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Alpine hits the heights with the LMP2 category world title!

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36 MENEZES Gustavo (usa) LAPIERRE Nicolas (fra) RICHELMI Stéphane (mon) Alpine A460 Nissan team Signatech Alpine action during the 2016 FIA WEC World Endurance Championship, 6 Hours of Shanghai from november 4 to 6, at Shanghai, China - Photo Florent Gooden / DPPIOne round before the end of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), Signatech-Alpine won the LMP2 Teams’ title, whilst Nicolas Lapierre, Stéphane Richelmi and Gustavo Menezes secured the Drivers’ crown.
After four race wins and two other podium-finishes, the no.36 crew secured fourth place at the end of the 6 Hours of Shanghai.
Competing alongside Paul-Loup Chatin in the no.35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine, Chinese drivers David Cheng and Ho-Pin Tung finished their home race in eighth position.

Rounding off an exceptional season that saw the team win four races – including the 24 Hours of Le Mans – Signatech-Alpine claimed the LMP2 Category Teams’ and Drivers titles in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
As emphasized by Michael Van der Sande, Managing Director of Alpine, “securing this world title on the track is a fantastic boost for the teams working on the production model, which is due to go on sale next year.”
Indeed, the brand’s return to racing has been very closely linked to the renaissance of Alpine. In 2013, when the Renault Group announced that intended to design a Berlinette for the 21st century, the Signatech-Alpine entered the European Le Mans Series to support this renewal.
This programme echoed the past successes of Alpine in Endurance racing, notably winning the European Two-litre Sports Car Championship for Makes in 1974 and the victory of Pironi/Jaussaud’s A442B at the 24 Hours of La Mans in 1978.
After two seasons full of panache, which saw Alpine claim two European titles, the team decided to fly the flag for France on the world stage as it entered the FIA WEC. The 2015 season, essentially focused on learning about racing at this level, nonetheless saw the Alpine A450b win its first race at the 6 Hours of Shanghai.
This year, the team’s ambitions were raised a notch with the entry of two new Alpine A460s: in addition to the no.36, the number assigned to Signatech-Alpine since 2013, the second car was entered on behalf of Baxi DC Racing Alpine.
After winning races at Spa-Francorchamps, Le Mans, the Nürburgring and Austin, Alpine had a chance of securing the title this weekend at the 6 Hours of Shanghai.

In qualifying, Nicolas Lapierre and Gustavo Menezes finished second in their no.36 Signatech-Alpine. David Cheng and Ho-Pin Tung were tenth in the no.35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine.
The race got off a dramatic start, with some enthusiastic racing on display at the opening corner. Whilst Nicolas Lapierre grabbed the early lead in the LMP2 class, Ho-Pin Tung only just managed to avoid a collision right in front of him!
In an attempt to save his tyres in the extremely hot conditions, Nicolas made no attempt to hold off Alex Brundle (no.26), who took over as leader after half an hour of the race.
Shortly before the end of his second stint, Ho-Pin Tung was hit by a GT at the end of the long start-finish straight. The Baxi DC Racing driver came into the pits immediately and the team changed the no.35 Alpine A460’s front hood. Paul-Loup Chatin took over behind the wheel, whilst Gustavo Menezes replaced Nicolas Lapierre in the no.36. Both cars were racing on hard rubber, replacing the medium compound tyres used since the start.
Whilst running in third, Gustavo Menezes was shunted into a spin by Bruno Senna (no.43). Fortunately, the Signatech-Alpine car did not suffer any damage and was able to continue racing, whilst its title rival was handed a penalty.
Following Stéphane Richelmi’s double stint, Nicolas Lapierre took over behind the wheel with 1 hr 30 mins to go. Unable to challenge for the race win, the Frenchman matched the pace of the no.43 car. He was cheered across the finishing line in fourth position by the entire team, gathered along the pit wall! The celebrations were shared by the Baxi DC Racing Alpine crew. Ho-Pin Tung, who had taken over from David Cheng, ended his home race in eighth place.
In four seasons, Alpine has quickly beaten a path to the top of the podium. This French success story shows the capacity of Alpine to take on challenges, both on the track and on the road. In a few months’ time, the unveiling of a modern, elegant sports coupé built in France will be another important step in the renewal of the brand. Alpine is back… and this is just the start!

Bernard Ollivier, Alpine Deputy Managing Director: “We have had an unforgettable weekend in Shanghai, with a lot of emotion and enthusiasm, especially focusing on the Baxi DC Racing Alpine. On the track, the team had a huge challenge in terms of tyre management. We needed to combine caution and aggressiveness to protect our position. We achieved our goal, with a superb finish to the race by Nicolas Lapierre, who showed our rivals that we were right there! The world title secured by Signatech-Alpine is the ultimate reward in a great human adventure that started in January 2013 when Alpine began competing in endurance racing. Four years on, and we have won the lot. I never dreamed that it would all happen so quickly. These three titles are the result of the hard work and professionalism of every member of the team. Everyone that has been involved in this project since the start must feel very proud tonight. This sporting adventure makes a major contribution to the Alpine’s renewal strategy, which will shortly take real shape with the presentation of our first model. In the last race, we’ll be able to fight for victory with the pressure off, our only ambition will be to honour Alpine’s characteristic panache.”

Philippe Sinault, Signatech-Alpine Team Principal: “At the start of the season, we didn’t dare dream about this title. This is an incredibly proud moment for our team. Red, white and blue blood runs through the veins of each of the mechanics, engineers and drivers of our A460! In Shanghai, we noticed during free practice how significant tyre wear was here. We therefore decided to contest qualifying with one driver on hard tyres and the other on mediums. This option meant we had to use hard tyres again in the race, due to the quotas imposed by the regulations. Gustavo and Paul-Loup had a hard time during their stints, but they did a great job in the circumstances. At the end of the race, we had improved performance since we were challenging for third place with the no.36. However, fourth position was enough for us to win the title. It’s a bit frustrating not to finish on the podium, but we achieved the goal we had set ourselves with this third title in four years. As Alpine prepares to unveil its new coupé, this gives meaning to our shared story. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the other teams competing in the LMP2 class. The standard was incredibly high this year and our rivals pushed us to the very limit. We’d love to finish the year in style in Bahrein!

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