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Bamber Handed Le Mans Grid Penalty After Spa Crash

Cadillac’s Earl Bamber judged to be at fault by WEC stewards for crash that brought 6H Spa to a halt…

Photo: Javier Jimenez/DPPI

Cadillac driver Earl Bamber has been handed a five-place grid penalty for next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans for causing the accident that brought the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps to a halt.

Bamber walked away from the race-stopping crash that occurred early in the penultimate hour of Saturday’s third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, which also involved the No. 31 WRT BMW M4 GT3 of Sean Gelael.

The driver of the No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R had been battling Neel Jani’s No. 99 Proton Competition Porsche 963 for third place coming through Radillion when he moved to the right out of his rival’s slipstream, making contact with Gelael’s BMW in the process.

A stewards’ bulletin issued late on Saturday evening ruled Bamber to blame for the crash as he “hit car 99 and moved to the right, causing a collision with car 31.”

As such, it was determined that the New Zealander will be demoted five places on the grid for the next WEC race he contests, which will be Le Mans next month.

Bamber, who is due to share the No. 2 car with regular WEC teammate Alex Lynn and Alex Palou at La Sarthe, was also given three penalty points on his license.

“Great that Caddy built strong chassis, so it’s nice to walk away from that one,” commented Bamber. “It’s a real shame for the result because I think we on to something real good today.

“We showed really good speed today. I think we had good strategy, good speed, so again we showed like in Qatar that if we have things go the right way that we can definitely challenge for podiums in this championship.

“It’s good to realize that. Imola was just a bump on the radar performance-wise. And now we look forward to Le Mans.”

GM director of motorsports engineering Mark Stielow added: “Most importantly, we are glad that Earl was not injured in the incident and has been evaluated and released from the care center.

“The construction of the No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R and its safety systems did their job.

“Earl and Alex Lynn, plus the entire No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R team, were looking strong to challenge for a podium spot. They will do the same next month at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

Jamie Klein is Sportscar365's Asian editor. Japan-based Klein, who previously worked for Motorsport Network on the Motorsport.cоm and Autosport titles, covers the FIA World Endurance Championship and SUPER GT, among other series.

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