Alpine begins Asian leg of the FIA World Endurance Championship determined to win

Alpine begins Asian leg of the FIA World Endurance Championship determined to win

10.10.2017: • After sweeping to victory in the United States last time out, the Signatech Alpine Matmut team has only one thing on its mind for the 6




•    After sweeping to victory in the United States last time out, the Signatech Alpine Matmut team has only one thing on its mind for the 6 Hours of Fuji: keep winning and defend the LMP2 world title it acquired in 2016.


•    In Japan, the no.36 Alpine A470 will be driven by Nicolas Lapierre, Gustavo Menezes and André Negrão, the winning trio at last month's race in Austin.




After Europe and the Americas, the FIA WEC swaps continents as it enters the final third of the season. In Fuji (Japan), then Shanghai (China) and Bahrain, three races spanning the East will be decisive in determining the outcome of the world championships.


Third at the Nürburgring, second in Mexico and first in Austin, Signatech Alpine Matmut is without question the in-form LMP2 team. Having also secured pole positions in Mexico and the United States, the no.36 Alpine A470 has scored more points than all its rivals in the last three races.



In the overall standings, Alpine now lies third in the World Championship with 102 points, compared with 130 for the leader and 110 for the second-placed team. Bearing in mind that there are a maximum of 78 points left up for grabs, the French outfit has every chance of glory! In order to successfully defend the title it won last year, the team knows it must aim for excellence in every area. Mechanics, engineers and drivers must all give everything in order to rise to the challenge.


In Fuji, Alpine returns to a track where it has enjoyed plenty of success in the past. In 2015, Panciatici, Chatin and Capillaire claimed the team's first ever podium in WEC, a feat that was repeated last year by Lapierre, Menezes and Richelmi on their way to winning the world title.



The Fuji tracks poses something of a special challenge in the season. With its very long start-finish straight, an opening section with fast corners followed by two other twisty sectors, it gives the engineers a real headache when it comes to defining the set-up for the race. Another factor is the unpredictable weather that often hits this part of the world, making the technical team's job even harder. When it starts raining, it's never just a light shower! 


Totally united since forming their partnership in Mexico, the crew of Nicolas Lapierre, Gustavo Menezes and André Negrão will be one of the Signatech Alpine Matmut's main strengths. They will be attempting to maintain their unbeaten run in qualifying to maximise their chances of winning at the start of the six-hour race.


The FIA WEC competitors will head out on track for the first time on Friday for two free practice sessions. Qualifying will be held on Saturday afternoon following a third practice session. The 6 Hours of Fuji will get underway on Sunday at 11am local time (GMT+9), i.e. 4am French (CET) time.
 





Quote, unquote


Bernard Ollivier, Alpine Deputy Managing Director



"Our situation is pretty straightforward: the more we win, the more we must keep winning to increase our chances of retaining our 2016 title. Each race is therefore essential – if not crucial – from this perspective. The whole team is totally fired up. It's fantastic to feel this incredible motivation to drive Alpine to victory.



The drivers, the mechanics and the management of the team are all on the same wavelength. We have seen in the last few rounds that none of the competitors is unbeatable and we'll be fighting with everything we've got. I'm expecting it to be a very closely contested race on this difficult track, especially as the weather might add a bit of spice to the competition.



The 6 Hours of Fuji round is all the more important given that Japan has been, is and shall remain a major market for Alpine. Before the A110 becomes available for pre-order in 2018, I'll be meeting with the Japanese media to talk to them about our great brand and support the future launch of the car."



Philippe Sinault, Signatech Alpine Matmut Team Principal



"We are going to attack the Asian leg of the WEC with the aim of keeping up the same momentum. We are in the position of the hunter in the championship, chasing down two targets. There is now a third player in the title race and that will force the leaders to take a few more risks. Thanks to our win in Austin, we proved that we are back to our best.



 As we have completed more races, our knowledge of the Alpine A470 and the Dunlop tyres has grown and we now have a much greater capacity to react. The challenge posed by Fuji is different to the one we had in Austin.



The varied character of the track means that there is no miracle solution as regards set-up, but we have always managed to be quick on this circuit. The main unknown will come from the weather, which can produce wild conditions at this time of year.



 I'm very optimistic about this round, all the more so as our three drivers are working perfectly together. We have got into a good rhythm but we need to keep pushing and maintain it all the way to Bahrain."





Schedule (GMT+9)




FRIDAY 13 OCTOBER


11.00am: Free practice 1 (90 mins)
3.30pm: Free practice 2 (90 mins)




SATURDAY 14 OCTOBER


10.00am: Free practice 3 (60 mins)
2.30pm: LMP1/LMP2 qualifying (20 mins)


SUNDAY 15 OCTOBER



11:00am: 6 Hours of Fuji



You can follow the action live on the FIA WEC website, apps and social media, as well as on various television channels including Eurosport, Motorsport.tv, L’Equipe (France), Sport1 (Germany), BT Sport (United Kingdom), RTBF (Belgium) and FOX Sports (Americas).




Christophe Deville - photo  Alpine

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/alpine-asian-leg-determined-to-win---169215.html

10.10.2017 / MaP

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