Sunday, July 14, 2024


Vanthoor claims Kubica deliberately pushed him within the race-ending clash at Le Mans

BMW driver Dries Vanthoor believes AF Corse Ferrari rival Robert Kubica deliberately pushed him off the track in an try to lap him at night during last weekend's 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Vanthoor expressed his disappointment at what he felt was an absence of respect from the previous Formula 1 race winner after he was sent to a medical center for tests as a consequence of the numerous effects of the collision.

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Speaking on the Over the Limit podcast, which he co-hosts together with his brother and Porsche works driver Laurens, Vanthoor said: “Personally, I believe yes, he did it on purpose because the best way he tried to defend himself was inappropriate.

“The way he didn't care about me after the accident, didn't show me any respect or simply wasn't human also showed me that it was intentional. He just didn't care, he just didn't come to see how I used to be doing.

“I had just a little concussion, I even have just a little thing on my left foot. I don't even attempt to text and learn the way I feel [was disappointing].

“If I used to be in an accident with someone and I knew they were injured or needed to go to a medical center, you’ll just be respectful. I do know we’re racing and we wish to race hard. It was just disrespectful [sic] and for me not done and something you don't do in racing. This is totally mistaken.

“You should show respect. We all wish to be secure, that is the primary priority of each organizer, FIA, ACO, SRO. This is the primary priority in racing.

“Even if he was pissed, even when it was my very own mistake through the accident, and let's be honest, it wasn't, I might still have said something.

#83 AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Robert Kubica, Robert Shwartzman, Yifei Ye

#83 AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Robert Kubica, Robert Shwartzman, Yifei Ye

Photo: Alexander Trienitz

“I would say, 'Sorry, man, I hit you.' But he just turned right like there was nobody there, and I was going there, completely straight.”

Vanthoor was attempting to stay on the lead lap in his No. 15 WRT BMW M Hybrid V8 within the ninth hour, having just switched from wet tires to slicks, when he encountered the race-leading satellite No. 83, Kubica's Ferrari 499P, on the track. Mulsanne straight.

The Belgian driver on cold tires missed the second chicane and needed to take the emergency route before returning to the track, which put him in the course of a fight with Kubica, who had previously raced for WRT in LMP2, and the No. 92 Porsche GT3 automotive.

But as the previous F1 driver tried to hop over each as he approached the braking zone of the Mulsanne right-hand corner, he veered right and hit Vanthoor's BMW, sending it head-on into the barriers on the left-hand side of the road.

The force of the impact was such that the automotive bounced and rolled onto the inside the track before coming to rest with severe front-end damage.

Vanthoor's collision with Kubica meant a premature end to the BMW's race, with the No. 20 sister automotive already sent to the workshop after a separate accident during which Robin Frijns crashed on the Ford Chicane track.

The stewards found Kubica guilty of causing the accident and gave him a 30-second stop/go penalty, which WRT boss Vincent Vosse described as too lenient.

Explaining the moments leading as much as the crash, Vanthoor said: “As we entered the second chicane, a Ford appeared right in front of us.

“So I believed, f**k, I even have to get past this Ford. So we braked before the bend, just behind the Ford. I braked in the identical place as him.

#15 BMW M WRT BMW M Hybrid V8 Team: Dries Vanthoor, Raffaele Marciello, Marco Wittmann

#15 BMW M WRT BMW M Hybrid V8 Team: Dries Vanthoor, Raffaele Marciello, Marco Wittmann

Photo: BMW AG

“But I believed, 'I've got to place this Ford between us.' [so] I don't have a blue flag because he has to pass Ford first. However, on the wet a part of the track I used to be driving on the within, on cold tires, and didn’t enter the corner.

“I'm back in power again [after the chicane] and he attacked me again.

“I attempted to make use of the Porsche to slow him down, but it surely didn't work because he was in such a gear, so I used to be honest by making room and letting the Porsche go so it wouldn't pose a threat.

“And unfortunately he decided to make the situation more dangerous and pushed me off the road. That's all, actually.”

Vanthoor revealed that he received loads of hateful messages on social media after the crash, with many accusing him of not following the blue flags with the faster Ferrari hot on his tail.

While admitting he was instructed to do whatever was needed to remain on the lead lap and stay within the hunt for a top result, the 2017 GTE Am class winner at Le Mans said he had enough time under the principles before he let Kubica Through.

“They [BMW] he told me that it would be crucial to keep the car behind to stay on the lead lap, because when you're not on the lead lap, unless the safety car comes out, it's going to be very difficult to get the lap back,” he added.

“When you're on a lap, it's very, very difficult or inconceivable to do something.

“To all of the haters who said 'why did you cross the blue flags', I saw the replays and I saw the blue flag. But while you're in battle or for the time being, I truthfully haven't seen it [it].

#15 BMW M WRT BMW M Hybrid V8 Team: Vanthoor dries

#15 BMW M WRT BMW M Hybrid V8 Team: Vanthoor dries

Photo: BMW AG

“And even when I saw it, I wouldn't do anything since the rule within the WEC is that you have got one or two sectors to let someone fight for blue flags.

“I could not have followed the rule completely, however the rule was that I had two sectors to let someone through. I wasn't attempting to pass it up, but people might stop saying it since it's bullshit.”

Kubica, for his part, denied causing the incident intentionally, claiming that any try to touch one other automotive at high speed would have jeopardized his possibilities of winning.

“First of all, I am not a person who would hit another car at 300 km/h while leading the race and 18 hours before the finish line,” he said in an interview with Mikołaj Sokół for Motowizja.

“If I drove into it, I might risk landing on the railings on the precise. This is the primary argument.

“The second argument is that if it were me [causing the collision], my car should have started much earlier and not only after contact. But that wasn't the case.”

Kubica also heavily criticized Vanthoor for not respecting blue flags or allowing him to cave in easily when he was about to take a lap, saying: “I come from a championship where you respect other drivers, especially the leaders, especially when you’re being lapped.

“On the opposite hand, there are championships, and that’s clearly where Dries races, where the blue flags and the principles and regulations don’t have anything to say. [about them]. I'm lucky to have grown up during that first championship.

#83 AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Robert Kubica

#83 AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Robert Kubica

Photo: Marc Fleury

“However, there are drivers in slower cars who wish to prove themselves in any respect costs. I have no idea why.

“I do know Dries was instructed to remain on the lead lap in any respect costs. Well, if someone tells me to leap from the eighth floor, for instance an engineer, I won't do it. But apparently there are drivers who would do it. This.”

Kubica's No. 83 499P, shared with Ferrari factory drivers Robert Shwartzman and Yifei Ye, retired from the race with just over three hours remaining as a consequence of hybrid problems.

You can take heed to the Vanthoor brothers' podcast in its entirety Here.

Additional reporting by Tomasz Kaliński

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