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G-Drive Loses Le Mans Appeal; Alpine Declared LMP2 Winner

G-Drive, TDS Racing lose appeal to overturn Le Mans disqualification…

Photo: MPS Agency

Signatech Alpine has been confirmed as the LMP2 class winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans after an appeal against G-Drive Racing and TDS Racing’s double disqualification was rejected.

Nicolas Lapierre, Pierre Thiriet and Andre Negrao were made provisional class winners of the French endurance classic after the post-race exclusion of G-Drive’s No. 26 Oreca 07 Gibson, but that result has now been made official.

Both the winning G-Drive machine and its sister No. 28 TDS Racing Oreca, which crossed the line fourth, were disqualified after a non-compliant part was found in each car’s fuel restrictor.

This appeared to help speed up the fuel flow rate to give a 6-8 second advantage over the competition in the pits, which turned into a total gain of four minutes.

An FIA report stated that “a machined part” was found extending from the Dead Man Valve in the restrictor cone which altered the “wetted restrictor surface” laid out in the technical regulations.

TDS, which runs both entries, cited that the part was in line with the rules and responded by lodging action in front of the FIA International Court of Appeal.

However, that motion has since been rejected, meaning the results of Le Mans 2018 have been made official almost four months, or 107 days, after the event.

The findings of the court hearing state that the new part inserted into the G-Drive and TDS refueling systems had a “dramatic” effect that cut refueling times by 25%.

The additional part, which sat inside the fuel flow restrictor unit, created a “much longer and narrower conical angle that would decrease the internal turbulence, and therefore increase the speed of the fuel flow from the supply tank.”

The hearing also concluded that the entrants “did not seek any clearance or guidance” from the FIA regarding the new part, which was “not an essential part” of the fuel flow restrictor assembly.

The now-confirmed double exclusion came after G-Drive dominated the race with Jean-Eric Vergne, Andrea Pizzitola and Roman Rusinov finishing two laps ahead of the No. 36 Signatech Alpine A470 Gibson.

The appeal’s outcome means the No. 39 Graff-SO24 Oreca of Vincent Capillaire, Jonathan Hirschi and Tristan Gommendy is now classified second.

United Autosports’ No. 32 Ligier JS P217 Gibson, meanwhile, has been confirmed in third place, marking first-ever Le Mans podiums for Will Owen, Hugo de Sadeleer and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

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