Alpine - the 24 Hours of le Mans finally underway

Alpine - the 24 Hours of le Mans finally underway

18.06.2016: • The 24 Hours of Le Mans started this afternoon behind the safety car after heavy rain




•    The 24 Hours of Le Mans started this afternoon behind the safety car after heavy rain fell on the track.


•    Tyre choice had a huge impact on the standings. After two hours, the Alpine A460s were 12th (Signatech-Alpine no. 36) and 15th (Baxi DC Racing Alpine no. 35) in the LMP2 category.


•    Before the start of the race, the Signatech-Alpine team's mechanics did a superb job in managing to rebuild the no. 35 car after it was damaged in an accident in the warm-up.



     
Designed to put the cars through their paces and make final checks before the race, the warm-up saw a number of cars go off the track, including the Baxi DC Racing Alpine no. 35. David Cheng was caught out by a wet patch in the Indianapolis corners.


The mechanics only had a few hours to change the entire bodywork, two half-axles and several other mechanical components, but they managed to get the car ready in time for the start.


Glorious sunshine welcomed the cars onto the starting grid, but dark clouds gathered quickly and a shower soaked the track before the start!


Race Control therefore decided to start the race behind the safety car. Fitted with wet weather tyres, Nelson Panciatici (no. 35) and Nicolas Lapierre (no. 36) drove for almost an hour at a reduced speed.


Shortly before 4pm, the race was underway for real as the safety car left the damp track. As further showers were forecast, both prototypes came in for intermediates tyres on their first pit stop.


This decision did not pay off, however, and both cars lost several places in the overall standings. However, the race is now well and truly underway and the Alpines have already started their fightback!


Philippe Sinault, Signatech-Alpine Team Principal
: "I must first of all praise the work of our mechanics, who managed to rebuild the no. 35 car in time for it to start the race as normal!


The start of the race wasn't easy to manage, with weather conditions that were changing minute by minute. Our decision to switch to intermediates didn't come off but it was the safest option and it didn't cost us too much time.


Nicolas and Ho-Pin, who took over from Nelson, have already started to make up ground."




LMP2 standings at 5pm

1. Manor no. 44 – 25 laps
2. Thiriet by TDS Racing no. 46 +20.134
3. Strakka Racing no.42 +35.330
4. G-Drive Racing no. 38 +44.248
5. G-Drive Racing no. 26 +44.419
12. Signatech-Alpine no. 36 +1:35.722
15. Baxi DC Racing Alpine no.35 +1 lap



Marie-Hélène Bacle - photo Romain Scholer automobilsport.com

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18.06.2016 / MaP

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