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The secret life of Olivier Gendebien

3 years ago

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Peter Robinson | Journalist


25 May 2021

One July day in the late Sixties, 12-year-old schoolboy Robert Gendebien returned home from his Belgium boarding school for the summer holidays. Over dinner with his father and two younger sisters Astrid and Colienne, Robert asked the fateful question.

‘Father, did you ever drive in the Le Mans 24 Hour sports car race?

Olivier replied that indeed he had.

‘Did you ever win the race?’


‘Did you win four times?’ his astonished son replied.

‘I did,’ Olivier responded.

Robert swore.

‘But why are you so upset?’ asked Gendebien senior.

‘Because I’ve lost my bet,’ snapped Robert.

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