Alpine wins Monza after late contact

Alpine WEC

Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxivière and André Negrão. Picture: WEC

The Alpine Endurance Team secured a spectacular victory in the 6 Hours of Monza, as part of the fourth round of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship on Sunday.

Frenchmen Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxivière, and Brazilian André Negrão were victorious in the Gibson-powered #36 Alpine A480 to claim the French squad’s second victory for the season.

Over the course of 194 laps, the trio moved to the front of the field from third on the grid, before overcoming challenges from both Toyota Gazoo Racing Hypercars in the latter stages to earn a hard-fought victory.

The #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid of Brendon Hartley, Sébastien Buemi, and Ryo Hirakawa finished 2.7s behind the winning entry, while their team-mates, the 2019–20 WEC winning combination of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and José María López rounded out the podium in the #7 sister car, two laps behind after a penalty for contact was issued.

The #708 Glickenhaus Racing SCG 007 Hypercar of Romain Dumas, Olivier Pla and Pipo Derani set the pace in qualifying to claim pole position and looked to have put themselves in with a strong chance of victory, after leading the opening stages.

The complexion of the race changed after two hours when a crash, resulted in a safety car that closed up the field, with the pole-sitters handed a drive-through penalty for a speeding infringement, before retiring from the race.

The top three were separated by only a few seconds going into the final two hours, with positions swapping at each pit stop.

The fifth hour proved decisive, with Vaxivière moving past Hirakawa into second before the Frenchman set his sights on Kobayashi.

Kobayashi was defending the lead against Vaxivière on the main straight, with contact between the two Hypercars resulting in a punctured tyre and bodywork damage for the Toyota.

The Toyota was handed a 90-second stop/go penalty for the incident, which largely prevented the #7 from bettering a third place finish.

Vaxivière held off a late-race assault from Hirakawa to secure victory after six hours.

Australian James Allen, Austrian Rene Binder and American Steven Thomas drove their ORECA 07 Gibson to a LMP2 Pro-Am class win for Algarve Pro Racing, finishing 10th overall.

After Monza, Alpine leads the 2022 WEC season on 106 points, ahead of both Toyota Gazoo Racing entries on 96 points (#8) and 76 points (#7) respectively.

The fifth round of the World Endurance Championship, the 6 Hours of Fuji, will take place at Fuji Speedway in Japan on Sunday, September 11.

All World Endurance Championship rounds are shown live, ad-free, and on demand on Stan Sport.

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