It could be another week before the FIA Court of Appeal reaches a decision over G-Drive Racing/TDS Racing’s appeal against its exclusion from the class win at the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Following yesterday’s hearing, French media reports indicate that lawyers for Signatech Alpine, which inherited the win after the No.26 Oreca Gibson, driven by Roman Rusinov, Jean-Eric Vergne and Andrea Pizzitola, was disqualified for a fuel rig regulation infringement, have told the team that “judges apparently want to take their time before reaching a verdict.”
The controversy occurred when the TDS Racing team introduced an additional component to its fuel rigs, effectively defeating the fuel fill flow restrictor – a measure that the team maintain was entirely within the published regulations.
It was excluded from the results on the day following its on-track win, but later appealed and opted to take its case to the FIA Court of Appeal.
In the meantime, Signatech Alpine provisionally inherited the win for its No. 36 Gibson-powered Alpine A470 shared by Nicolas Lapierre, Pierre Thiriet and Andre Negrao, and must wait several more days to see whether its victory is confirmed, or handed back to the Russian-flagged team.
Team principal Philippe Sinault said: “It’s really a pity. This has been going on for a while now; it’s detrimental to what we do and to the image of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I am surprised, a little disenchanted and disappointed. For sure I was already disappointed [before today’s events]: I thought that September 18 was already far from the race weekend [June 16/17]. It’s ruining the party.”
“It should be fairly straightforward to rule this case. It is never a good thing to leave things unsettled like this. But as we always said, we won’t go against the work done by this institution [the FIA]. We trust them”