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Silverstone

PRIMED FOR ACTION

Silverstone hasn’t been happy hunting ground for Alpine since its return to motor racing in association with Signatech.

PRIMED FOR ACTION

In 2015, however, disappointment lay in wait with an accident just 37 minutes into the race. This time around, the team was raring to go and eager to showcase the potential of its two new LMP2 class A460 prototypes. “The true picture will only emerge once we take to the track,” acknowledged Philippe Sinault. Snow on Saturday forced the abandonment of the final free practice session, but the uniquely British spring weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of the squad’s six drivers.

Green flag

At midday on Sunday, 33 cars – 11 of them in the LMP2 class – lined up in front of Silverstone’s Wing as the sound of ‘God Save the Queen’ rang out. After a final strategy discussion, Gustavo Menezes climbed into the cockpit of the N°36 Alpine. On the starting grid, Nelson Panciatici (N°35) was fully focused and ready for the fight.

Green flag

Following the green flag, the two Alpines began the race cautiously before settling into a fast and consistent rhythm to work their way up the order.
All eyes were on the behaviour of the new Dunlop Tyres.

A NAIL-BITING END TO THE RACE

One hour-and-52-minutes from the chequered flag, Stéphane Richelmi (N°36) sat second in class with David Cheng (N°35) in seventh. With the bit between his teeth, he caught the RGR Sports by Morand and ESM Ligier-Nissan entries. Behind-the-scenes, the tension was palpable, with Bernard Olivier’s attention fixed on the timing screens. With just ten minutes remaining, a left-front puncture restricted the N°36 Alpine to a fourth-placed finish, with the N°35 winding up seventh to register its first championship points.

A NAIL-BITING END TO THE RACE

The foundations have been laid. The team and all six drivers were flawless and everybody did exactly what we asked of them, so it was very encouraging.

Philippe Sinault - Team Principal Signatech-Alpine

For many years now, Silverstone has been regarded as a temple of speed, with its long straights that encourage jaw-dropping displays of acceleration. A multi-car pile-up on the opening lap of the 1973 British Grand Prix sparked a succession of circuit modifications over the following decades. The introduction of chicanes shifted the onus towards a more technical approach, most notably upon entry to the famous Maggots-Becketts-Chapel complex at speeds of more than 200kph, representing a real challenge for competitors.