may 08, 2019 - Alpine Matmut

WEC - Signatech Alpine Matmut reclaims the championship lead after another podium at Spa

  • Signatech #alpine Matmut takes its seventh consecutive podium in the LMP2 category of the FIA World #endurance Championship.
  • André Negrão, Pierre Thiriet and Nicolas Lapierre finished third in apocalyptic conditions at Spa-Francorchamps.
  • The no.36 #alpine #A470 takes command of the championship heading into the 24 Hours of Le Mans finale (June 15-16).

Beginning on Thursday, the Signatech #alpine Matmut team and the entire field was welcomed to Spa-Francorchamps by extremely difficult and unpredictable weather.

Following a first session focused on set-up, the no.36 #alpine #A470 was caught out by the rain in the afternoon. The French squad still managed to gather a trove of information in the final session before André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet went on to qualifying fifth in LMP2.

The race began under threatening skies at 13:30 on Saturday. First in the car, André Negrão immediately picked up a place, but it began to rain at the end of lap two.

Very quickly, the conditions became hellish as light snow began to fall and the temperature dropped to 1°C. The Brazilian came in for Michelin rain tyres, then the team adapted its strategy thanks to a lightning pit-stop at the end of the first safety car period.

Alpine’s rivals switched to slicks during a break in the weather as well as the second neutralization, and Andre Negrão emerged in the overall lead before handing over to Pierre Thiriet as the third hour began.

On a dry track surface, the French driver put in a solid double-stint by combining speed and consistency at half-distance, but Ho-Pin Tung managed to surprise him just before the storms returned.

Nicolas Lapierre took over to pour the pressure on the Chinese driver. While hail pelted Spa-Francorchamps, the Platinum driver made his stop a lap earlier than his competitor to retake the lead.

The advantage that he quickly built was reduced to zero by another safety car intervention. Pastor Maldonado made the most of it as the race entered the final hour. Following another pause in the action, Nicolas Lapierre continued his triple-stint being third with 15 minutes remaining while the two cars in front of him still had to stop.

The torrential conditions and sometimes-precarious visibility forced the race stewards to wave the red flag 11 minutes from the chequers. Despite an error-free effort from the drivers on the track and the team with the strategy, the #alpine #A470 had to settle for third place, which runs its series of consecutive podium finishes to seven and gains the upper hand from the championship rivals.