Published on November 20th, 2017 | by Subhash Nair0
6 Hours of Bahrain: Signatech Alpine Matmut Sign Off in Style!
Still in contention for the world title, Signatech Alpine Matmut arrived in Bahrain solely focused on winning the race. Fourth in the free practice sessions held on Thursday, the team upped their pace the next day in qualifying.
André Negrão and Gustavo Menezes produced a superb performance to set an average time of 1:47.227 and secure pole position in the LMP2 category, almost 4/10ths clear of the two crews ahead of them in the overall standings.
In spite of the point scored for pole position, the situation remained the same for the no.36 Alpine A470 drivers, who simply had to win in order to have a chance of retaining their title! Nicolas Lapierre led at the start, ahead of Oliver Jarvis (no.38) and Bruno Senna (no.31), whose battle allowed Vitaly Petrov (no.25) to get past at the restart following the first SC period.
Held up by the traffic and with premature wear of his hard tyres, Nico decided not to put up a fight when he came under pressure from the Russian. The team decided to alter its strategy as a result, fitting two medium tyres on the left during its first pit stop. After rejoining the track in seventh place, the Frenchman adopted a pace intended to manage his tyres, in order to complete a triple stint as night fell on the Bahrain International Circuit.
At the end of the second hour, André Negrão took over from Nicolas Lapierre. The Brazilian went on the attack, moving up through the field during two stints before handing over driving duties to Gustavo Menezes, who also pushed during his double stint.
With 1 hr 20 mins left to go, Nicolas Lapierre got back behind the wheel to drive the car to the finish. The various strategies of the crews played out and the no.36 Alpine A470 remained in fourth position despite the efforts of the Frenchman.
Thanks to the points scored, Signatech Alpine Matmut sealed third place in the LMP2 championship standings. Although the French squad had to relinquish the title it brilliantly won in 2016, the entire Signatech Alpine Matmut team is proud of what they have accomplished this season.