Formula 1
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
41 days
Formula E
R
Rome ePrix
10 Apr
Next event in
33 days
MotoGP
28 Mar
FP1 in
18 days
R
Doha GP
02 Apr
Next event in
25 days
IndyCar
R
Birmingham
16 Apr
Next event in
39 days
23 Apr
Next event in
46 days

Rebellion's Menezes "really surprised" to split Toyotas

Rebellion Racing's Gustavo Menezes says he was "really surprised" to split the Toyotas in qualifying for the Le Mans 24 Hours with what he described as "pretty damn close to a perfect lap".

The American driver posted a lap of 3m15.822s in Friday morning's 'Hyperpole' session to get within 0.555s of the pole time established by Toyota driver Kamui Kobayashi, also marking the fastest-ever time of the Circuit de la Sarthe for a non-hybrid car.

It came after the #1 Rebellion R-13 shared by Menezes, Bruno Senna and Norman Nato suffered a problem with its Gibson engine that forced the trio to sit out the second practice session on Thursday ahead of first qualifying.

Read Also:

Having had limited running going into Hyperpole, Menezes admitted that he was surprised to post such a quick laptime, one that puts Rebellion ahead of the second Toyota on the grid.

"It was a dramatic start for us with the blown engine in FP2," Menezes told Motorsport.com. "I went into this morning feeling fairly ok, but not extremely in the rhythm to put together a lap.

"I did FP4, I did two timed laps, and I hadn’t driven new tyres, so I wasn’t 100 percent sure of what kind of pace gain we would have. But coming around Turn 1 and 2, my eyes opened. I thought, ‘oh my gosh, the car is incredible, it’s time to push a little bit’.

"Every time I came around a turn, the delta got faster. We got one perfectly clear lap and when I came out of the Ford chicane, I saw on the dash ‘3m15s’ and I thought, ‘oh my gosh, that must be one of the three or four fastest times around Le Mans'.

"It was an extremely clean lap and I don’t know how much I had left. It was pretty damn close to a perfect lap. The balance of the car was there today.

"We went into qualifying thinking a top four would be good, and we got on the front row. It really surprised everyone, including myself, so really happy with it."

#1 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-13: Bruno Senna, Gustavo Menezes, Norman Nato

#1 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-13: Bruno Senna, Gustavo Menezes, Norman Nato

Photo by: Rainier Ehrhardt

Rebellion heads into Le Mans off the back of a disappointing showing in the previous FIA World Endurance Championship race at Spa in mixed conditions, with the Swiss team's CEO Calim Bouhadra admitting that a wet race at La Sarthe would be a "nightmare".

Menezes said he was optimistic that rain may not play too big a role in the race.

"The forecast has changed every day, but it seems to have got better," he said. "Before it was saying rain all night, now it’s looking like a little bit of rain in the afternoon and then clear for the rest of the race. We’ll have to see, but hopefully we can have a dry track and push. 

"I think it will be hard, we can’t be too confident, but I can tell you that even if we don’t have what it takes, we’ll be giving it everything to take home a win."

shares
comments
Peugeot chooses Hypercar for 2022 Le Mans return

Previous article

Peugeot chooses Hypercar for 2022 Le Mans return

Next article

WEC releases condensed six-round 2021 calendar

WEC releases condensed six-round 2021 calendar
Load comments

About this article

Series Le Mans , WEC
Event 24 Hours of Le Mans
Drivers Gustavo Menezes
Teams Rebellion Racing
Author Jamie Klein
Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile Prime

Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile

Making a return to top-flight sportscar racing after 50 years away, Ferrari will enter the Le Mans Hypercar ranks in 2023. The Italian marque denies the link with Formula 1's new cost cap that frees up resources, but it's certainly no coincidence...

WEC
Feb 25, 2021
Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights Prime

Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights

Oliver Gavin has stepped down from the full-time Corvette Racing line-up after a stellar career with the team spanning nearly 20 years. He looks back on a stint that encompassed, among other successes, five Le Mans 24 Hours victories.

Le Mans
Jan 28, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Prime

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it…

Le Mans
Jan 24, 2021
The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home Prime

The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home

Keeping trophies and momentos of key triumphs is par for the course for motorsport professionals, but what are the most cherished souvenirs picked up by the drivers and engineers who have seen and done it all?

General
Dec 26, 2020
The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era Prime

The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era

Porsche is returning to the top class of Le Mans with an LMDh prototype that it hopes will write its next successful chapter in sportscar racing. But it will have to go some to emulate its 956/962, a car which defines the Group C age more than any other.

Le Mans
Dec 16, 2020
How Tom Kristensen forged his ‘Mr Le Mans’ legend Prime

How Tom Kristensen forged his ‘Mr Le Mans’ legend

He is synonymous with success at the Circuit de la Sarthe, but Tom Kristensen's sportscar legacy amounts to much more than his record-breaking nine Le Mans wins, as the most successful driver ever at Sebring and a world champion to boot…

Le Mans
Dec 7, 2020
Why Audi’s shock return promises a new age for sportscars Prime

Why Audi’s shock return promises a new age for sportscars

OPINION: The news that Audi will return to Le Mans means we'll at last get to see the fight promised in 2012 against Peugeot and Toyota. It also gives LMDh a tangible form, which could open the floodgates for more like-minded marques to follow suit…

WEC
Dec 1, 2020
The eternal debate revived after the 2019/20 WEC season Prime

The eternal debate revived after the 2019/20 WEC season

It may have been missed amid the clamour over Lewis Hamilton's seventh F1 title, but Britain had another world champion crowned last weekend. Mike Conway's WEC crown raises an old conundrum - does title glory make up for the pain of Le Mans defeat?

WEC
Nov 19, 2020