For its debut season in the FIA World Endurance Championship LM P2 class, the Vaillante Rebellion team secured the LM P2 team champion title after the 6 Hours of Bahrain. As early as the qualifying session, the teams made their ambitions known, forecasting a highly suspenseful race. Here is a look back at the final round of the season for the ORECA chassis.
Right from the outset, this 2017 season promised to be outstanding, with the implementation of new regulations and the first outings for the new ORECA 07.
From the beginning of the season, Chinese team Jackie Chan DC Racing x Jota Sport confirmed it was the outfit to beat, establishing itself as leader through the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Vaillante Rebellion team – arriving in the LM P2 class after several seasons in private LM P1 class – clearly demonstrated its top speed and objectives, as did title-holder Signatech Alpine Matmut.
Upon their arrival at Bahrain, the top three teams understood the titles were still anyone’s game. The points were so close there was no other option but to win the final race in the quest for the crown.
At the first free practice session, the teams began to reveal their plans and strategies. Vaillante Rebellion, Jackie Chan DC Racing and G-Drive Racing edged ahead by placing their cars in the top 3, indicating an interesting qualifying session to come.
On Friday afternoon, that session did not disappoint. Noteworthy was Matthieu Vaxivière’s impressive performance at the wheel of TDS Racing’s #28 ORECA 07, clocking the fastest lap of all the LM P2s in 1:47:00.
The duo Menezes-Negrao achieved an incredible showing to clinch the pole in 1:47:227.
On Saturday at 4:00 p.m. local time, the start was given at the Bahrain International Circuit. In the first laps, Nicolas Lapierre (#36 Alpine A470) set out to defend the top spot gained in qualifying. After a few laps, the team had to contend with premature tire deterioration forcing it to pull back. This slowdown benefitted Vitaly Petrov at the wheel of Team CEFC Manor TRS Racing’s #25 ORECA 07 with Vaillante Rebellion and Jackie Chan DC Racing waiting in the wings. Differing in strategy, the Russian was forced to yield to the pressure of the #38 ORECA 07 followed by the #31. From then on, a real battle between the two leaders was launched. Two hours into the race, André Negrao effectuated a remarkable climb with the Alpine to snatch fourth position which the French team kept through the checkered flag.
Still in the lead, Jackie Chan DC Racing was able to stave off the pressure brought by Vaillante Rebellion. In the last lap of the race, it was the British team’s strategy that made all the difference, gaining on its rival at every lap. In the end, the trio Senna-Canal-Prost claimed the top step on the podium.
In the LM P2 standings, Vaillante Rebellion won the champion title with the #31 driver line- up of Senna-Canal (Nicolas Prost missed a race, therefore not a contender for the title), followed by runner-up Jackie Chan DC Racing and the Signatech Alpine Matmut in third as it ceded its crown.
After clinching the title in the European Le Mans Series just a few weeks ago, the ORECA 07 has now added another major achievement to its record.
As every year, 2017 was synonymous with competition, extraordinary highlights and accomplishments. Rendez-vous in December for the next round of the Asian Le Mans Series with the ORECA 05…and in 2018 for much more to come from the ORECA 07!