Signatech Alpine clinches a fourth-place finish
Pole position and a ding-dong battle
The Signatech Alpine team arrived in Bahrain boosted by their first victory in the LM P2 category in the previous round in Shanghai. This weekend the French squad confirmed its gathering momentum, in particular thanks to a stunning pole position in LM P2 putting Panciatici-Chatin-Dillmann on the fifth row of the grid. After making a cautious start the Alpine A450b soon became involved in the battle for first place with the G-Drive Racing Ligiers and the KCMG Oreca 05. It held the lead on several occasions, and the team looked on course for a top-3 finish until their hopes faded in the closing stages of the race despite the best efforts of Tom Dillmann, Paul-Loup Chatin and Nelson Panciatici. The Alpine A450b saw the flag in fourth position, less than 1.5 seconds behind the third-placed car after a 6-hour battle!
Porsche clinches two more titles
After dominating free practice and qualifying the Porsche 919 Hybrids, especially the one driven by Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, had a much tougher race. The championship leaders’ car, which shot into first place, came in for a pit stop just after the half-hour mark that cost it five laps for repairs to the accelerator. The Audi R18 e-tron quattros, much more at home in the blazing sun, took the fight to the other 919 and the drivers’ title changed hands on several occasions. The evening coolness seemed to help the second Porsche driven by Dumas, Lieb and Jani, which won the race, gifting the world title to their team-mates.* Toyota took full advantage of the problems that hit the German cars and no. 2 saw the flag in third place giving Alexander Wurz a podium finish in his last race. In LM P2, victory and the title went to the no. 26 G-Drive Racing Ligier* from the KCMG Oreca, while in LM GTE Pro French duo Pilet-Makowiecki gave Porsche another win in their 911 RSR, and their team-mate Richard Lietz clinched the drivers’ crown.* Aston Martin won the LM GTE Am Category in which the title went to the SMP Racing Ferrari 458 Italia.*
“After our fast times in practice our out-of-sync strategy should have paid off so we feel frustrated. After fighting at the front throughout the race it’s tough not to be on the podium. The coming-together with the Toyota hurt our chances. But let’s look on the bright side of things as we’ve achieved our objective, fourth place in the overall classification in LM P2. Overall it’s been a positive season and we were always in the mix. Just a tiny lack of success prevented us from finishing in the top three. Roll on next year!”
Nelson Panciatici (Signatech Alpine driver)
*Subject to the publication of the official results by the FIA.
Next round: 6 Hours of Silverstone (17 April 2016)