Sam Bird victorious in historic Rome e-prix

Press Release – Rome, 14th  April 2018

British racer wins inaugural Formula E race in Italian capital

DS Virgin Racing move into second spot in both teams’ and drivers’ standings

Team blessed by Pope earlier in the week

Team secure seventh career win during 40th Formula E race

Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi presents winning trophy in front of capacity crowd

DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird took a historic victory during today’s inaugural Formula E race in Rome to pick up his seventh win in the series to date and move him, and his team, into second place in the championship standings.

The British driver, who has competed for the team in every one of the 40 Formula E races run, resisted a late charge by Lucas di Grassi in the closing stages to clinch victory after poleman Felix Rosenqvist, who had controlled the race from the outset, retired after breaking his rear-left suspension.

In front of a 30,000-strong crowd, Bird had looked quick all day around the specially built Circuto Cittadino dell’EUR street track finishing P2 in both the opening practices, as well as the tightly fought qualifying sessions.

“I honestly didn’t think I would be sitting here today when I saw the pace of Felix [Rosenqvist],” said the 31-year-old, who earlier in the week had been blessed by the Pope at a special event organised by Formula E. “I was able to catch him towards the end of the first stint but there were some quick cars behind me. It was a shame what happened to Felix in the second stint, but it gave me the lead so was a case of just getting my head down and not making any mistakes. The team has done a great job today and we’re all looking forward to the Paris race in two weeks’ time.”

Meanwhile, it was a frustrating weekend for Sam’s team-mate and fellow Brit Alex Lynn who, despite showing strong pace, got caught up in race incidents, forcing him to retire for only the second time this season.    « It’s certainly been a frustrating weekend on my side of the garage, but I’m obviously delighted for Sam and for the team. The pace was there but it just didn’t quite come together today. For sure we’ll go away and come back fighting again for the next European race in Paris.»

DS Virgin Racing Team Principal Alex Tai commented:    « I’m delighted for Sam and for the team. The Rome event has been fantastic so huge credit to Formula E. Sam does have a habit of winning on new tracks – like his double victory at the inaugural New York race last year – or maybe it was the blessing from the Pope! Either way, we’re delighted and grateful to the whole team for their continuous hard work. Of course, it’s been a frustrating one for Alex but he’s a great driver and I know he’ll bounce back.»

DS Performance Director Xavier Mestelan Pinon added : « What a pleasure to start our European tour with such a great victory in Rome, in front of thousands of fans! This is a good omen before our home race in Paris and we can now celebrate this trophy in style!»

The next Formula E race – round 8 – takes place in Paris on April 28. For more information on the team, including high-res images and video content, visit:

2018 FIA Formula E Championship
Rome E-Prix (rd 7) – Race Results (33 Laps)

1. Sam Bird, ds virgin racing (25pts)
2. Lucas Di Grassi, audi sport abt Schaeffler (18pts)
3. Andre Lotterer, Techeetah, (15pts)
4. Daniel abt, audi sport abt Schaeffler (12pts, fl)
5. Jean Eric Vergne, Techeetah (10pts)
6. Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.dams (8pts)
7. Jerome d’Ambrosio, Dragon (6pts)
8. Maro Engel, Venturi formula e (4pts)
9. Mitch Evans, Panasonic jaguar racing (2pts)
10. Eduaro Mortara, Venturi formula e (1pt)
Dnf. Alex Lynn, ds virgin racing

Drivers’ standings (after rd 7):

1. Jean Eric vergne, 119pts
2. Sam Bird, 101pts 
3. Felix Rosenqvist, 82pts
4. Sébastien Buemi, 60pts
5. Daniel Abt, 50pts
13. Alex Lynn, 17pts

Teams’ standings (after rd 7):

1. Techeetah, 152pts
2. DS Virgin Racing, 118pts
3. Mahindra  Racing, 103pts
4. Audi sport ABT Schaeffler, 89pts
5. Panasonic Jaguar Racing, 88pts


Team Peugeot Total begins new adventure in FIA World Rallycross championship

WRX Round #1 – Barcelona, 14-15.04

The 12-round FIA World Rallycross Championship gets underway in Barcelona this weekend, and with it the latest chapter in PEUGEOT’s motorsport history.

  • Team PEUGEOT Total enters World RX as a full manufacturer entry for the 1st time, fielding 3 cars in 3 different colours for 3 talented drivers. Nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb, together with the Swede Timmy Hansen will be competing with the latest 560-horsepower PEUGEOT 208 WRX Supercar and will score points for the team. Up and coming youngster Kevin Hansen will race an evolution of the 2017 car within the individual entry category. All 3 PEUGEOT racing machines will be progressively updated during the season, with new evolutions currently being prepared by PEUGEOT Sport engineers at the factory.
  • After a shakedown on Monday in Versailles, France, preceded by previous testing sessions – such as the official session in Silverstone at the end of March – Team PEUGEOT Total hits the road for Barcelona, ready to tackle a completely new sporting challenge. While still relying on the Hansen family, the most successful dynasty in the discipline – with Kenneth Hansen (14-time European RX Champion) as Team Manager and Susann Hansen (the only female champion in European RX history) as Sport Coordinator – it’s now a full official PEUGEOT Sport squad that jumps into the discipline.
  • The 1st round of the season takes place on Saturday and Sunday (14-15 April) at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmeló, north of Barcelona, the home of the Spanish Grand Prix in Formula 1, that has also hosted a rallycross circuit since 2015. The asphalt has been resurfaced since last year, delivering higher levels of grip than before, with a brand-new start section. The lap measures a total of 1.133 kilometres, consisting of 60.4% asphalt and 39.6% gravel. It’s one of the fastest tracks on the calendar, with the RX lap record currently standing at 42.971s from last year.

What they said

Bruno Famin, Peugeot Sport Director
« We’re a new team against some very strong and experienced opposition, with a growing level of manufacturer engagement. The first and biggest challenge we face in Barcelona is simply the one of preparing our own team – which has been largely formed from people whose most recent experience is in rally raids – for the very different demands of rallycross. There are plenty of new cars out there also, so the competition is tougher than it’s ever been. This weekend will be mainly a question of learning and training for the team. Then, as the year goes on, we are going to build up experience and improve, with the aim of winning races in the second part of the season.»

Kenneth Hansen, Team PEUGEOT Total Manager
« The feedback from the drivers is good and everyone is feeling positive. You can’t make a revolution over the winter, but you can get better and so we hope to fight. It’s sure that our rivals haven’t been standing still either, so it’s a difficult target and we have to be clever. There have been some big changes thanks to PEUGEOT coming in with some new people, but I see a huge eagerness and hunger from them for this fresh challenge, so Susann and myself are here to help them make this transition. Barcelona is a good track where you can really use the chassis and the engine. The new start section on the track is also a positive move I think, as it should lead to fewer incidents at the first corner.»

Sébastien Loeb #9 (French, born 26/2/74)
« Our shakedown was good, and it was useful for me to get back into the rhythm of driving a rallycross car again, even if in the end it’s quite different from a Dakar car or a World Rally Car, so I never have any big difficulty adapting from one car to another: it’s what I’ve always done. The test is also a good opportunity to try out different settings to see what works best, knowing also that we will consistently be bringing in new developments to the PEUGEOT 208 WRX throughout the year. I’m looking forward to Barcelona; it’s a nice place that I’ve always liked. In rallycross it’s always hard to set an objective in advance anyway, but especially at the first race of the season. So, I’m just going to do my best and see what happens. »

Timmy Hansen, #21 (Swedish, born 21/5/92)
« We are having a proper week-long build-up to the first race in Barcelona with a shakedown in France and then some testing. Obviously, you can’t make any big changes in just a few days, but you can join everything together and iron out any little things that aren’t perfect. The car feels quite familiar to me in a good way, as we’ve kept all the strengths from last year – with a really good balance and feel – but updated it in the areas where we wanted to find a bit more performance. Barcelona has always been a good track for me personally: I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad race there. The surface is high-grip and should suit our car well, but in the end, we have to treat it as a race like any other.” »

Kevin Hansen #71 (Sweden, born 28/5/98)
« I feel really excited to start the season! I tried my factory car during the shakedown we and it felt good. Our recent tests are all about confirming the work that has been done over the winter and making some small adjustments so that we are completely ready for Barcelona. At the beginning of the season I’ll be racing a 2017-specification PEUGEOT 208 WRX but I am confident in the work that the PEUGEOT Sport team is putting in for the future. Barcelona is a track I really love: I have driven there in RX2 as well as Supercars, and it’s where I took my European title in 2016, so I only have good memories. I’m feeling positive: this is a great place for us to start the season and I’m determined to make the most of every opportunity that comes my way. »


Rallycross was quite literally made for television. The first races were staged for British programme World of Sport at the Lydden Hill circuit in 1967. A European championship was formed during the following decade before the FIA World Rallycross Championship began in 2014. Rallycross consists of short races of 4 to 6 laps over circuits that feature a mix of asphalt and gravel, with events featuring heats, semi-finals and a final.


Each 2-day event begins with a lottery that determines the grid for the 1st of the 4 qualifying heats. Each car takes part in 1 race (lasting 4 laps) of each heat, with 3 to 5 cars starting together in a line. Based on the results from the 4 heats (given in points), the top 12 drivers proceed to the semi-finals. These are 2 races of 6 laps, with 6 cars in each. The top 3 cars from each semi-final move go through to the final, which also takes place over 6 laps. Championship points are awarded after the heats and in both the final and semi-finals. In every race, drivers are required to take the ‘joker lap’ once: an extra section of track that usually adds around two to three seconds to a lap time.

MotoGP World Championship, Argentina

Argentine Grand Prix

A chaotic weekend

Once again, the rain played tricks on the riders during the weekend of the Argentine Grand Prix. On a difficult, treacherous track, Morbidelli managed to finish his second MotoGP race once again by scoring points.

The Races

A delayed start and a modified procedure to avoid bottlenecks in the pit lane … The riders needed to have nerves of steel to keep calm on the starting grid of the Termas of Rio Hondo circuit. Franco Morbidelli did well. The Honda rider took his time during the first laps on a track where only a thin strip of asphalt was dry. “I didn’t want to make any mistakes and compromise my chances of scoring points,” he explains. Mission accomplished, Morbidelli finished fourteenth in front of the official Ducati ridden by Lorenzo. For many laps in a firefight with his teammate, Lüthi finished seventeenth hot on the heels of Lorenzo and Bautista. In Moto2, Marquez took fifth place after committing a small braking error that caused him to lose contact with the leaders. From 17th position on the starting grid, Mir made a great comeback to take the checkered flag in seventh place.

The Championship

Scoring four points in Qatar and two in Argentina, after two races Morbidelli is in fourteenth place of the MotoGP world championship. Marquez has made it to sixth place in the Moto2 rankings while Mir has moved up to ninth place.

The background

Doping in MotoGP? “In the 25 years of my career, I have never seen or heard of a rider who took drugs,” says Loris Capirossi, the former world champion who is now part of the Grand Prix race management. But today, it is the riders themselves who are asking for more anti-doping checks. “Two spot checks a year is not enough,” believes Andrea Dovizioso. “Even though doping will never make a rider win who is not capable of doing so, today there are products that can help limit fatigue. And believe me, our sport is much more physical than some people imagine.” His comments follow on from Cal Crutchlow’s comments, believing that some cheat in order to shed weight. In 2000, Japanese rider Haga was deprived of a world title after taking ephedrine, a product well known to athletes.

The Signatech Alpine Matmut team all set to go in the FIA WEC

  • The Signatech Alpine Matmut team took part in the FIA WEC Prologue over the last two days, held at the Circuit Paul Ricard.
  • Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet took turns behind the wheel of the no.36 Alpine A470, setting the second fastest time in the LMP2 category.

Championnat du monde Endurance WEC

All of the competitors entered in the FIA WEC were greeted by sunshine for this final dress rehearsal held near Marseille in the south of France. On Friday at 10am, the track was opened for a mammoth thirty-hour session, concluding on Saturday at 4pm.

Since reliability is no longer an issue for the Alpine A470, Signatech Alpine Matmut decided not to attempt a 24-hour plus race simulation. First and foremost, the technical programme involved going for out and out performance. With this in mind, each driver was given a set of new tyres to use in series of a few laps.

As Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet were pleased with the balance of the car, Friday afternoon was devoted to working on the set-up in racing conditions. At the end of a double stint by Negrão, the team ticked off another item on its checklist.

Whilst a handful of competitors continued to complete laps of the track throughout the night, the Alpine A470 waited patiently in its garage for the following morning.

As the Mistral – the strong, north-westerly wind that blows through southern France – had picked up, the French squad worked on a different aerodynamic configuration for the second day. Unsurprisingly, the newcomer to the no.36 crew Pierre Thiriet spent the most time behind the wheel.

By the end of the thirty-hour session, the no.36 Alpine A470 had completed 148 laps – i.e. 857 kilometres – with its fastest time set by Nicolas Lapierre in 1:41.088. This was the second best time in the LMP2 category.

The Alpine A470 will be back at the Circuit Paul Ricard on 13-15 April: André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet will be making a one-off appearance at the 4 Hours of Le Castellet, the opening round of the European Le Mans Series.

What they said

Philippe Sinault, Signatech Alpine Matmut Team Principal
« This was our first time back at the Circuit Paul Ricard in a while and we found that the new surface is a bit harder on the tyres. During the first part of our programme, we quickly found the performance level we were looking for and we were then able to switch to an endurance mode, with the aim of using the new Dunlop over longer periods. I would say we managed to find the right operating window for the tyres quicker than we did last year. The three drivers worked very well: André completed a very good double stint on Friday afternoon, Pierre slotted into the team well in setting times close to those of his team-mates and Nico fulfilled his role of leader, spending a lot of time with the engineers in order to analyse the data. We are in good shape ahead of the start of the season. »

Nicolas Lapierre Competition WECNicolas Lapierre
« We had a fairly busy schedule, working on two main areas: assessing the 2018 tyres and integrating Pierre in our crew. Although this track is very specific, we tried quite a few things, completed simulations of double stints and started to define the aerodynamic configuration for Spa. The new Dunlop tyres are quicker, but also more fragile. We worked on adapting our set-up accordingly. The season is going to get off to a flying start, with the 24 Hours of Le Mans just after Spa. »




Andre Negrao Competition WECAndré Negrão
« First of all, I would say that we are all pleased to be back on track and preparing for the new season together. Over these two days of testing, we have learned a lot about the car in its 2018 configuration, largely dictated by the introduction of the new tyres. We quickly switched to working on endurance, putting together series of long runs. The feeling was good in the car in terms of preparation for the 4 Hours of Le Castellet, a race that we’re also looking forward to. I think we’re all stronger – the car, the drivers and the technical team – than last year. »



Pierre Thiriet Competition WECPierre Thiriet
« I’m very pleased to be part of this team. It’s really enjoyable to work with and talk to people who are passionate about motorsport. I’m equally pleased with the work done this weekend, with long series of laps that helped develop my confidence. This baggage will be important next week, when we take part in the ELMS race with André. It’s also a very good opportunity to get a little bit more experience and some more kilometres under my belt in racing conditions. I feel very good ahead of the start of the season. »



The C3 WRCs finish on a high note

Sébastien Loeb – Daniel Elena and Kris Meeke – Paul Nagle, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT’s two crews, once again flirted with the top of the timesheets in their C3 WRCs on today’s final leg in Corsica.


The Tour de Corse drew to a close in style today, featuring the longest stage of the rally (55.17 kilometres) to the north of Ajaccio, followed by the Power Stage, contested in the south of the island, between Pénitencier de Coti and Chiavari.

However, the day’s challenge had started before the stages for Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT’s technical team. Having recovered Kris Meeke’s C3 WRC after yesterday’s final stage, the team’s mechanics did a great job to repair the car in time for the Nothern Irishman to rejoin the action this morning under Rally 2 rules.

Kris Meeke did them proud in return. Without taking any unnecessary risks, he fought with the podium contenders to set the second fastest time on the opening stage, suggesting that there were no after effects from last night’s off in his close partnership with co-driver Paul Nagle. He then confirmed his good form in tying for third on the Power Stage, securing him two bonus points and finishing ninth overall, a position that did not reflect his speed throughout the weekend in the C3 WRC. He deserved to finish on the podium.

Sébastien Loeb was also in fine form on the final day, grabbing the second fastest time on the Power Stage just 2.2s off the stage-winning time. He therefore ended the weekend tied for second best performer, with three stage wins. A result that proves, following on from his majestic performance in Mexico, that he has lost none of his talent on tarmac!


Kris Meeke

« Obviously, it’s frustrating to have dropped out of contention yesterday when a top three place was clearly within our reach, but we had to get back at it today and I think we have proven our ability to do just that. We are already looking ahead and we’ll be trying and get back on the podium and turn our speed into good results at the next few races.»

Sébastien Loeb

« It’s a real shame that we went off on Friday. We would have undoubtedly been right in the mix otherwise. In any case, I’m delighted to have been on the pace again this weekend for our second one-off appearance of the season. I prefer to focus on the enjoyment we have had throughout the weekend in the C3 WRC. It is a really formidable car on tarmac and I really enjoyed driving it on these magnificent Corsican roads. It was also very nice to feel all the love and support from the French fans at our home event.»


1. Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 3:26:52.7
2. Tänak / Jarveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) + 36.1
3. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) + 1:07.5
4. Sordo / Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 WRC) + 2:02.6
5. Evans / Mills (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 2:06.1
6. Lappi / Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) + 2:33.5
7. Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Hyundai i20 WRC) + 2:43.4
9. Meeke / Nagle (Citroën C3 WRC) + 10:40.5
14. Loeb / Elena (Citroën C3 WRC) + 20:58.0


1. Sébastien Ogier – 84 points
2. Thierry Neuville – 67 points
3. Ott Tänak – 45 points
4. Andreas Mikkelsen – 41 points
5. Kris Meeke – 36 points
6. Esapekka Lappi – 36 points
7. Jari-Matti Latvala – 31 points
8. Dani Sordo – 30 points
9. Craig Breen – 20 points
10. Elfyn Evans – 18 points


1. Hyundai WRT – 111 points
2. M-Sport Ford WRT – 107 points
3. Toyota Gazoo Racing – 93 points
4. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT – 81 points

DS Virgin Racing ready for Rome as Formula E heads to eternal city

Press Release – Versailles, 6th April 2018

All-electric series makes inaugural visit to Italian capital on Saturday, April 14 for round seven

Team continue title push in both drivers’ and teams’ championship

Race shown live and free-to-air in UK on 5Spike.


From cobbled streets to Rome’s world-famous monuments, the Italian capital is set to host the inaugural Formula E race on April 14, with the DS Virgin Racing team looking to maintain its title bid in both the teams’ and drivers’ standings.

The Rome E-Prix – round seven – marks the start of Formula E’s European leg and the second half of the 12-race season. The Circuto Cittadino dell’EUR circuit will start/finish on the Via Cristoforo Colombo, before racing around the Obelisco di Marconi, all against the backdrop of the iconic Colosseo Quadrato. And at 2.84km and 33 laps, it’s the second longest track this season.

DS Virgin Racing drivers Sam Bird and Alex Lynn – both British – will be aiming to continue their strong form too. Bird currently lies third in the drivers’ standings after securing the 12th Formula E podium of his career last time out in Punta del Este with team-mate Lynn, competing in his rookie season, also securing his best result to date with sixth. That puts the team third overall in the manufacturers’ standings and also makes it the first team to have 10 points finishes this season (five for each driver), as well as the team with the most Superpole appearances with 25.

The race in the Eternal City will feature extensive global TV coverage and for UK fans will be broadcast live and free-to-air on 5Spike..

Bird, said: “I’m really looking forward to the race in Rome. It’s such an iconic and historic city, and a country with amazing motorsport heritage. It’s been a strong first half to the season for us with a win and two podiums already, and I’m eager to continue this heading into Rome, and to keep the pressure on for the titles.”

Lynn, said: “It was great to get my best result so far last time out. We also qualified in the top two which shows the pace we have, so I’m really looking forward to carrying that momentum into Rome and beyond. The track looks challenging and of course will be new to all drivers, but we’ve been preparing hard and we’re raring to go.”

Team Principal, Alex Tai commented: “It’s a credit to Formula E for the series to be yet again racing in another new city, and one as spectacular as Rome. As we enter the second half of the season, the competition really starts to get tough, but we’re currently in third place in both the drivers’ and the teams’ championship and didn’t get there by luck! We have two fantastic, talented and consistent drivers – as the statistics show – combined with a standout engineering team and of course a quick car, so we’re looking forward to bringing our strong performance to Rome and the upcoming European races.”

DS Performance Director, Xavier Mestelan-Pinon added: “It is great to be starting the European leg of the championship in such an iconic city, and one with such passionate motorsport fans. From what we’ve learned from our simulation sessions, it will be a difficult track for the drivers, with high speed corners, so we can expect plenty of battles. We know our DSV-03 has the performance and efficiency, and if we avoid mistakes, we can be fighting for the victory.”


The C3 WRCs all set for Corsican challenge!

Kris Meeke – Paul Nagle topped the timesheets whilst Sébastien Loeb – Daniel Elena were seventh fastest on a shakedown stage not entirely representative of the difficulties ahead this weekend, as they confirmed their good feeling in the C3 WRC on the Corsican tarmac.


The Tour de Corse’s 5.45 kilometre-long shakedown stage, contested this morning in Sorbo-Ocagnano, was unusual in that it featured many deep cuts. And with the heavy rain that has fallen on the island in recent days, the corners proved to be especially greasy.

In conditions like these, you had to be among the very early starters to have any hopes of setting a good time, before the road surface gradually became more and more covered with mud. And yet Kris Meeke, fourth in the running order, immediately went to the top of the timesheets, before then confirming his excellent form with another promising time on his second run.

Sébastien Loeb – who was ninth in the running order – initially got his bearings in the tricky grip conditions, before then becoming the only driver to improve on his second run to claim the seventh fastest time, suggesting he will be a force to be reckoned this weekend in Corsica, a rally at which he is a four-time winner (2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008).

Since the greasy conditions are not expected to feature in the rest of the rally, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT crews decided to limit their efforts to the three mandatory runs. Following this evening’s ceremonial start in the centre of Bastia, the real action gets underway tomorrow, starting with the heavyweight challenge of La Porta – Valle di Rostino (49.03km). A challenge that will need to be tackled again in the afternoon…


Kris Meeke

“It was a tricky shakedown, with yesterday’s rainfall and since it was getting muddier and muddier, there was no point in doing any more runs. Especially as we’re not expecting grip conditions to be like this in the rally itself. Nevertheless, there might still be damp patches in the wooded sections tomorrow morning. I felt comfortable in the car today, I was able to handle the grip conditions, and that’s what matters most to me.”

Sébastien Loeb

“The conditions were as expected: very greasy, with plenty of mud dragged onto the road on the cuts. So I didn’t want to go flat out on the first pass, especially as I hadn’t driven in low-grip conditions with the car. Once we had completed one pass, I upped my pace on the second run and straight away, I had a good feeling in the car.”


1. Meeke / Nagle (Citroën C3 WRC) 4’00’’8 
2. Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Hyundai i20 WRC) 4’03’’0
3. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) 4’03’’8
4. Sordo / Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 WRC) 4’04’’3
5. Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 4’05’’1
6. Evans / Mills (Ford Fiesta WRC) 4’06’’1
7. Loeb / Elena (Citroën C3 WRC) 4’06’’4
8. Tänak / Jarveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 4’08’’5
9. Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) 4’08’’5
10. Lappi / Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) 4’08’’6


Signatech Alpine Matmut returns to the track

  • A month before racing gets under way at Spa-Francorchamps, the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) teams will meet at the Circuit Paul Ricard on 6-7 April for the official pre-season test.
  • The Signatech Alpine Matmut team will be in action with the no.36 Alpine A470 and its crew, featuring the drivers Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet.
  • In order to fine-tune their preparations for the new season, Negrão and Thiriet will also be taking part in the 4 Hours of Le Castellet, the opening round of the ELMS.

The season really gets kicks off this weekend with the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Official Prologue, which returns to the Circuit Paul Ricard after having been held at Monza last year.

This full-scale dress rehearsal is adopting an innovative format this year, with just one session… lasting a mammoth thirty hours on 6-7 April! The idea is that this will enable the teams to run very long race simulations.

The Signatech Alpine Matmut team will be taking part in the test at the circuit with the no.36 Alpine A470 competing in the LMP2 category. This session will conclude the team’s off-season work, which has included private testing held at the Spanish racetrack, Motorland Aragón.

Although the definition of the Alpine A470 remains unchanged from the 2017 season, the technical team focused on assessing the new range of Dunlop tyres. Emphasis was also placed on the preparations of Pierre Thiriet, who joins Nicolas Lapierre and André Negrão to form the 2018 driver line-up.

After the Prologue, Signatech Alpine Matmut will not be away from the Circuit Paul Ricard for very long. On 13-15 April, the team will be back at the track to compete in the opening round of the European Le Mans Series, a championship that Alpine won in 2013 and 2014. The crew will consist only of André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet for the race, as Nicolas Lapierre has other commitments that weekend. The 4 Hours of Le Castellet is due to get underway on Sunday 15 April at 12pm.

What they said

Philippe Sinault, Signatech Alpine Matmut Team principal
« After a long off-season, we are all delighted to return to the Circuit Paul Ricard, the traditional venue for the FIA WEC prologue. The test is always highly anticipated throughout the paddock: this is when we get to see the new crews, the new liveries and so on. All of a sudden, the pressure is cranked up a notch as the start of the season draws closer. We have worked well during our private test sessions, both in terms of incorporating Pierre Thiriet in the team and as regards assessing the new Dunlop tyres. The LMP2 category looks set to be even more open this season, with new chassis and tyre manufacturers. We decided to take part in the 4 Hours of Le Castellet in order to give ourselves another opportunity to prepare for the coming season, for which the race calendar has undergone extensive changes. With only five WEC races in 2018, each round will be even more important than before. »