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Robertson: Ginetta ‘Needs to Grasp’ Bahrain Handicap Chance

Team LNT driver Charlie Robertson reckons team “has a good chance” in Bahrain with lower handicap…

Photo: Ginetta

Ginetta LMP1 driver Charlie Robertson says Team LNT ‘needs to grasp’ its potential opportunity to win the 8 Hours of Bahrain based on its success handicap advantage.

The No. 5 Ginetta G60-LT-P1 AER that Robertson is sharing with Ben Hanley and Jordan King has the smallest penalty of the cars to receive a handicap for round four of the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship.

Rebellion Racing’s victory in the 4 Hours of Shanghai means the Swiss team’s car, which was then 1kg heavier than the No. 5 Ginetta, is now carrying 39 kg more weight.

“We had a strong showing in Shanghai leading the race and now the success handicap will be in our favor for this weekend,” Robertson told Sportscar365.

“Overall, I think we’re quite strong. Eight hours is a long time to be racing and this track is going to be really hard on tires with the low grip, so keeping them in the window will keep us in a consistent lap time over the stint.

“In Shanghai, we pushed away in the first stint and made the gap and in the second half, there wasn’t quite as much grip. If we can manage that a bit better, we’ve got a good chance.

“If we’ve got the chance [to win] we need to grasp it really.”

Robertson explained that Team LNT now “knows what to expect” from WEC races heading into its fourth event with the Ginetta-AER package.

“I think execution is definitely key to it because we’ve now proven that we’ve got the pace in the car and the drivers,” he said.

“The guys are learning all the time here. Silverstone was our first race as a team and since then the pit stops have been getting quicker and quicker.

“Now we’re up at the sharp end those things will make the difference between us and the results. We’ve just got to be super drilled this weekend and make sure everything runs like clockwork.

“It’s about everyone coming together. If the drivers, the cars and the team can deliver, I think we’ll be in with a good chance.”

Tire Wear the Main Factor for Rebellion

Norman Nato believes Rebellion’s increased success handicap leaves the team in the hunt despite its car gaining 20kgs in the wake of its Shanghai victory.

But the Frenchman, who helped Rebellion to its first on-the-road WEC win with Gustavo Menezes and Bruno Senna last month, told Sportscar365 that the team is concentrating more on tire management than its relative pace.

In terms of handicaps, Rebellion’s car raced at Shanghai with a theoretical 0.89s per lap penalty, but this has increased to 1.36s following its Shanghai triumph.

Essentially, this has reduced its handicap’s effectiveness over Toyota whilst giving Ginetta a larger break.

“In Shanghai, we knew that we had a big chance to win but here we know that it’s going to be more difficult,” said Nato.

“Our car is much better in terms of downforce at Shanghai than here. I think we will struggle as well with overheating the tires.

“The question will be to see during the race how good or bad it will be to manage everything.

“From my experience in GP2, Bahrain was one where you knew that you couldn’t push at all in the race. The tire degradation on the Pirelli was maybe eight seconds compared to qualifying.

“I don’t think it will be that big here [in WEC], but it’s still going to be tough for the tires and the brakes.

When asked about the competition, Nato said, “Ginetta has a big chance especially in qualifying because they have no [large] penalties.

“But if you look at the start of the season they struggled more in the races because of some mistakes or penalties, so this weekend everything is open.”

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

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