Alpine marks racing return with 15th finish in the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours

Article by Anita Panait, on June 25, 2013

Alpine's comeback to racing grounds was a very successful one after placing 15th overall and ninth in the LMP2 class in the 81st running of the world-famous endurance racing contest, the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours. Signatech Alpine's Nissan-Alpine racing unit, driven by Tristan Gommendy, Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues, completed a total of 317 laps in 24 hours of race.

The team suffered a delay due to trouble in the first few hours of the race, which forced them to make two unscheduled pits stops. The team then clawed their way from 51st place to 15th overall. Signatech Alpine team mechanics Michael Bimont, Pierre Gaches, Benoit Hamel and car chief Denis Motot also received the 38th ‘Prix ESCRA’ for the best technical performance in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Signatech Alpine team principal Philippe Sinault praised the outfit's "caliber," saying that the work carried out in recent weeks and over the actual race has been outstanding. He said that it was a "tremendous source of pride" to see their mechanics’ efforts recognized by a jury. Sinault said that award was very significant, since the mechanics are very much part of the team's future. He remarked that during the Le Mans 24 Hours, they were able note how much the sport’s fans "want to see the fabulous Alpine story continue." Sinault that although the race was difficult mentally, the team was able to demonstrate they have a "great deal of potential."

Nelson Panciatici: “I think we showed that we are competitive – our lap times underlined that we were in the ballpark – so I am naturally disappointed with the end result. My final stint was the most difficult one, but by then, there was nothing really left to fight for. This team and the Alpine A450 clearly have potential – we’ve proved that here!”

Tristan Gommendy: “That was a particularly tough race. We made a few small mistakes, which caused us to drop out of the leading pack during the early phase of the race. We pushed flat-out to battle our way back, and it was towards the end of the race that I felt the most comfortable and set some strong lap times. My final stint was really enjoyable – I was in the car for almost three hours. Whatever the result, we will have very good memories of Alpine’s return to Le Mans this year!”

Pierre Ragues: “I think that was the most difficult of the seven races I have driven at Le Mans. I didn’t do a single stint without it raining! The track conditions were constantly changing. For Alpine’s return to Le Mans, the weather could certainly have been kinder to us! We knew we needed to get to the finish, especially after the problems we had at the beginning of the race. On my side, I gave it everything I could, but I am obviously a bit disappointed and frustrated because our pace showed that our podium ambitions were definitely achievable.”

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