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Rebellion Could Shift LMP1 Swansong to Bahrain Finale

Rebellion CEO says the team is aiming to race beyond Le Mans to complete the WEC season…

Photo: Rebellion Racing

Rebellion Racing could contest all of this season’s FIA World Endurance Championship rounds despite the extension of the 2019-20 calendar beyond the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Swiss outfit announced in February that Le Mans would be its last appearance in the series, but date changes in reaction to the global health crisis mean the current campaign will now end at Bahrain in November.

Le Mans will instead serve as the penultimate round of the season on Sept. 19-20, while the Total 6 Hours of Spa will come before it in mid-August.

Rebellion CEO Calim Bouhadra told Sportscar365 that the team is aiming to have one Rebellion R13 Gibson on the grid in Bahrain, although this would depend on budgets.

“The fact that two or three weeks ago we were in the position to do Le Mans in June, and now everything has changed, has made the situation for us quite a little bit more confusing,” he said.

“But we will do everything to do the three races [at Spa, Le Mans and Bahrain].

“For the last race, to be honest, it’s a question of budget. We have already paid a lot to be involved at [the 1000 Miles of] Sebring.

“When they decided to cancel Sebring, we had already booked the hotels and flights for the team and mechanics, so we had a lot of costs there.

“It’s crazy what’s going on in the world; it’s an economic crisis. We don’t know if we can afford this last race, but right now I would say that I’m going to push and do everything that is possible for one car.”

Forgoing the 8 Hours of Bahrain would effectively cost Rebellion a shot at winning the world championship.

The privateer is battling Toyota for the title with its full-season trio of Gustavo Menezes, Bruno Senna and Norman Nato just 19 points shy of leaders Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez.

“Two cars is probably more difficult, but I will do my best to do one car for Bahrain, because I think we could be in a strong position and could not only win Le Mans but the championship as well,” said Bouhadra.

“Depending on what happens at Le Mans, our strategy will be to try to make something happen for the last race.

“We know that it’s the end of the championship and there’s a celebration done by the WEC so it makes sense, when you do a season, to finish at the last race of the season.”

Bouhadra clarified that Rebellion still intends to enter Spa and Le Mans with two cars.

It was previously unclear if the team would withdraw from LMP1 in June regardless of Le Mans being rescheduled to a later date.

Rebellion’s second car, which has not raced since the Silverstone season-opener, is set to be driven by Romain Dumas, Nathanael Berthon and Formula 2 racer Louis Deletraz.

“Spa is one of the best tracks in the world and we definitely want to compete there,” said Bouhadra.

“I would say that I want us to have two cars for the Spa race. It’s good preparation for Le Mans, so we need to do this race to prepare for the 24 Hours with the car and the drivers.

“We have a new, young driver in Louis Deletraz, and even though he is very talented he needs to understand the car and endurance racing.

“So, for me, it’s important to do this first race before Le Mans.

“Obviously, Le Mans [will be] with two cars. Our target is to win, so we are going to put everything that is possible that we can do, to bring the trophy back to Switzerland.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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