by Groupe Renault - Sports

Alpine makes successful return at Le Mans 24 hours finishing 9th in LM P2

Tags: sinault

35 years since Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi won the Le Mans 24 hours with Alpine A 442B. 17 years since the brand, launched by Jean Rédélé in 1955, had vanished. So one might say Renault-Alpine's return in competition was much-awaited. Thanks to driver-trio Tristan Gommendy, Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues, the Alpine A450 prototype (V8 Nissan VK45 550 hp engine), number 36, crossed the finish line on Sunday June 23, 2013. Mission accomplished!

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Alpine has successfully achieved its first objective for its racing return. Launched on March 8, this participation in the LMP2 class of the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours has allowed the brand to truly appreciate the unwavering support of its fans.

On the track, Tristan Gommendy, Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues made it to the finish of the race. Delayed by a troubled first few hours that necessitated two unscheduled pit visits, 13 laps behind, the Signatech Alpine trio subsequently fought back from 51st place to take the chequered flag ninth in the LMP2 class and 15th overall.

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A disappointing result for the team ? Not really. According to Carlos Tavares, Renault COO, "we're proud to be here and not have our competitors' resources", "our position is that of David and not of Goliath". "The first observation I must make is the calibre of our team,” affirms Signatech Alpine team principal Philippe Sinault. “We were able to note just how much the sport’s fans want to see the fabulous Alpine story continue. The race was difficult mentally, but I think we demonstrated that we have a great deal of potential and the early frustrations were alleviated by our superb fight back. We needed to show everybody what we are capable of, but ultimately, victory is the only true satisfaction – and we will do everything within our power to reach that new goal as quickly as possible!”

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Carlos Tavares & Philippe Sinault

The efficiency of the Signatech Alpine outfit was underscored when a jury awarded the 38th ‘Prix ESCRA’ – for the best technical performance in the Le Mans 24 Hours – to the team’s mechanics Michaël Bimont, Pierre Gaches, Benoît Hamel and car chief Denis Motot.

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What now for Alpine? Well in the near future, an outing in Austria for the third round of the European Le Mans Series (July 19-20). In a not so near future, for the brand's revival in partnership with Caterham, patience is the key. During Le Mans' press conference, Carlos Tavares announced the architecture, chassis and engine that will equip the first production Alpine, were already approved. Only the design remains to be confirmed (Laurens van den Acker, Renault Design VP, is in charge of it)... One thing is for sure though, Alpine is back, well and alive!

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Tags: sinault