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Alpine “Really in Shape” for Le Mans after Third Podium Run

Alpine buoyed by third consecutive WEC podium result ahead of Le Mans…

Photo: MPS Agency

Matthieu Vaxiviere believes that Alpine Endurance Team is “really in shape” for the 24 Hours of Le Mans after the French team finished second in Sunday’s 6 Hours of Monza.

Vaxiviere, Andre Negrao and Nicolas Lapierre claimed their third consecutive podium of the FIA World Endurance Championship season by finishing one place behind the winning No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid of Jose Maria Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway.

The No. 36 ORECA-built Alpine A480 Gibson LMP1 car was the only one of the five Hypercar class competitors to complete the Monza race without any major trouble.

“This is really positive for Le Mans,” Vaxiviere told Sportscar365.

“We are looking really good and are really in shape. We are motivated. We discovered some stuff that we need to analyze for Le Mans, but all looks quite good.

“We had a clean race. We need to continue on like this for Le Mans and work a bit more on the car for the last tenths and being really perfect. But we are really close to being perfect.

“For sure we are missing a bit of pace compared to the others, but we will see what the BoP is for Le Mans.”

Vaxiviere suggested that Alpine tried to minimize its fuel-saving during the race, despite managing to run 27-lap stints that were only three laps shorter than the winning Toyota.

At Portimao, Alpine’s stints were six to seven laps shorter than Toyota’s which gave the Japanese manufacturer a pit stop advantage by the end of the race due to differences in how much fuel each vehicle can carry. 

Monza saw the Alpine clock more mileage per stint than it did in the previous WEC round, while it remained on the lead lap throughout.

“We didn’t play too much, to be honest,” said Vaxiviere. “I think we just did our best again and were just pushing every time on all laps. We didn’t save fuel a lot.

“It’s still the same here in Monza, because they were doing more laps than us. Maybe a bit less compared to Portimao, but still we struggled on that.

“The pace compared to Portimao, we are now a bit slower than them. We will try to work for Le Mans.”

Vaxiviere admitted that Alpine “didn’t expect” Glickenhaus to provide such a stern challenge for second.

The No. 709 Glickenhaus SCG 007 LMH, which ultimately finished fourth overall, hustled the Alpine after the third-hour safety car until a brake change forced it to leave the podium battle.

Although Romain Dumas didn’t manage to overtake Vaxiviere on track, an earlier pit stop for the Alpine moved the Glickenhaus ahead and put it in a position to briefly lead in the fourth hour when the No. 7 Toyota stopped for a system reset.

“Glickenhaus did well and had a nice race,” said Vaxiviere.

“For sure they had a bit of trouble, but in the end we didn’t expect them to be that close. It’s nice to have competition like this, so I’m really happy that they are there.

“Maybe at the beginning they struggled a bit more than us, but then at one point in the race they were a bit quicker. They did well.

“It’s really positive for them, and now we are looking everyone for Le Mans. It’s really good to have [not only] five competitors, but five good competitors.”

Asked if he felt the Alpine could have beaten the No. 7 Toyota, Vaxiviere said: “It was looking good. We had the [late] Full Course Yellow: I didn’t think we would still win with this, but we can say that we did a perfect race again, from the team and drivers.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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