The unreliability of the LMP1 cars at Le Mans meant that two LMP2 cars finished on the outright podium. The No.38 Jackie Chan DC Racing team were second overall and first in class, with the No.13 Rebellion completing the podium in third.
It was touch and go for the Rebellion squad though, as earlier in the race the car suffered with starter motor issues which required the team to remove the engine cover and hit the offending part with a hammer (no, really) in order to get the Oreca’s Gibson engine to fire up again after a pit stop.
To get around this the team came up with the rather clever time-saving solution of cutting a hole in the engine cover so that mechanics could access the starter motor much more easily. It seemed to work as the car recovered to finish second in class and drivers Mathias Beche, David Heinemeier Hansson and Nelson Piquet Jr. got to enjoy standing on the overall podium.
Unfortunately for the team, video evidence was presented to the stewards after the race which showed the hole. As a result Rebellion has been disqualified for modifying a homologated part – something that isn’t allowed in LMP2 unless it’s as a result of crash damage, or other mitigating circumstances. To make matters worse the team attempted to hide evidence of the hole ahead of post-race scrutineering. Oh dear.
The disqualification means that the No.37 Jackie Chan DC Racing car of Alex Brundle, David Cheng and Tristan Gommendy move up to third overall, making it a double podium for the Jota Sport-run team. Third place in LMP2 goes the way of the No.35 Signatech Alpine entry.
It’s a pretty clear cut (pun absolutely intended) transgression of the rules, but it sucks on a number of levels. The drivers have been stripped of a memorable podium finish, and the drivers of the promoted cars didn’t actually get to be on the podium. It’s bad for fans too, as nobody likes to see results being changed once the race has finished.