- Signatech-Alpine finishes fifth in the LMP2 class in the 6 Hours of Nürburgring.
- The result marks the second top-five finish for Nelson Panciatici, Paul-Loup Chatin and Vincent Capillaire during Alpine’s maiden world championship campaign.
- The next outing will be in less than three weeks’ time at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, Texas, USA.
Just over two months on from its superb start to the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours, Signatech-Alpine, its three drivers and the Alpine A450b returned to the track at Germany’s Nürburgring.
Fifty years almost to the day since Alpine’s historic first outright endurance racing victory around the legendary German circuit, stifling heat greeted the current driving crew of Nelson Panciatici, Paul-Loup Chatin and Vincent Capillaire.
Having kept the class leaders within sight throughout practice, the Signatech-Alpine outfit claimed an encouraging third position amongst the LMP2 contenders on the starting grid.
When the action got underway, Panciatici withstood the attacks of his main rivals to maintain his place inside the top three before handing over to team-mate Paul-Loup Chatin from fifth position following an exhaust temperature scare. During the second half of the race, Vincent Capillaire settled into a consistent rhythm, before Panciatici returned to the cockpit for the last stint.
During the sixth and final hour, Nelson swiftly regained fifth spot and had cut the deficit to fourth-in-class to less than ten seconds when the chequered flag appeared. The Alpine A450b finished 11th in the overall classification.
Philippe Sinault (Signatech-Alpine Team Principal): “We expected a particularly challenging weekend, and that’s exactly what we got! The heat necessitated a big effort to keep tyre wear under control, but the team established a strong set-up for the car and all of our drivers performed well. Our only real concern in the race came early on when the exhaust got too hot. We changed the engine mapping which resolved the problem, but it nevertheless cost us a chunk of time and dropped us from third in class to fifth. Our objective had been to score some points, so it was positive that we succeeded in doing so and the whole team did an excellent job, even if it was disappointing to so narrowly miss out on fourth place. The result goes to show once again just how tough and competitive it is at world championship level.”
Nelson Panciatici: “Everybody in the team performed brilliantly, and I think we extracted the maximum potential from the Alpine A450b, as was demonstrated by our third position in qualifying. I made a good start in the race and didn’t push too hard initially so as to look after my tyres. Our strategy was spot-on. Towards the end, I felt very comfortable and was able to close in on the car ahead in fourth. We have certainly reduced the gap to the new cars since Spa-Francorchamps and, for that, the whole team should take great credit.”
Paul-Loup Chatin: “It was a tricky race. I focused on preserving my tyres in my opening stint and, during the next, everything went really well until we had a safety car period, after which I really struggled for grip. That was a shame, because our ambition had been to fight for the podium. We’re still lacking a little bit of performance, but we’re already looking ahead now to the next round in Austin!”
Vincent Capillaire: “It would have been difficult to come away with a better result than that. I think we have made a lot of progress in our understanding of the Alpine A450b, even if I wasn’t completely happy with my driving. It was particularly complicated in the traffic, which proves that there’s still more to come from me in this car. The team worked well and our strategy was flawless. Thanks both to them and to the members of So24! who came along to support us this weekend.”
LMP2 Classification – 6 Hours of Nürburgring
1. KCMG #47 185 laps
2. G-Drive Racing #26 + 1m11.445s
3. G-Drive Racing #28 + 1 lap
4. Team Sard Morand #43 + 1 lap
5. Signatech-Alpine #36 + 2 laps
6. Extreme Speed Motorsports #30 + 2 laps
7. Strakka Racing #42 + 4 laps
8. Extreme Speed Motorsports #31 + 8 laps
FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams after four rounds
1. KCMG #47 104 points
2. G-Drive #28 89 points
3. G-Drive #26 82 points
4. Extreme Speed Motorsports #31 42 points
5. Oak Racing #35 34 points
6. Extreme Speed Motorsports #30 32 points
7. Strakka Racing #42 31 points
8. Team Sard Morand #43 30 points
9. Signatech-Alpine #36 22 points