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Le Mans 24 Hours

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ON THE STARTING GRID

Buoyed by its victory at Spa-Francorchamps and having secured second and third places on the starting grid in-class, Alpine is one of the LMP2 favourites. At the heart of the pre-race action, the voice of Hollywood actor Brad Pitt rings out: “Drivers, start your engines!”

A heavy downpour sees the 60 cars begin the race at low-speed behind the safety car as the 84th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours revs officially into life.

BAPTISM OF RAIN

BAPTISM OF RAIN

The unpredictable weather complicates tyre choice, causing the two Alpines to slip to 12th and 15th in the LMP2 class.
Mastering the damp and treacherous track surface, Nicolas Lapierre and Nelson Panciatici waste no time at all in recovering lost ground.
Their respective team-mates Gustavo Menezes / Stéphane Richelmi and Ho-Pin Tung / David Cheng subsequently take over behind the wheel and continue the fightback as they climb to second (No36) and eighth (No35) positions. For the former, the class-leading Thiriet by TDS Racing entry is now just 16 seconds ahead and firmly within sight.

UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS

UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS

In the paddock, with the circuit enveloped by darkness, the conversations are more muted. The madeteam elects to carry out a full check-up of the No36 car and the mechanics duly perform their routine, Adrenaline and good training gives them the energy they need to keep on going through to the end of this marathon.
Despite the constantly changing reference points and the dazzling glare of headlights, the two Alpines continue to cut through the shadows like shooting stars at speeds of almost 300kph. The drivers compensate for the reduced visibility with razor-sharp concentration.

FIGHTING SPIRIT

As the morning sun breaks through, Nicolas Lapierre hands over to team-mate Stéphane Richelmi. The young Monegasque driver slips on his helmet and fireproof balaclava for the final time, lowers his visor, settles into the cockpit of the No36 car and tightens his safety harness. As he leaves the pits, Stéphane’s sole focus is on maintaining the class lead in a tight duel with the N°26 G-Drive Racing entry.

FIGHTING SPIRIT
THE FINISH

THE FINISH

The N°5 Toyota holds a comfortable lead in LMP1 when it suddenly comes to a halt on the track just one lap from the end of the race, gifting an unexpected victory to the No2 Porsche. This late twist is a timely reminder that at Le Mans, the result can never be taken for granted. It is in this highly charged atmosphere that Nicolas Lapierre crosses the finish line to win the LMP2 class, meaning that 38 years after the triumph of Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi, Alpine’s A460 writes its own chapter in the history of this iconic race and propels the team and drivers alike to the top of the FIA LMP2 Endurance Trophy.
When the Marseillaise rings out around the circuit, the crowd pours onto the track.

THE CIRCUIT

The legendary Le Mans 24 Hours is the longest race on the FIA World Endurance Championship calendar.
Over the course of what is a quick 13.6km lap, corners such as Tertre Rouge, Mulsanne, Arnage and Indianapolis, Porsche Curves and the Mulsanne Straight are pivotal and the stuff of motorsport folklore. In order to go the distance, it is vital that a crew looks after its car. This year once again, the Le Mans 24 Hours proved to be an emotive and unpredictable encounter for all of its competitors – truly a race like no other.

THE CIRCUIT