"Ça remet les choses à leur place, on doit encore bosser" : les 24 Heures démentes de l’Alpine au Mans

“It puts things in their place, we still have to work”: the demented 24 Hours of Alpine at Le Mans

The 24 Hours of Le Mans took on the appearance of the Way of the Cross for the Alpine this weekend. A long Way of the Cross. Philippe Sinault has already experienced annoyances in the Sarthe, “but to this point, never”, blows the boss of the Alpine Elf endurance team. Beyond just the race weekend, the whole week in Le Mans was, for the Berruyer camp, filled with frustration. Alpine hoped to put pressure on the favorite Toyota and get involved in the fight for the win, it was never the case.

Accident for Vaxiviere

The test day last Sunday revealed a big power differential between the Toyota Hypercars and the Alpine. After the first free practice, the organizers decided to adjust the balance of performance of the Alpine and to allocate a surplus of performance. Surplus finally canceled the next day. The Alpine was even forced to run with less power and a lower maximum energy per stint. Ask a boxer to fight without gloves, the effect will not be far from being the same…

Berruyère Alpine Elf endurance team 23rd in the 24 Hours of Le Mans [revivre notre direct]

Regular victory was not an option for the Alpine before the start. “The new BoP has put us in a place that we did not imagine, regrets the boss of the team based in Bourges. But those are the rules. We discussed, we scrapped a little but the legislators arrived at this new definition which we found a little harsh. The facts have proven it. In a straight line, we were in a fight with the LMP2s and we couldn’t get out of the traffic. We raced in LMP2…”

Eight laps behind the Toyotas at a third of the race

And when, in addition, breakdowns and incidents follow one another… At the third of the race, after two long pit stops to repair problems with the clutch control and engine coil, the Alpine was, at 9 p.m. , 38th, and was eight laps behind the lead, where the Toyotas, without pressure, recited their score. Launched towards a fifth success at Le Mans for the Japanese brand. Ask a featherweight, without gloves, to face a heavyweight…

“Either I was hitting her or trying to get out of it?; either way, I was screwed…”

But because there was no question of lowering their heads, of going to the ropes, the Berruyère team continued to fight. With his weapons. Place after place, it rose to 17th place in the early morning of Sunday. Until an accident for Matthieu Vaxiviere, hampered in an overtaking by a Porsche of the GTE Am category. No injury for the Limogeaud driver but damage to the car which required twenty minutes of work. When it doesn’t want to… “The Porsche didn’t see me, I went outside in complete safety as I did 200 times in the race, explains Vaxiviere. She didn’t see me, there was an LMP2 to her right, she swerved, it was either I was hitting her or trying to get out of it?; either way, I was screwed…”

The Old Lady made us understand that we had to work a little more, so we’re going to work some more.

There was still just over six hours of racing left and now only one mission for Philippe Sinault’s team: “to avoid the increasing number of incidents and reach the finish to secure points”. With courage, maintaining concentration and determination, the drivers Andre Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere, the engineers and mechanics went to the end of their effort. Rewarded with a 23rd place scratch, fifth in the Hypercar category which brings the team 18 points in the world championship, synonymous with maintaining the status of leader.

premium Philippe Sinault, boss of Signatech, team manager of Alpine: “Here, in Bourges, we build exploits”

“You have to know how to draw something positive from this race, concludes Philippe Sinault. First, when you finish Le Mans, you have no right to sulk. Then the team did a great job, which was rewarded with a prize. And what happened has the merit of putting things in their place. Le Mans remains an incredible thing to go for. We weren’t ready. The Old Lady made us understand that we had to work a little more, so we’re going to work some more. “We have this common goal in the team, the same ambition to win Le Mans, adds Matthieu Vaxiviere. I hope we will get there together. »

At Le Mans, Philippe Baudet


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