Jean-Eric Vergne leaves the FIA World Endurance Championship race at the Fuji circuit with a yellow card in his backpack.
The 27 year old French driver at CEFC Manor TRS Racing #24 was involved in a collision with Mathias Beche from the Vaillante Rebellion #13 team in the LMP2 category, while the two drivers were in a Slow Zone on the track.
That system was something that Race Control used several times during the day, when the Safety Car period finished, to ensure that the 26 cars wouldn’t arrive at full speed into the braking zone in Turn 1, with all the spray from the cars. Instead they used the zone until the exit of Turn 1, where the cars then could accelerate towards Turn 2 and 3, which resulted in good distance between the cars before the next braking point.
Beche was running behind Vergne during one of those Slow Zone periods, and the Manor car wasn’t as fast on the limiter as the Rebellion car. That resulted in Beche being able to drive up the side of Vergne, which the latter didn’t like at all. He started to move over towards Beche several towns down the straights, and actually hit him.
Both drivers were called to the stewards after the race, and while Beche only got a reprimand, Vergne got a Suspended 30 seconds Stop & Go penalty, which is upheld for the rest of the year.
Vergne had an interview with TV during one of the Red Flag periods during the race, where he explained that he was very annoyed and irritated at Beche, who was trying to overtake during yellow, and wanted to warn him, that he shouldn’t do so. The stewards kind of agreed with that, but was way more unhappy with Vergne trying to take the law into his own hands on the track.
The FIA WEC season have two rounds left on this years calendar – Shanghai on 5 November and Bahrain 18 November. Jean-Eric Vergne is currently 8th in the Drivers Championship, while Beche is 11th.