‘Emotional day’ as Rebllion Racing drive Lola to fourth at Le Mans

RACING driver Nick Heidfeld said he was stunned that his Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota car beat an Audi and came fourth in the world famous Le Mans 24-Hours race in France at the weekend.

Heidfeld, who drove in the race with team mates Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost, told the assembled press: “It feels like a win, even though it is not quite like that.

“We had one Audi behind and we could never have expected that. It is great for the team.”

Audi cars have dominated the race in recent years – and came first, second and third again – so the fact that one was beaten by a Lola-Toyota will not have been missed by those interested in buying the Huntingdon company.

Lola went into administration last month and The Hunts Post understands that up to 50 companies are interested buying out the owner, the Irish millionaire Martin Birrane.

Reliability put the Rebellion crew in the position to be the first petrol-powered car home and the team’s two Lola-Toyota coup�s ran together in the top 10 over the early laps as their chief rivals fell by the wayside.

Car No 12, driven by Heidfield, Jani and Prost, was never out of the top eight.

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Sam Smith, the former Lola press spokesman, was at the circuit – and he told The Hunts Post it was a very emotional day.

“It was a fantastic result for the team – it was an epic race and there were no issues with the cars, not even a puncture. That is unheard of in a 24-hour race.”

Smith was one of more than 70 members of staff made redundant since Lola fell into administration – and was working at the race as a freelancer. Helping out for Rebellion Racing was Adam Airey, another former Lola employee, who had worked on the car at the Huntingdon factory. “Adam was on the pit wall and did a fine job,” said Smith.