Alpine’s Monza win was “really crucial” for WEC title hopes

The second wins of Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Andre Negrao of the WEC season, following their success in the Sebring season-opener, mean they are now leading by 10 points with just two rounds left this season in Fuji and Bahrain. .

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This followed a disastrous Le Mans 24 Hours for the Alpine team powered by Signatech, as its A480-Gibson grandfathered LMP1 car fought for performance following a series of Performance Balance changes and suffered issues with reliability.

Lapierre, Vaxiviere and Negrao were ranked fifth in the Hypercar division but claimed points for fourth because better -placed Glickenhaus, which took the lowest step on the podium behind Toyota pair GR010 Hybrids, was a additional cars not entered for WEC points.

“Second victory of the year, which was great, and really important after the hard Le Mans we had,” Lapierre said. “We know this career is important because we know that the next career at Fuji is not going to be easy for us.

“It’s Toyota’s home soil so we have to fight hard there. But the car is working well and the team is performing at a great level and it is a great challenge for us.

Alpine came in for the win at Monza after some tough battles with both Toyota crews, taking the lead following a penultimate-hour clash with Kamui Kobayashi’s #7 GR010 Hybrid.

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Vaxiviere, who was at the wheel of the A480 at the time, said Kobayashi and Ryo Hirakawa’s attack on the #8 Toyota was “pretty far -fetched”.

“I had two, three laps [racing] with the [#8] car on the straight, there are some moves that are a bit dangerous actually, ”reflected Vaxiviere.

“It’s too late [with the #7], when we had contact, I was already inside and I decided not to change lines. I can do nothing about that.

“It’s a good thing we still finished well and we didn’t have any problems with the car. It’s part of the race. Ultimately we want a fair fight. That’s a bit far, but I still enjoy the Toyota race. ”

Despite another BoP-led adjustment at Monza that gave Alpine an additional 11kW (15bhp), the Gibson-engined car still struggled to match the heavier, more powerful Toyota LMH on the straight roads at Monza .

Alpine team principal Philippe Sinault said the team overcame this built-in disadvantage by applying its approach to perfection in a career full of full-course yellow periods and equipped with mid-race safety car.

“It’s going to be a challenging career because the technical details of our prototypes are very different,” Sinault said.

“We knew it was hard to overtake our rivals on straight roads, so we worked hard on all aspects of strategy: undercuts, full course yellow, tire management and fuel consumption. We achieved this result step by step from our first laps on Friday.

“The whole team came together after Le Mans to show a flawless performance, as did the drivers with some incredible, even magical moves. We are all proud of the very good success this! “

While Alpine tops the drivers standings, Toyota maintains the manufacturers ’racing advantage by 15 points – as it can count its best finish from either of its two cars for each race.

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