fourth round of the season, the two TS050 Hybrids continue to sit at the head of the standings, with the championship-leading #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez now 30 points clear of the Rebellion.

This should mean that the Swiss squad will run with a lighter car at the next round in Austin in February, while the two Ginetta G60-LT-P1s should virtually be free of any success handicaps.

With the Toyotas set to carry an ever bigger penalty relative to its rivals, Leupen expects a much stronger challenge from Rebellion in the coming rounds, while also not ruling out a victory for Ginetta.

"This is the maximum [penalty] we could get, so yes," he said when asked if he expects Austin to be even tougher than Bahrain for the Japanese manufacturer.

"The car #7 stays where it is, the car #8 gets a bit better.

"And it will obviously be a bit better for Rebellion in Austin and very, very good normally for Ginetta. But we'll see.

"We also expected here not to be winning. So we would have seen that it was more difficult for us, but in the end eight hours is a long race.

"Our car was extremely reliable and the driver line-up and team is very strong.

"So with that point of view we could win here, the others were not able to push.

"Same would be in Austin. We have to see. We will not be the quickest. Theoretically Ginetta should win at a certain time and then even in front of us.

"Okay, Austin is a six hour race which is a bit shorter than the eight hours here, maybe that something which could put them be successful."

"I think the championship will be decided in Le Mans."

shares
comments
Ex-Ford drivers Tincknell, Westbrook get Aston Martin Le Mans seats

Previous article

Ex-Ford drivers Tincknell, Westbrook get Aston Martin Le Mans seats

Next article

ACO and IMSA announce prototype rules convergence

ACO and IMSA announce prototype rules convergence
Load comments
How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear Plus

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance

WEC
Jun 14, 2021
Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts Plus

Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts

The Japanese manufacturer is celebrating its 100th world championship prototype start in this weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the World Endurance Championship. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago

WEC
Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Plus

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

OPINION: Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Plus

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory

WEC
May 4, 2021
Seven things to watch in the 2021 World Endurance Championship Plus

Seven things to watch in the 2021 World Endurance Championship

Beyond the slender grid of headline-grabbing hypercars, there are numerous subplots and changes to look out for in the new season of the WEC, which gets underway at Spa this weekend. Here's the seven key things you need to know about

WEC
Apr 30, 2021
What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era Plus

What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era

A slim field of three cars will be entered in the Hypercar class for the first round of the World Endurance Championship's post-LMP1 age. But there are plenty of reasons for optimism with the new wave of manufacturer entries and competing class philosophies just around the corner

WEC
Apr 29, 2021
How Aston Martin Racing scaled new heights in the Prodrive era Plus

How Aston Martin Racing scaled new heights in the Prodrive era

The 2021 World Endurance Championship kicks off at Spa this weekend, but for the first time since its 2012 inception there will be no works Aston Martins in the GTE-Pro class. As its new era in Formula 1 begins, Aston leaves behind a legacy of success courtesy of its Prodrive-run factory programme that was a hit from the word go in 2005

WEC
Apr 27, 2021
How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname Plus

How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname

Sportscar racing lost one of it's greatest talents 20 years ago today when Bob Wollek was knocked from his bicycle prior to the Sebring 12 Hours. The enigmatic Frenchman never won the Le Mans 24 Hours, but many still remember today why 'Brilliant Bob' became a legend

WEC
Mar 16, 2021