Alpine in contention despite the hazards

Alpine in contention despite the hazards

22.08.2021: • The start of the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans on a wet track surface was intense, with several twists and turns. • Following a solid start that took him up to second place, Nicolas Lapierre had to make a wild comeback through the field after he spun on

•    The start of the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans on a wet track surface was intense, with several twists and turns.



•    Following a solid start that took him up to second place, Nicolas Lapierre had to make a wild comeback through the field after he spun on lap four.


•    Alpine Elf Matmut Endurance Team is third in the general classification after the first five hours of the race.


 


After the final practice session on Thursday evening and a Friday dedicated to media activities, the action resumed at the Circuit de la Sarthe on Saturday with a fifteen-minute warm-up. Under threatening skies, Nicolas Lapierre put in one last exploration lap while the technical team conducted a final systems and procedures check.  



 
As a curtain-raiser to the race, Alpine staged an exceptional parade celebrating its passion for motorsport in the presence of Alpine F1 Team drivers Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, several of the brand's competition spearheads and Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi.


The tension then increased as the crews took their positions on the starting grid. It began to rain at Le Mans an hour before the French flag was lowered, forcing Nicolas Lapierre to shod rain tyres for the first time this season.  
The Frenchman got his bearings on the wet track during the formation lap, followed by the first two laps of the race behind the safety car.



When the green flag was waived, Nicolas Lapierre made an outside move to take second place from No. 8 Toyota. While in second place in the general classification, the Frenchman got caught out as he got back on the throttle out of Indianapolis and dropped to 17th place at the end of lap four.



Far from giving up, Nicolas Lapierre started a furious climb through the field and entered the top ten in less than two laps, then the top five three laps later. His series of fastest times in the race on a drying track saw the #36 Alpine A480 take the lead temporarily before its first pit stop, where the team switched to slick tyres.



Nicolas Lapierre returned to the track in fifth place and kept pushing on his triple stint to settle into third place, just over a minute behind the leaders, before handing over to André Negrão after almost two and a half hours behind the wheel. The Brazilian consolidated the crew’s position in his first three stints, the second being interrupted by a long safety car period due to an off-track excursion of a GTE Am competitor, before Mathieu Vaxiviere took the wheel shortly before 21:00.





Quotes


 
Philippe Sinault, Alpine Elf Matmut Endurance Team Principal


"Rain is never a welcome sight at Le Mans, and it came suddenly for the first time this week shortly before the start. We had to survive, and we had a small issue with the traction control system, which caused Nicolas to spin without any serious consequences. We lost about thirty seconds in the process, but things gradually got back to normal, and we could run the nominal mode chosen for the race.



We have good pace, which has stabilised the gap to the leaders even if we couldn't anticipate a slow zone, which they did. However, this is classic Le Mans!"


 


Nicolas Lapierre



"The start was quite hectic. The rain was not good news for us given our lack of experience with the car in these conditions but our pace was strong despite a spin out of Indianapolis. Our double stint on slicks went pretty well and we were able to settle into our race. We still have an extremely long way to go, but we are still in the fight!"




RESULTS

Start: 3rd (3rd Hypercar)
Hour 1: 5th (3rd Hypercar) at 1:17.046s - 14 laps
Hour 2: 3rd (3rd Hypercar) at 1:15.463s - 30 laps
Hour 3: 3rd (3rd Hypercar) at 1:54.121s - 46 laps
Hour 4: 3rd (3rd Hypercar) at 1:54.990s - 60 laps



Gilles GAUTHEROT  - photos Alpine

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/alpine-contention-despite-hazards---228015.html

22.08.2021 / MaP

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