Category Archives: Endurance

ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE GTE TAKES DRAMATIC WIN AT SNOWY SPA

New Vantage GTE takes second win of the FIA WEC Super Season
Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin record first victory for Aston Martin Racing
GTE Am championship contenders TF Sport finish second with V8 Vantage

Saturday 4 May, Spa-Francorchamps: The new Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE recorded its second FIA World Endurance Championship GTE Pro class victory in one of the most dramatic, unique and snow-affected sportscar races ever to be held at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

Driving the #97 Vantage GTE, Maxime Martin (BEL) and Alex Lynn (GB), delivered a perfectly judged win in a race that featured everything, including four safety car periods and frequent heavy snow showers. The last of these caused the red-flag that halted the race ten minutes early while Martin was holding a slender lead in incredibly difficult conditions. This was the first win for the #97 car since the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours and marked a maiden win for Martin and Lynn as Aston Martin Racing drivers on the first anniversary of the Vantage GTE’s debut.

The #97 crew were in contention from the start and the team made a sequence of prescient strategy calls allowing them to stay ahead of both the unseasonal weather and the changing order in a highly competitive race. Martin, who survived early contact from a rival at the start, delivered a strong first stint to manage the early snow storms and hand the car over to Lynn in third.

The Briton forged his way to the front of the field, with a charge that included a brilliant pass around the outside of Blanchimont on the leading Porsche, before handing back to Martin. The Belgian then managed his tyres and his fuel intelligently through a lengthy final Safety Car period and found himself defending his lead from his closest rival as the race went back to green with 15 minutes to go. Martin called upon all of his vast experience and knowledge of Spa to build a small gap before the organisers threw out the red flag once and for all as conditions deteriorated.

“This was amazing,” said Martin, who drove for an extraordinary three hours and 41 minutes. “We’ve not always been lucky so far in this campaign, but to get to the end of the season with a win like this, at my home race at Spa, is the best way to capture my first win for Aston Martin. We were really competitive but the conditions were really hard. Strategy played a big part in this result and sometimes it was a bit of a gamble. This race had everything, which made it even better to win it. The team did an amazing job, we were quick in the pitstops, we were quick in both conditions and Alex did a fantastic job too, so in the end it was a proper team win.

” Lynn added: “This was a very emotional win for our crew. We’ve had a lot of opportunities to get some good results this year and fate has not played in our favour. This weekend, honestly, the car has been really fast and to win today is such a special feeling. The whole crew managed a flawless race and it’s amazing to get my first win for Aston Martin Racing.”

The sister #95 Vantage GTE, driven by Danish duo Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen, finished seventh having run competitively early on in the race. Misfortune befell the car mid-race, but Thiim was charging back through the order when the red flag called an early halt to the race.

In GTE Am, Aston Martin Racing partner team TF Sport recorded a brilliant second place with Salih Yoluc (TUR), AMR Junior driver Charlie Eastwood (GB) and Euan Hankey on the venerable V8 Vantage GTE having started from the class pole. The reigning world champions Paul Dalla Lana (CDN), Pedro Lamy (GB) and Mathias Lauda (A) finished in sixth position in the #98 Aston Martin V8 Vantage having led for various portions of the race. Aston Martin Racing Managing Director John Gaw said: “This was a very tough race today, but probably one of our best ever team performances. This was a great time to do it just before Le Mans and also this victory means that both the #95 and #97 crews have delivered a victory with the Aston Martin Vantage GTE in its first year. If we’d said at the start of the year that both cars would have won a race before we went to Le Mans we would have been very happy. The #97 car has been on it all weekend and the guys have deserved this win. The #95 car was unlucky not to have been on the podium as well, but we split the strategies through the race to maximise our chance of victory, which we might not have done if we were fighting for a championship. But this is the perfect preparation for Le Mans.”

The final round of the championship, the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans, takes place on Sunday, 16 June, 2019

Signatech Alpine Matmut reclaims the championship lead after another podium at Spa

Signatech Alpine Matmut takes its seventh consecutive podium in the LMP2 category of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
  • André Negrão, Pierre Thiriet and Nicolas Lapierre finished third in apocalyptic conditions at Spa-Francorchamps.
  • The no.36 Alpine A470 takes command of the championship heading into the 24 Hours of Le Mans finale (June 15-16).

Beginning on Thursday, the Signatech Alpine Matmut team and the entire field was welcomed to Spa-Francorchamps by extremely difficult and unpredictable weather. 

Following a first session focused on set-up, the no.36 Alpine A470 was caught out by the rain in the afternoon. The French squad still managed to gather a trove of information in the final session before André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet went on to qualifying fifth in LMP2. 

The race began under threatening skies at 13:30 on Saturday. First in the car, André Negrão immediately picked up a place, but it began to rain at the end of lap two. 

Very quickly, the conditions became hellish as light snow began to fall and the temperature dropped to 1°C. The Brazilian came in for Michelin rain tyres, then the team adapted its strategy thanks to a lightning pit-stop at the end of the first safety car period. 

Alpine’s rivals switched to slicks during a break in the weather as well as the second neutralization, and Andre Negrão emerged in the overall lead before handing over to Pierre Thiriet as the third hour began. 

On a dry track surface, the French driver put in a solid double-stint by combining speed and consistency at half-distance, but Ho-Pin Tung managed to surprise him just before the storms returned.

Nicolas Lapierre took over to pour the pressure on the Chinese driver. While hail pelted Spa-Francorchamps, the Platinum driver made his stop a lap earlier than his competitor to retake the lead.

The advantage that he quickly built was reduced to zero by another safety car intervention. Pastor Maldonado made the most of it as the race entered the final hour. Following another pause in the action, Nicolas Lapierre continued his triple-stint being third with 15 minutes remaining while the two cars in front of him still had to stop.

The torrential conditions and sometimes-precarious visibility forced the race stewards to wave the red flag 11 minutes from the chequers. Despite an error-free effort from the drivers on the track and the team with the strategy, the Alpine A470 had to settle for third place, which runs its series of consecutive podium finishes to seven and gains the upper hand from the championship rivals.

The final round of the reconquest will take place next month at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Quotes

Philippe Sinault, Team principal Signatech Alpine Matmut

“In my 29 years in this sport, I have never been involved in a race where it snowed! it was hard to get the right tyres and operating window in these hellish conditions, especially as we are still learning the Michelins. Nevertheless, we did a very good job because our undercut strategy saw us take the lead in LMP2 and overall after a relative sub-par qualifying run. We led for more than half of the race, the drivers made no mistakes and the team was fantastic in being by far the fastest in the pits. However, I am a bit bitter because victory was within our grasp if not for the last two safety cars… The field regrouped, one team did not have to stop and another did not reach the minimum driving time of its Silver driver, which became inconsequential with the red flag. The team deserved better, but the most important thing is that we reached our main target. We will head to Le Mans with the lead in both championships. As we have always said, the titles will be decided at the 24 Hours and we cannot wait to be there!”

Nicolas Lapierre

“We did the most important as we wanted to keep the lead of the Drivers’ championship while taking control of the Teams’ classification. We also learned a lot about the Michelins in all conditions, but there is still a little disappointment because the two cars ahead of us would have had to make another stop to finish the race. The entire team did an excellent job on the strategy, and we didn’t turn a wheel wrong. This was our race to win if not for the red flag, but we are already looking ahead to Le Mans, where we will arrive more serene and in a position of strength.”

André Negrão 

“The race was very tricky with snow, rain and clear skies from start to finish. There were a lot of highs and lows, but we made no mistakes. We all worked very well and we will battle for the title just until the end. I am very happy with our performance and our result, even though it could have been better without the red flag. Motorsport is sometimes like that and now it’s time to focus on Le Mans!”

Pierre Thiriet

“I am very pleased, because I had a lot of fun in my double-stint. I was confident and the car was fast. We did a fantastic job as a team, especially with the strategy and in the pits. Our risks paid off and my two team-mates managed to get the very most out of the car in extremely tough conditions. We deserved to be better rewarded, but there are still a lot of positives to take from the race and just one team ahead of us was eligible to score points. It will be all to play for at Le Mans and we will arrive in the best conditions.”

Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps – LMP2
1. DragonSpeed n°31 129 laps
2. G-Drive Racing n°26 +3.955s
3. Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 +4.432s
4. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°38 +8.627s
5. TDS Racing n°28 + 1 lap
6. Racing Team Nederland n°29 + 2 laps 
7. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 + 2 laps
8. Larbre Competition n°50 + 3laps

FIA Trophy LMP2 Drivers
1. Nicolas Lapierre / André Negrão / Pierre Thiriet – 143 points
2. Gabriel Aubry / Stéphane Richelmi / Ho-Pin Tung – 139 points
3. Roberto Gonzalez / Pastor Maldonado – 117 points
4. Jazeman Jaafar / Nabil Jeffri / Weiron Tan – 98 points
5. Anthony Davidson – 83 points

FIA Trophy LMP2 Teams
1. Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 – 143 points
2. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°38 – 139 points
3. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 – 138 points
4. DragonSpeed n°31 – 117 points
5. Racing Team Nederland n°29 – 70 points
6. Larbre Competition n°50 – 67 points
7. TDS Racing n°28 – 42 points

Herrero and Parisy begin the season in style

With two hotly contested races that went right down to the wire, the Alpine Elf Europa Cup thrilled the fans at the Coupes de Pâques weekend! Winners of the opening two rounds of the season at Nogaro, Mateo Herrero (Milan Compétition) and Mike Parisy (CMR) lead the way in the general classification.

Following pre-season testing last month; the field returned on Saturday to Nogaro for free practice. Gaël Castelli (CMR) set the pace with a best time of 1:34.271s in the first session, a new record for the category at Circuit Paul Armagnac.


RACE 1: HERRERO TAKES THE OPENER

In qualifying, Mateo Herrero won the pole by a scant 0.033s from Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition) at the conclusion of a session cut short by the incident of Mike Parisy.

Despite a few sprinkles, the field started on slicks. Mateo Herrero maintained the lead while Gaël Castelli got past Nicloas Milan in a field marked by an incident involving Julien Neveu (Autosport GP), Rodolphe Wallgren (Milan Compétition) and Mike Parisy.

As the laps ticked off, the race intensified and a proper five-driver battle formed for the victory amongst Mateo Herrero, Gaël Castelli, Nicolas Milan, Laurent Hurgon (Autosport GP) and Marc Guillot (Milan Compétition).

Constantly hounding the leader, Gaël Castelli couldn’t find an opening. Behind, things heated up between Laurent Hurgon and Marc Guillot. They relegated Nicolas Milan to fifth before Marc Guillot made an unsuccessful bid to pass Laurent Hurgon for third place.

Three days after celebrating his 17th birthday, Junior driver Mateo Herrero took the win with a 0.6s margin of victory from Gaël Castelli. Laurent Hurgon completed the podium ahead of Marc Guillot and Nicolas Milan.

Yann Zimmer (CMR) won his battle with Antoine Miquel (Milan Compétition) for sixth place while Mike Parisy, Vincent Beltoise (Racing Technology) and Julien Fébreau (Racing Technology) – winner in the Gentlemen category – rounded out the top ten.


RACE 2: PARISY GEST HIS REVENGE

The second qualifying session was even more contested than the first as Mike Parisy won the pole by less than a tenth of a second from Yann Zimmer, Mateo Herrero and Vincent Beltoise. Proof that the competitiveness of the Alpine Elf Europa Cup, the first nine were covered by less than a quarter of a second!

At the start, Mike Parisy held his advantage from Yann Zimmer while Vincent Beltoise surprised Mateo Herrero. Two laps later, the field bunched up when Mike Parisy went through the gravel. Yann Zimmer tried a move to take the lead, but Vincent Beltoise, Mateo Herrero and Marc Guillot took advantage of his optimism to gain position.

Vincent Beltoise pressured Mike Parisy, but the race leader firmly protected his position. The return of Mateo Herrero behind his rival allowed him to pull away, but the winner of race one was overtaken by Marc Guillot, Yann Zimmer and Nicolas Milan in the aftermath.

Mike Parisy managed his lead to go on for the win ahead of Vincent Beltoise while Yann Zimmer completed the podium after he got around Marc Guillot on the last lap.

Following the retirements of Nicolas Milan, and Laurent Hurgon on lap 10, Gaël Castelli was promoted fifth place ahead of Mateo Herrero, once again the highest finishing Junior. Julien Neveu was seventh ahead of Antoine Miquel while Jean-Baptiste Mela and Gentleman driver Rodolphe Wallgren completed the top ten.

The Alpine Elf Europa Cup will be back in action next month at the Hockenheimring on May 24-26.


MEANWHILE…
Alpine shined throughout the Easter weekend at Nogaro. In addition to the hotly contested races among the Alpine A110 Cup cars, the Alpine A110 GT4 of Stéphane Lémeret and Pierre-Alexandre Jean scored a double win to take the lead in the general classification of the French FFSA GT Championship.


QUOTES

Mateo Herrero (winner race 1, leader in the general classification)
“The assessment of my first round in the Alpine Elf Europa Cup is really positive. I won my first race on Sunday and I am really proud considering the experience of my adversaries. The second was a little more difficult, but I had the pace. I thought that the differences between the cars would be greater, but I was able to quickly adapt. Now it is time to get ready for the next round at Hockenheim. Looking at my results, I might have a target on my back, but the most important thing is that the performance is there when it counts!”

Mike Parisy (winner race 2) 
“We were rather comfortable in practice, but we went into a downward spiral with a technical issue caused by an off in qualifying, then contact in race one. We wanted to come back strong to pick up our pace and that is exactly what we did in taking the pole. I was able to use all my experience to manage the traffic and build a lead at the opportune moment. Once was clear, I was able to keep the field at bay and win this race, which compensates for our somewhat negative first day. Despite my experience, I am a bit of a novice in this very competitive, exciting and pleasing championship. I am having a great time with the Alpine A110 Cup. We will now continue to work on the car with the CMR team before heading to the international circuits. This is an encouraging start, but there is still a long way to go!”

Julien Fébreau (VIP driver) 
“This was a fantastic weekend. I knew from my first lap that it would be a lot of fun. I was just concerned that I wouldn’t progress as much as I wanted, but I did it and it’s a great satisfaction, as is my victory in the Gentlemen category! I got my first look at the Alpine A110 Cup Saturday morning. It is a very easy car to understand and never violent. As the laps went by, I reduced the gap to the leaders from four seconds to 1.4s. It’s still motor racing, but you can really try to find your limits right from the start, even on a formidable circuit like Nogaro. Whether you are a novice, gentleman or professional, I believe everyone can find their pleasure and challenge. It is both a learning car and a race car when you see the exceptional skill level of the drivers at the sharp end of the order… And I am not even mentioning how popular it is!”

Signatech Alpine Matmut still up front!

  • At Sebring (United States), Signatech Alpine Matmut scores its sixth consecutive podium in the LMP2 category of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
  • With their runner-up finish, André Negrão, Nicolas Lapierre and Pierre Thiriet reclaim the lead in the Drivers’ Championship.
  • The n°36 Alpine A470 is now five points from the lead of the general classification before returning to Europe for the 6 Hours of Spa (May 2-4) and 24 Hours of Le Mans (June 15-16).

Last week the Signatech Alpine Matmut team arrived in Florida to begin its discovery of the Sebring International Raceway.

Following two days spent learning the Michelin tyres and the challenges posed by the atypical and bumpy legendary track, the n°36 Alpine A470 finished second in the three free-practice sessions prior to Nicolas Lapierre and Pierre Thiriet qualified third in LMP2 Thursday evening.

The race began in sweltering conditions Friday at 4pm. First in the car, Nicolas Lapierre held position before picking up a place on lap four with a classic overtake move at the inside of turn one.

Pierre Thiriet took over for his double stint. After some time in third place, the Frenchman regained his spot as the skies became more and more threatening. 

After the first quarter of the race, an incident involving an LMP1 car caused a full-course yellow. The team chose to put André Negrão in the car just prior to the intervention of the safety car. Like Pierre Thiriet, the Brazilian drove a double stint before another full-course yellow in the aftermath of his stop. 

While night fell over Sebring, it became clear the race would conclude once the eight-hour mark was reached. In parallel, Pierre Thiriet was back in action before leaving Nicolas Lapierre to go for it. His two stints and the next two of André Negrāo allowed the French squad to consolidate second place as the race entered the final hour.

It began to rain in the final 20 minutes and the team made the perfect call in switching to full wets. Nicolas Lapierre’s efforts were annihilated by the incident involving Loïc Duval and the safety car period just until the chequered flag. 

Second in LMP2 and fifth overall, the Alpine A470 made it six podiums in a row while claiming a second top five in the 2018-2019 Super Season.

Quotes

Philippe Sinault, Team principal Signatech Alpine Matmut

“This atypical weekend concludes with a strong result. Sebring is a unique circuit on the calendar with the bumps, the huge grip differences, its extremely hot climate and large temperature variations. Nicolas put in an excellent start before our main rival – the n°38 Jackie Chan DC Racing – hit troubles. This quickly changed the way we raced and we chose to limit our risks. Our strategy called for Pierre to go out relatively early and he did a great job in his double stint in such conditions. This allowed us to stay in the top two and he did a good job in the evening despite a dirtied windscreen caused by another car. In parallel, André and Nicolas gave it their all to keep the leaders in their sight just until the final drama. When it began, to rain, we made the right decision in going to full wets in contrast to our rivals who opted for intermediates. If not for the accident of the TDS and the end of the race behind the safety car, our gamble would have paid off, but this sixth straight podium underscores our consistency and are place among the favourites for the title!”

Nicolas Lapierre

“There are a lot of positives to take from this weekend, notably when it comes to strategy, the pit stops, the team’s excellent adaptation to this unique track and the beginning of our partnership with Michelin. On the other hand, we might have lacked just a bit of performance in the cooler temperatures. I think we have identified the problem and we are ready to work on that aspect, but it was a strong weekend with this second place and our return to the top of the overall standings for the drivers.”

 

 

André Negrão 

“Right from the tests last weekend, we found several ways to be better in race conditions. Yet, we were not as good when it was colder, as was the case in qualifying. There was very little in it, but that does not detract from our result. We are still in contention in the Teams’ standings and we have reclaimed the lead in the Drivers’ classification. I am now looking forward to returning to Europe for our tests ahead of Spa and Le Mans.”

 

 

 

 

Pierre Thiriet

“The beginning of the race was tough with the pace of our rivals. During the night, we tried to maintain the gap and we managed to do so before this final portion of the race where the team made the right call with the tyres to seal this excellent second place. It wasn’t easy, especially for Nicolas who had to deal with the rain, but I want to congratulate the team for the fine job it has done during our two weeks in Sebring. The result is positive and promising as we head to the last two rounds of the season!”

 

 

 

1000 Miles of Sebring – LMP2
1. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 239 laps
2. Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 +27:421s
3. DragonSpeed n°31 + 2 tours
4. Larbre Competition n°50 + 5 laps
5. Racing Team Nederland n°29 + 9 laps
6. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°38 + 30 laps
NC. TDS Racing n°28  

FIA Trophy LMP2 Drivers
1. Nicolas Lapierre / André Negrão / Pierre Thiriet – 125 points
2. Gabriel Aubry / Stéphane Richelmi / Ho-Pin Tung – 123 points
3. Jazeman Jaafar / Nabil Jeffri / Weiron Tan – 98 points
4. Roberto Gonzalez / Pastor Maldonado – 92 points
5. Erwin Creed / Romano Ricci – 61 points

 

FIA Trophy LMP2 Teams
1. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 – 130 points
2. Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 – 125 points
3. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°38 – 123 points
4. DragonSpeed n°31 – 92 points
5. Larbre Competition n°50 – 61 points
6. Racing Team Nederland n°29 – 60 points
7. TDS Racing n°28 – 30 points

The Alpine A110 GT4 wins first-ever GT4 International Cup

With the victory of the n°36 Alpine A110 GT4 entered by the CMR team and driven by Pierre-Alexandre Jean and Pierre Sancinéna at the Bahrain International Circuit, Alpine adds another success to an extremely rich and eloquent history.

Organised by SRO during the Bapco Bahrain GT Festival at Sakhir, the first GT4 International Cup, a genuine World Cup for the category, brought together 21 crews and 10 constructors from around the world to conclude the 2018 season in style.

Right from free practice, the Alpine A110 GT4s prepared by the CMR team with Signatech technical support were on point. The n°36 set best time in the opening session before the n°26 of Antoine Leclerc and David Tuchbant did the same in session two.

After a low-profile qualifying despite Antoine Leclerc’s fifth place in Q2, the Alpine showed once again its potential in the two qualifying races. While the n°26 hit troubles in the field in both races, the sister car made two superb strong runs before the night-time grand finale. Forced to start at the rear of the field for the main race, David Tuchbant soon had to retire while Pierre-Alexandre Jean was starting to put on quite a show.

Third in the FFSA French GT Championship at just 17 years of age, Pierre-Alexandre Jean passed a dozen cars to move up to 7th on lap one. Fifth a lap later, the French driver was up to third place on lap five.

During the driver change window, Pierre-Alexandre Jean extended his stint as long as he could. With a clear track ahead of him, he put in a qualifying-like lap to make the difference before handing over to Pierre Sancinéna.

Once behind the wheel, the first champion of the Alpine Elf Europa Cup left the pits with the lead thanks to the hard work of his team mate. Never worried, the Normandy native was able to manage his pace while also gradually increasing his lead despite the German armada that was chasing from behind.

A few second after the clock reached the one-hour mark, the Alpine A110 GT4 in the blue, white and red Elf colours sealed the win and its triumph in the GT4 world… Barely five months after it competition debut!

Lionel Chevalier, Signatech Technical Director: “We are extremely proud to see an Alpine A110 GT4 win the first-ever GT4 International Cup. This victory is the reward for the work the Signatech Automobiles team put in for nearly 18 months and for the past several months with the CMR team. I want to congratulate them all, but also Pierre-Alexandre Jean and Pierre Sancinéna, two drivers who have starred in the Alpine A110 GT4 and Alpine A110 Cup. Following our successes in the both the French and European championships, this first world crown confirms the potential of our car. This is an incredible source of motivation for the future, even more so with such a high level of competition this weekend! We can’t wait to be in 2019 season to defend this title and set off on the conquest of different national and international championships.”

Signatech Alpine Matmut continues its streak of podium finishes in Shanghai

  • Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet finished on the podium for the fifth time in as many races this season in the 6 Hours of Shanghai.

  • At the conclusion of a parcelled race, Signatech Alpine Matmut is now second in the LMP2 category of the World Endurance Championship.

  • The entire team will now use the winter break to retake the championship lead at the 1000 Miles of Sebring on March 15, 2019.

Delayed several days due to a technical problem with its Paris to Shanghai flight and forced to make an unexpected stop in Siberia, all the members of the team managed to show up in time, helped by some rivals in the FIA World Endurance Championship paddock.

The French squad was on top form straight away under very capricious skies at the Shanghai International Circuit. After trying several aerodynamic configurations and the two types of rain tyres on Friday; the sun made a surprising return the next day.

Thanks to the intense work put in during the three free-practice sessions, Nicolas Lapierre set the fastest time in the LMP2 category. The n°36 Alpine A470 however, had to settle for fourth place in qualifying as Pierre Thiriet got caught out in his learning of the Chinese circuit in dry conditions.

Heavy down pours fell on Shanghai on Sunday. The race began behind the safety car and was red flagged after 15 minutes. Nicolas Lapierre and his rivals had to wait an hour before the action resumed. The Frenchman still moved up to third place before being surprised by the hellish conditions prior to another stoppage.

Once again, the race restarted behind the safety car, which stayed on circuit longer than planned because some drivers lost control of their cars due to aquaplaning on the start/finish straight! The team then chose this moment to readjust its strategy according to the weather.

The team’s effort paid off with Nicolas Lapierre moving back up to second place before handing over to André Negrão, shod on intermediate tyres. The Brazilian driver’s first stint was marked by another safety car period and the return of the rain before he was relayed by Pierre Thiriet just before hour five.

In the still difficult conditions, the two drivers continued to share the driving duties giving it their best as the light rapidly diminished. Moving back up to fourth, Pierre Thiriet finished the job as he avoided the final dangers of this race and stroke back as the Alpine A470 crossed took the chequered flag in third place.

 

Quotes

Philippe Sinault, Team principal Signatech Alpine Matmut
“It was a very difficult race both for the nerves and tactics. Nicolas got a good start before the first interruption. In order to anticipate an eventual definitive red flag, we adapted our strategy before readjusting it because the weather was forecasted to improve a little. As the rain began to let up, tyre pressures played a role and André stayed in contact while Pierre did his best as he discovered these conditions on this track. Pierre was back in the car for the end of the race to reach his minimum time behind the wheel and to secure a well-earned top three result for the entire team. This fifth podium is a satisfaction. We knew that the Shanghai round would be tough, our main rivals were racing on home soil. We are now 10 points behind and there is still a long way to go in the championship with two big coefficient races. We are still in the battle and every point will count!”

 

Nicolas Lapierre
“The conditions made this race extremely difficult. We had to gamble on strategy and we did a good job. My pace was a little off at half-distance, but there was plenty of speed and we had to push hard to reach this third place. We will now make the most of the break to retake the championship lead right away.”

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André Negrão
“With the several interruptions, I think we got the best result we could today. It was very hard to find the right pace and maintain it. I switched to the intermediates just as the track was beginning to dry, but the rain intensified again and I preferred to drive carefully to avoid losing a lot of points. It will all be to race for next year and we will continue to battle just until the 24 Hours of Le Mans!”

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Pierre Thiriet
“It was a very nervous time in the car between the extreme conditions and the mediocre visibility! I believe we did the business avoiding the numerous pitfalls. Although we will arrive in Sebring in second place in the championship, we can be proud of the work we put in over the week. The team made no mistakes with strategy or pit stops. It is a positive outcome and we will give it everything we’ve got at Sebring.”

6 Hours of Shanghai – LMP2

1. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°38 109 laps
2. DragonSpeed n°31 + 13.013s
3. Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 +53.375s
4. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 + 1 lap
5. Racing Team Nederland n°29 + 9 laps
6. Larbre Competition n°50 + 11 laps
NC. TDS Racing n°28

FIA LMP2 Teams Trophy 

1. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°38 – 112 points
2. Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 – 102 points
3. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 – 98 points
4. DragonSpeed n°31 – 73 points
5. Racing Team Nederland n°29 – 47 points
6. Larbre Competition n°50 – 46 points
7. TDS Racing n°28 – 30 points

Pierre Sancinéna wins the title in a dramatic finale!

The final round of the Alpine Elf Europa Cup lived up to all its promise. Despite the efforts of Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition), who won both races at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit, Pierre Sancinéna (CMR) has won the first edition of the Alpine Elf Europa Cup!

The Alpine Elf Europa Cup made its way to Catalunya for the season finale where 19 avid drivers concluded the year in style behind the wheel of their Alpine A110 Cups.

RACE 1: FIRST WIN FOR MILAN

Following free-practice run in dry conditions, the track was wet for qualifying. On his last attempt, Nicolas Milan edged Marc Guillot (Milan Compétition) and Jean-Baptiste Méla (Autosport GP) for the pole.

At the start, Nicolas Milan stayed on the inside at turn one to maintain the lead, but Marc Guillot moved ahead at the next corner only to see the pole winner immediately re-take the position. Behind them, Jean-Baptiste Méla dropped down the order and Sylvain Noël (Racing Technology), Laurent Hurgon (Autosport GP) and Julien Neveu (Autosport GP) took advantage to close right up to the leading duo.

The safety car was called out on lap two to allow for the removal of the Alpine A110 Cup of Pierre Macchi (Autosport GP) from the gravel trap. When the race resumed, Nicolas Milan contained Marc Guillot, while Laurent Hurgon slipped past Sylvain Noël for third place. A little bit further back, Vincent Beltoise (CMR) saw his slim title hopes vanish when he was forced to retire.

The chase group was led by Gaël Castelli (Milan Compétition), Pierre Sancinéna and Julien Neveu. For several laps, the three put on a splendid battle for fifth place. Laurent Hurgon dropped out with three laps remaining and Gaël Castelli went on to overtake Sylvain Noël for third place.

Marc Guillot tried to find an opening on race leader Nicolas Milan, but the veteran held on to score his maiden victory in the Alpine Elf Europa Cup by a narrow 0.142s. Gaël Castelli completed the all Milan Compétition podium, which is the first sweep of the top three in the history of the category.

Fourth place went to Julien Neveu ahead of Sylvain Noël, who clinched the Gentleman category title. Sixth place finisher Pierre Sancinéna was followed by Junior driver Marc De Fulgencio (Team VRT), who was ineligible to score points. Mathieu Blaise (Racing Technology), Jean-Baptiste Méla and Thomas Padovani (Milan Compétition) completed the top ten.

RACE 2: DAGGERS DRAWN FOR THE FINALE

On Sunday morning, three drivers were still in contention for the title: Pierre Sancinéna (128 points), Nicolas Milan (117 points) and Sylvain Noël (113 points).

In qualifying, Laurent Hurgon edged out Marc Guillot for the pole by just 0.01s. Among the contenders, Nicolas Milan was fourth, just ahead of Pierre Sancinéna, who had set the best time only for it to be disallowed for not respecting the track limits. Tenth on the grid, Sylvain Noël knew he would now need a miracle in the race to win the championship.

At the start, Laurent Hurgon was immediately overtaken by Nicolas Milan, Marc Guillot and Gaël Castelli. Pierre Sancinéna remained in fifth place, which would not be good enough for the title if Nicolas Milan won the race!

On lap three, the retirement of Pierre Combot (Autosport GP) brought out the safety car. When the race went green, the order remained intact, but the group of leaders was tightly bunched at the mid-way point of the race with six seconds covering the top 12. Julien Neveu moved up to sixth place after contact between Vincent Beltoise and Sylvain Noël.

The last laps were full of twists and turns. First, Pierre Sancinéna re-took control of his fate by surprising Laurent Hurgon, but Julien Neveu got around straight after. Meanwhile, Gaël Castelli dropped out and lost any hope of third place.

Nicolas Milan went on for his second win of the weekend ahead of Marc Guillot. Julien Neveu was third, ahead of Pierre Sancinéna, who won the title for just one point. Fifth place was taken by Junior class winner Jean-Baptiste Méla, while sixth place overall Sylvain Noël took top honours among the Gentleman. Thomas Padovani, Marc De Fulgencio, Laurent Hurgon and Matthieu Blaise rounded out the top ten.

Quotes

Pierre Sancinéna (Winner of the 2018 Alpine Elf Europa Cup)

“I am at a loss for words…It was both hard and fantastic, but the conclusion is simply amazing. When Alpine announced the creation of this competition, I didn’t hesitate for a second due to my past history with the brand. I have family in Dieppe and my first engineering apprenticeship took place at the factory in Dieppe. I have a lot of affection for Alpine and thus I am tremendously proud to become the first Alpine Elf Europa Cup champion with the flash on my chest. I knew the finale was going to be stressful and that I had to avoid taking the slightest risk. I was aware that fifth place wouldn’t be enough on Sunday, but I was never in doubt. The last two laps were very long… This title is the reward for a magnificent season. I really want to thank everyone who contributed to this victory: my family, my sponsors, the CMR team and of course Alpine!”

Nicolas Milan (2nd in the general classification, winner races 1 and 2)

“I am very happy to have won my first two races in the Alpine Elf Europa Cup. I wasn’t fast enough at the start of the year, and then wasn’t very lucky and these wins have come a little too late, but there was very little in it for the title. Second place is still a very satisfying result, in as much as it was far from a given because I was fourth coming into this weekend. Fortunately, I could count on the performances of my team mate Marc Guillot. We did a good job preparing the settings for this meeting and it paid off. This is encouraging for next year and we can never under-estimate our rivals. In any case, it has been a fine season and I’ve had a lot of fun driving this car.”

Sylvain Noël (3rd in the general classification, Gentlemen category champion)

“I was here three weeks ago in the French FFSA GT Championship and I thought that would be enough. We may have underestimated this meeting, because we couldn’t make up the deficit to our rivals who were better prepared. We did though reach our start of the season objective of wining the Gentleman category, but I am sure we could have aimed higher had we put in a little more resources and if we had a little more luck at certain times. After a six-year break, I am nevertheless very satisfied with my return to competition!”

Four in a row for Signatech Alpine Matmut

  • With the third place finish of Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet, Signatech Alpine Matmut finishes on the podium for the fourth consecutive time at Fuji Speedway in Japan.

  • With four podiums in as many races this season the Alpine A470 maintains its lead in the World Endurance Championship LMP2 category before the Shanghai round on November 16-18.

  • This weekend, Signatech Alpine Matmut received its 24 Hours of Le Mans winner’s trophy.

There was a rather unique ceremony on Friday. 10 days after being officially and definitively declared the winners of their category in edition 86 of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Signatech Alpine Matmut and its drivers received their trophy from ACO President, Pierre Fillon.

On the track, the cloudy skies remained clement for the first two free-practice sessions. Despite frequent interruptions due to the loose yellow kerbs, the team worked flat out and finished with the best time in session two.

Following the final session where priority was given to tyre strategy, qualifying was confided to André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet. The session was extremely competitive with the duo placing the Alpine A470 fourth in LMP2.

On Sunday, the race began on a wet track. In these difficult conditions, Nicolas Lapierre got off to a perfect start to move up to second place before taking the lead in the opening half hour of the race. The circuit began to dry but still remained rather slippery. After a restart, Nicolas Lapierre was caught out by the continually changing track conditions and dropped five positions at the end of the hour one.

The team reacted immediately by switching to slick tyres for the end of his triple stint. Just before half distance, the n°36 Alpine returned to the provisional top three. Pierre Thiriet took over and his two strong stints allowed him to pull away from those behind and close the gap to the n°38 Jackie Chan DC Racing entry.

André Negrão also fulfilled his part of the job during his double stint, running a solid third prior to handing over to Nicolas Lapierre in the final hour. The Brazilian driver was back in the car for the last 30 minutes of the race with Ho-Pin Tung in his sights. While he managed to reduce the gap, he ran out of time and had to settle for third place.

Quotes

Philippe Sinault, Team principal Signatech Alpine Matmut
“There is a little disappointment, but there are several positives to remember. Our level of performance has improved since Silverstone. Everyone has gotten better, whether it is the team during the stops, the adjustments and preparation of the car, or the drivers, like Pierre, who had a great race. This allowed us to retake the lead rather quickly and we led three times thanks to the pit stop cycle. Despite an unfortunate race incident due to the conditions, we reacted well in making up a large portion of the minute lost. We still lead the championship and that is most important for staying mobilized and focused. There is still a long way to go in the championship. We have only completed half of it. We must always run up front and that is what we have done since the beginning of the year.”

Régis Fricotté, Alpine Sales and Competition Director
“This result is a fine way to end the weekend in which the Alpine network and the Japanese customers had the opportunity to test drive the Alpine A110 on the Fuji circuit while also getting the chance to discover Alpine’s racing programme. Although we always aim for the win, this third place finish sees us stay atop the general classification and this is what is most important to recapturing the world title.”

Nicolas Lapierre
“I have mixed feeling about this result. We clearly had the speed for the win, but we were a little unlucky and my spin on my second stint probably cost us the victory. Thanks to the work of everyone in the team, we had a fast car all weekend and this allowed us to return to the podium. The goal at Shanghai will be to leave there with the championship lead, so we will do what it takes to make that happen!”

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André Negrão
“We did a good job. The pace was there throughout the weekend and the set-ups were ideal, no matter the conditions. The victory was within our grasp, but sometimes in motor racing that’s the way it goes. We are still leading the general classification, for sure by just one point, but it’s the position that counts. We will continue our efforts at Shanghai to keep the momentum going just until the end of the Super-Season!”

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Pierre Thiriet
“Even though the result isn’t what we were hoping for, I prefer to remember the positives and there were many more than the negatives. I am delighted with the pace we had in the race. We have made a lot of progress since Silverstone, which bodes well for the rest of the season. I am sure that we will arrive in Shanghai with a fast car and the motivation to go for the win.”

6 Hours of Fuji – LMP2

1-Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 217 laps
2-Jackie Chan DC Racing n°38 +26.087s
3-Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 +44.398s
4-TDS Racing n°28 + 1 lap
5-Larbre Competition n°50 + 6 laps
6-DragonSpeed n°31 + 12 laps
7-Racing Team Nederland n°29 + 13 laps

FIA LMP2 Teams Trophy

1-Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 – 87 points
2-Jackie Chan DC Racing n°38 – 86 points
3-Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 – 86 points
4-DragonSpeed n°31 – 55 points
5-Larbre Competition n°50 – 38 points
6-Racing Team Nederland n°29 – 37 points
7-TDS Racing n°28 – 30 points

40 years later, Alpine claims a new victory!

  • The final classification of the 24-Hours of Le Mans has been changed after the exclusion of the n°26 G-Drive and n°28 TDS Racing entries.

  • From the Alpine A442B of Pironi and Jaussaud to the Alpine A470 of Lapierre, Negrão and Thiriet, 40 years separate the two Alpine triumphs in the endurance classic.

  • With two LMP2 victories and four podiums in five years, Alpine is the only team to have finished in the overall 24-Hours of Le Mans top five since 2016.

On June 11, 1978, the Alpine A442B of Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud took the chequered flag to win the 24-Hours of Le Mans at the conclusion of an edition full of twists and turns.

40 years later, this historic triumph now has a particular resonance with the victory forty years later won after a final reversal of fortune for the Signatech Alpine Matmut team.

Avoiding, as best they could, the pitfalls associated with neutralizations and traffic, Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet were rewarded for their efforts with second place in LMP2.

Following post-race technical scrutineering, two competing teams – including the category winner – were disqualified for non-compliance of a part in the fuel restrictor. 107 days after the chequered flag, the verdict from the appeal has been rendered and confirms the victory of the Alpine A470 in the LMP2 category.

After the 2016 triumph and the podiums in 2014 and 2017, Alpine is the only team to have finished in the overall top five in each of the last three editions of the 24-Hours of Le Mans.

Currently leading the LMP2 category in the 2018-2019 Super Season, the Signatech Alpine Matmut can now focus on reclaiming the world title. The next round of the World Endurance Championship FIA WEC will be held at Fuji (October 14).

24 Hours of Le Mans classification – LMP2

  1. Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 – 367 laps
  2. Graff-SO24 n° 39 +1 lap
  3. United Autosports n° 32 +2 laps
  4. Jackie Chan DC Racing n° 37 +6 laps
  5. DragonSpeed n° 31 +7 laps
  6. Jackie Chan DC Racing n° 38 +11 laps
  7. Racing Team Nederland n° 29 +11 laps
  8. Jackie Chan DC Racing n° 33 +12 laps
  9. Panis-Barthez Compétition n° 23 +15 laps
  10. SMP Racing n° 35 +22 laps

FIA LMP2 Teams Trophy

  1. Signatech Alpine Matmut n°36 – 72 points
  2. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°38 – 68 points
  3. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 – 61 points
  4. DragonSpeed n°31 – 46 points
  5. Racing Team Nederland n°29 – 31 points
  6. Larbre Competition n°50 – 28 points
  7. TDS Racing n°28 – 18 points

Aston Martin Racing adjusts driver line-up for remainder of 2018

  • Aston Martin Racing revises driver crews for Super Season six-hour races

  • Darren Turner re-signs for Aston Martin Racing in expanded role

  • Jonny Adam to support TF Sport in GTE Am for the rest of 2018

Thursday, 2 August, Gaydon: Aston Martin Racing has adjusted its driver line-up for the remainder of 2018, beginning with the 6 Hours of Silverstone (19 August) and including the 6 Hours of Fuji (14 October) and 6 Hours of Shanghai (18 November).

With the team focussed on its FIA WEC Super Season world championship aspirations, Nicki Thiim (DEN) and Marco Sørensen (DEN) will share driving duties in their regular #95 ‘DaneTrain’ Aston Martin Vantage GTE, while Maxime Martin (BEL) and Alex Lynn (GB) will pair up in the #97. Each entry will benefit from increased track time and fewer compromises in their driving positions in a move that has become standard practice in the GTE Pro category.

Aston Martin Racing factory driver Jonny Adam (GB), will switch temporarily to partner team TF Sport to support its GTE AM championship programme, driving an Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE alongside Salih Yoluc (TUR) and Charlie Eastwood (GB).

Meanwhile Darren Turner, Aston Martin Racing’s longest-serving and most decorated driver, has extended his 14-year association by signing a new long-term contract. He takes on a more senior role that includes additional development responsibilities with road and racing programmes and brand ambassador duties. Turner will also return to the #95 car for the 2019 phase of the Super Season, including Sebring 1000-mile race, Spa-Francorchamps and the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Darren Turner said: “I’m delighted to extend my association with Aston Martin. After three Le Mans victories and 14 amazing years, driving for this brand has been the highlight of my career. As I look into the future I’m excited to be able play a significant role in shaping new road and racing cars. It goes without saying I’m looking forward to getting back in the #95 when we head to Sebring next year. It’s exciting times at Aston Martin and I’m very proud to be a part of it.”

Aston Martin Racing Team Principal Paul Howarth said: “As we move into the second phase of the Super Season, it is critical we maximise our opportunities through the three shortest races on the calendar. By switching to two-driver crews we achieve this. Nicki and Marco have a longstanding partnership, while Maxime and Alex have settled into the team well. Jonny remains a vital part of our line-up and we are pleased he will race in the TF Sport entry, which keeps him race-sharp at world level. I am also delighted that Darren continues to play a major role. He proved he’s lost none of his speed with an exceptional performance at Le Mans, and his experience and wisdom is invaluable as we continue to develop our still young Vantage GTE programme.”

Aston Martin Racing Managing Director John Gaw said: “We expect to see additional performance from the Aston Martin Vantage GTE at Silverstone, after a period of analysis and development post-Le Mans. These adjustments to the line-up compliment this process and give us the best chance to achieve maximum points in the shorter races. There are no weak links in our driver line-up and I am proud of all of them. Keeping Jonny in the fold and race sharp is essential, while I’m delighted that Darren continues his exceptional career with Aston Martin, where he belongs.”

The line-up for the #98 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GTE Am entry driven by reigning champions Paul Dalla Lana (CDN), Mathias Lauda (A) and Pedro Lamy (POR) remains unchanged for the rest of the Super Season.