Alpine finish promising weekend just shy of Silverstone podium
MEDIA RELEASE: Signatech-Alpine travelled to the opening round of the 2016 FIA WEC campaign at Silverstone eager to show its ambition in this season’s world championship with its two Alpine A460 prototypes.
Following two productive free practice sessions on Friday, the third – planned for Saturday morning – was cancelled due, astonishingly, to snowfall!
Qualifying subsequently took place in tricky, mixed conditions and the N°36 and N°35 A460s collected seventh and tenth places respectively in the LMP2 order after failing to make the most of their rain tyres.
Despite their cautious approach, Nelson Panciatici and Gustavo Menezes began the race intent on working their way up the order and they duly climbed the LMP2 leaderboard during their opening stints. The former later relinquished the reins to Ho-Pin Tung and David Cheng, while the latter handed over to Nicolas Lapierre and Stéphane Richelmi.
Just before the three-hour mark, a puncture for the N°35 car prior to a neutralisation period prevented it from staying on the same lap as the leader and, as a result, from challenging for a top finish.
The two Alpine A460s also suffered from significant tyre wear during their second stints on the same tyres but they took advantage of the way the race unfolded to move up the order.
At the wheel of the N°36 A460, Nicolas Lapierre worked his way into a podium position during the final hour of the race. However, an LMP1 car forced him to run wide through Turn 1 and he fell back to fourth. Shortly afterwards, a puncture dashed any remaining hopes he may have nurtured of recovering lost ground.
Fourth place nonetheless marked the team’s best result at Silverstone since Alpine’s return to endurance competition.
Panciatici brought the sister N°35 A460 to the finish in seventh position following a consistent effort.