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Apr 20, 2014 - 04:44 PM
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Alpine Encouraged By First Points Haul
Posted by: newsla on Apr 20, 2014 - 04:42 PM
Le Mans News
Alpine Encouraged By First Points Haul

Alpine never raced at the UK’s Silverstone Circuit back in the seventies and eighties. The Alpine A450’s first outing at the legendary track in 2013 was a bitter disappointment for the whole Signatech-Alpine team – and so it proved second time out despite those 10 important points they earned today to help their ELMS title defence.


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Friday’s free practice sessions were used to seek the ideal set-up for the Alpine A450 and its 2014-specification Michelin tyres for the specific challenges presented by the English track.

After qualifying seventh, Nelson Panciatici made an excellent start, moving quickly up to fifth but he had to cope with the traffic and premature rear-left tyre wear before handing over to Paul-Loup Chatin at the end of his first stint.

Chatin succeeded in moving back into the top five after completing around 50 laps before handing over to team-mate Oliver Webb. The British driver then maintained the pace as he, in turn, picked his way through the omnipresent traffic with 38 cars competing round the 5.9km circuit.

With less than an hour’s racing remaining, a crash involving two LM P2 cars brought out the Safety Car. Signatech-Alpine took the gamble of not pitting and Paul-Loup Chatin remained in the car, successfully saving fuel to finish the race in fifth place.

Philippe Sinault (Team Principal Signatech-Alpine): “We knew we had our work cut out to make the A450 work on the Michelin tyres developed specially for the new regulations. The drivers, the whole team did a fantastic job and these important points are all down to them. Alpine and Michelin will both now focus on improving the car further in order to play a front-running role at Imola! The racing is clearly going to be close this year, so this weekend’s points could prove very valuable.”

Paul-Loup Chatin: “The team did a great job all weekend to allow us to score valuable points. It was a good idea to go for an offset race strategy, which meant we didn’t have to pit when the safety car was set out.”

Oliver Webb: “We need to work further on the tyre and chassis package for 2014 – it was a bit difficult during practice. But things were better in the race and we ran quite consistently. Fifth is a promising start but of course our sights are set much higher.”

Nelson Panciatici: “We spent all weekend playing catch-up and we made significant progress. We have managed to close the gap significantly to the quickest cars out there, so I think we could be looking for a podium at Imola.”

Signatech-Alpine’s next outing is in Italy, at Imola, for round two of the European Le Mans Series.

Result of the 4 Hours of Silverstone
1, Thiriet by TDS Racing 46 (Badey/Gommendy/Thiriet), 118 laps
2, Race Performance 34 (Frey/Mailleux), +3.828s
3, Newblood By Morand Racing 43 (Brandela/Hirsch/Klien), +4.731s
4, Greaves Motorsport 41 (Dyson/Kimber-Smith/McMurry), +14.388s
5, Signatech-Alpine 36 (Chatin/Panciatici/Webb), +55.068s
6, Greaves Motorsport 28 (Littlejohn/Walker/Wells), +1m0.569s
7, Sébastien Loeb Racing 24 (Capillaire/Charouz), +2 laps
8, Murphy Prototypes 48 (Chandhock/Gonzalez/Kapadia), +6 laps

European Le Mans Series after Round 1 of 5
1, Thiriet By TDS Racing N°46, 25 points
2, Race Performance N°34, 18 points
3, Newblood By Morand Racing N°43, 15 points
4, Greaves Motorsport N°41, 12 points
5, Signatech Alpine N°36, 10 points...

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