Bruno Senna believes the gap Rebellion built up while leading the Lone Star Le Mans was the key to the eventual race win as the Swiss squad was at risk of having to make an extra stop for fuel.
Senna, Gustavo Menezes and Norman Nato took a dominant victory in Sunday’s six-hour race at Circuit of the Americas, despite a tense final stage in which the better fuel economy of the two chasing Toyota TS050 Hybrids meant that the #1 Rebellion R13-Gibson would potentially have had to make one extra stop compared to their hybrid rivals.
After the race, the Brazilian explained it had been crucial for Rebellion to create as big a gap as possible in case the extra stop was needed.
“It was important to pull away from the Toyotas as much as possible,” Senna said. “We knew they had a few more laps per stint than us, which meant they wouldn’t have to do a splash and we would probably have to.
So, I wanted to build a big gap to make sure we had a big enough cushion behind us to do the splash if we needed to and for safety cars or anything else that could happen.”
The win was Rebellion’s second victory of the season after Shanghai, and their third pole position in a row. Senna speculated the controversial start in Shanghai, when Ginetta and one of the Toyotas were penalized for overtaking before the start line, aided him in Austin.
“Also, on the race start with the cold tyres and the low speed of the safety car, it was tricky. But our first pole position in Shanghai has put a lot of doubt in people’s minds on the race starts so when I went the Toyotas were not immediately going with me, so that made it a bit easier.
In any case it was a great job from the team, and I think we did a good race with no mistakes and here we are. Happy days!”