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Signatech Alpine Elf heads to WEC race in Japan

Signatech Alpine Elf heads to WEC race in Japan

02.10.2019: The FIA World Endurance Championship begins its Asian swing this week in Japan. On the podium without interruption since 2015, Signatech Alpine Elf



•    The FIA World Endurance Championship begins its Asian swing this week in Japan.


•    On the podium without interruption since 2015, Signatech Alpine Elf will try to make it five in a row this weekend at Fuji.


•    After a dramatic runner-up finish at Silverstone, André Negrão, Thomas Laurent and Pierre Ragues will try to continue the streak for the team.


 


A month after the season-opener at Silverstone, the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship heads to the Far East to begin a journey that will take the field to Japan, China and Bahrain before the end of the calendar year.



Like their competitors, Les Bleus will travel to the legendary Fuji Speedway for the first of three Asian stops. Situated some 100 kilometres from Tokyo with Mount Fuji in the background, this monument to endurance racing features a 1.5 km-long straight leading to a section of fast curves and two other slower sectors.



In addition to seeking the perfect balance between aerodynamic finesse and efficient traction at the exit of tight turns, one of the key challenges of the Signatech Alpine Elf team could however come from the sky as autumn rains arrive on the Japanese archipelago.



While unpredictable weather often causes trouble in the race, Alpines have regularly done well to control the conditions. After the A441's victory at the Fuji 500 km in 1978, the A450b scored the Alpine’s first WEC podium in 2015. Since then, the different models entered have always led their crews to a post-race spray of champagne by finishing third in 2016, second in 2017 and third again in 2018.


Even more united after their second-place finish accomplished on the last lap a Silverstone, Thomas Laurent, André Negrão and Pierre Ragues should once again demonstrate selflessness and brilliance to keep this streak alive at one of the team’s favourite circuits. The stakes will be double for the trio who will seek to continue to score big points and lead the squad to its tenth consecutive podium in the LMP2 category.



The crew will face-off against its rivals starting on Friday for the first two free-practice sessions. A third session will take place Saturday morning before qualifying at 6:40am Central European time. The 6 Hours of Fuji will start Sunday at 11am local time (GMT+9), that is 4am Central European time.


 


 

 


Quotes


Philippe Sinault, Team principal Signatech Alpine Elf



“The Asian swing begins a Fuji, which is a circuit we know very well. It has its own specificities with a very long straight requiring a compromise between top speed and aerodynamic load. The traction and tyre wear are equally important, especially if it rains and it seems that we will most likely encounter such conditions again this year. We are not worried about it, but we are never immune from a bad-timed safety car, full race yellow or red flag.



This cost us wins when we had the situation under control in the past. We must therefore be extremely alert and focused to what happens to remain actors, rather than spectators, for six hours. The format will be more traditional that it was at Silverstone with a race length we prefer.



With all these elements, the set-ups will be more focused on the comfort of the drivers on every lap in all these conditions. Our goal will be a fifth consecutive podium at Fuji and a tenth on the bounce in LMP2 to extend our streak while continuing to score important points in the championship.”





Timetable (GMT+9)


FRIDAY 4 OCTOBER


11h00-12h30: free-practice 1
15h30-17h00: free-practice 2


SATURDAY 5 OCTOBER


9h20-10h20: free-practice 3
13h40-14h00: qualifying LMP1 / LMP2



SUNDAY 6 OCTOBER


11h00-17h00: 6 Hours of Fuji
 


 
Christophe Deville- photos Renault

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/signatech-alpine-elf-wec-race-japan-fuji---198406.html

02.10.2019 / MaP

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