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21 October  2012

Lotus Rebellion Racing dominates Petit Le Mans from the pole

- 1st win at Petit Le Mans
- 1st win in the American Le Mans Series
- 6th win of the season after Spa, Le Mans, Silverstone, Sao Paulo and Fuji

Rebellion Racing claimed their first victory in the American Le Mans Series at Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta.

The Lola-Toyota coupé driven by Neel Jani, Nicolas Prost and Andrea Belicchi claimed victory in the 1000 miles enduro after dominating since the early free practices and qualifying.
The Muscle Milk HPD Honda challenge disappeared early in the race after the #6 car suffered from a contact in traffic. The Muscle Milk team was able to repair the car and rejoin the race but with fourty five laps deficit over the Rebellion #12 Lola-Toyota.

From that moment, Neel Jani, Nicolas Prost and Andrea Belicchi were in a position to control the race. They maintained a strong pace with safe driving in traffic. Once again, the car was extremely reliable and it was a trouble free race for the #12 Lola-Toyota.

Seven safety car periods in the race prevented the three drivers from fully extending their lead over the other prototypes, but they took the chequered flag with a three lap advantage over the second placed car, the #055 HPD.

This win is another main achievement for the Swiss team after securing the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP1 Teams just a week ago.

After this win on American soil, Rebellion Racing has confirmed its position as one of the best LMP1 teams in World endurance racing.

Coming to race at Petit Le Mans was a gamble. This success is a sweet tasting reward for the team that didn't spare any effort and have taken a big risk, splitting crews, cars and parts between Asia and America to take its chance at Petit Le Mans.

The main partners of the team, Rebellion Timepieces and LEMO Connectors that have made this challenge possible, are rewarded for all the support they give to the team.

Toyota Motorsport GmbH are associated with this great achievement powering the Rebellion Lola cars with reliable and high performance Toyota RV8KLM engines. And once again, Michelin's tyres have helped the team obtain the highest level of performance coupled with impressive durability enabling the team to save time in the pits by triple stinting the tyres.

Neel Jani – Lola-Toyota #12 :
« The start of the race was great for me. I had a battle with #6 that put a lot of pressure on me from the beginning. And with the traffic, it went closer and closer and he passed me during the first pit stop. We had decided before the race not to take too many risks. So after the Muscle Milk car contact in traffic, we continued to drive as fast as we could until the end but in a safe way. It's great to win Petit Le Mans. It's our first win overall this year and it's nice to realize it here at Road Atlanta !”

Nicolas Prost – Lola-Toyota #12 :
“ Racing in the USA was a whole challenge : the tracks are really different from European style circuits. More cars on less wide tracks means that cars are closer to each other. That's part of the game. And you have to take care of that to win. I'm very proud to be part of the team that won Petit Le Mans. We will keep this for life.”

Andrea Belicchi – Lola-Toyota #12 :
« My job has been to stay safe through the traffic. There were a lot of cars on the track and it was not easy to find a safe path around them. I received a lot of support from the team on the radio and it was helpful and encouraging. It's nice to take the car to the end in this way... to win Petit Le Mans !”

Bart Hayden – Team Manager of Rebellion Racing :
« This is the second goal we have achieved in this 3 weeks of overseas campaigning. Committing to this 3 races in 3 weeks challenge has been a massive undertaking for all the team. All the guys are completely focused on that and there have been no complaints from them. The engineers and mechanics have produced a fast and reliable car that allowed us to set a comfortable race strategy. Our drivers have driven in a really sensible way. Before the start, we knew that an incident in the traffic would change the race and that is what happened.
This is a first win for REBELLION Racing in the United States, and our first ever overall race win in endurance racing; it's a superb feeling ! We can now go to Shanghai with no pressure. We will have a big party there with all the team. And what about achieving another strong result in China ?»