Alpine Elf Matmut Endurance Team ready for the 24h Le Mans challenge

Alpine Elf Matmut Endurance Team ready for the 24h Le Mans challenge

20.08.2021: • The 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans began in earnest on Wednesday and Thursday with four free practice sessions, qualifying and the Hyperpole. • Alpine Elf Matmut Endurance Team completed its preparations without the slightest misstep, putting in 121 laps


•    The 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans began in earnest on Wednesday and Thursday with four free practice sessions, qualifying and the Hyperpole.


•    Alpine Elf Matmut Endurance Team completed its preparations without the slightest misstep, putting in 121 laps of the Circuit de la Sarthe for a total of nearly 1,650 kilometres.


•    The #36 Alpine A480 driven by André Negrão, Mathieu Vaxiviere and Nicolas Lapierre will start from row two on the grid after finishing third in the Hyperpole.


 



On Wednesday, the action began with a free practice session on the Circuit de la Sarthe. The first three-hour session was focused on checking the different systems and the mechanical and electronic elements of the A480 while the three drivers took turns to fine-tune the balance and setup of the car in preparation for the race.



Two hours later, tension rose up a notch when the n°36 Alpine took part in qualifying. Mathieu Vaxiviere got behind the wheel and immediately slotted into the top three before a full course yellow caused by an incident involving an LMP2 car. When the session resumed, the Frenchman held his own in the traffic of more than sixty cars, consistently improving his times to move up to second place.



With a spot in Hyperpole guaranteed, the technical team chose to keep the A480 in the garage for the final ten minutes to switch its focus on the first night session of the week. André Negrão, Mathieu Vaxiviere and Nicolas Lapierre got their bearings in the evening during a productive session which ended in fourth place with twenty-four laps completed.


On Thursday, Alpine Elf Matmut Endurance Team maintained its strong form, putting in the fastest lap in the third free practice session with a time of 3:26.594s with Nicolas Lapierre. The Frenchman was then tasked with the Hyperpole exercise, which featured the top six in the Hypercar, LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am categories.



After a frantic chase for the time as soon as the pit lane opened at dusk, Nicolas Lapierre completed his first timed lap in 3:28.506s just before a red flag caused by a GTE Pro competitor. After a brief interruption, the Frenchman went back out and immediately improved to 3:26.015s, then 3:25.574d in his battle for third place with the #708 Glickenhaus.



Nicolas Lapierre made a final attempt in the final moments but had to settle for third place when he was impeded at the Arnage corner.


The team completed its preparations in the last session that concluded at midnight. The trio used this trouble-free session to carry out a further round of checks on items covering several areas.


On Saturday, Alpine Elf Matmut Endurance Team and its competitors will have a final warm-up session from 11.30am to 11.45am. Shortly afterwards, Alpine will celebrate its motorsport involvement with an exceptional parade bringing together its F1 and Endurance cars as well as the A110 GT4, A110 Rally and A110S alongside Alpine F1 Team drivers Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.



Nicolas Lapierre will then be behind the wheel of the #36 Alpine A480 for the start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which promise to be wide-open.





Quotes
 

Philippe Sinault, Alpine Elf Matmut Endurance Team Principal



"The team is ready. It is deeply satisfying that we have put in a lot of miles this week, and so far, everything is going well. Qualifying was good, as was the Hyperpole and we are where we should be. Nicolas used two sets of tyres. The first allowed us to adjust the power management for his flying laps, and we knew that the window of opportunity would be tight with only thirty minutes to go.


The red flag meant we only had two shots on his first two attempts with the second set of tyres. His last effort was compromised by traffic, but it probably wouldn't have made any difference in the final result. We will do a complete service on the A480 tomorrow before tackling the big race we've been focusing on since September last year!"


 

Nicolas Lapierre



"We have done a good preparation throughout the week and we are now looking forward to Saturday. The car is behaving well and we haven't had any issue despite a lot of mileage over the last two days.


 We are ready and pole position was not the main focus as we knew that the Toyota is quicker on one lap. We will have to keep them under pressure to seize every opportunity that comes our way in the race."


 

André Negrão



"We have completed our preparation, and I feel ready. Nicolas did a fantastic job with a great lap. We will start third and give absolutely everything.


I'm having a lot of fun, I'm quite comfortable in the A480, and I'm extremely happy with the work we've done since Sunday. I can't wait for the start!"


 

Matthieu Vaxiviere



"Every free practice session has been extremely positive. The feeling behind the wheel is fantastic, all the team members are very relaxed, and we are most certainly ready for the challenge ahead of us. Now we will focus on the race.


The 24 Hours of Le Mans is going to be fantastic this year and we can't wait for race day as it's already been over a week since we arrived at the circuit!"

 


RESULTS


Free practice 1: 2nd in 3:29.309s (+0.086s) – 26 laps
Qualifying: 2nd in 3:27.095s (+0’'816s) – 10 laps
Free practice 2: 4th in 3:30.744s(+1.393s) – 24 laps
Free practice 3: 1st in 3’26’’594 – 29 laps
Hyperpole: 3rd in 3 :25.574s (+1.674s) – 9 laps
Free practice 4: 2nd in 3:28.280 (+0.286s) – 23 laps



TIMETABLE


Saturday 21 August

11h30-11h45: Warm-up
14h10-14h25: Alpine Parade
16h00: Start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Sunday 22 August

16h00: Finish of the 24 Hours of Le Mans





Gilles GAUTHEROT  - photos P FOSTER/PSP  AutoMobilSport.com


Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/alpine-elf-matmut-endurance-team-ready-24h-le-mans-challenge---227958.html

20.08.2021 / MaP

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