Published on October 15th, 2018 | by Subhash Nair0
Four in a row for Signatech Alpine Matmut – 6 hous of Fuji
There was a rather unique ceremony on Friday. 10 days after being officially and definitively declared the winners of their category in edition 86 of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Signatech Alpine Matmut and its drivers received their trophy from ACO President, Pierre Fillon.
On the track, the cloudy skies remained clement for the first two free-practice sessions. Despite frequent interruptions due to the improperly installed yellow pylons, the team worked flat out and finished with the best time in session two.
Following the final session where priority was given to tyre strategy, qualifying was confided to André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet. The session was extremely competitive with the duo placing the Alpine A470 fourth in LMP2.
On Sunday, the race began on a wet track. In these difficult conditions, Nicolas Lapierre got off to a perfect start to move up to second place before taking the lead in the opening half hour of the race. The circuit began to dry but still remained rather slippery. After a re-start, Nicolas Lapierre was caught out by the continually changing track conditions and dropped five positions at the end of the hour one.
The team reacted immediately by switching to slick tyres for the end of his triple stint. Just before half distance, the n°36 Alpine returned to the provisional top three. Pierre Thiriet took over and his two strong stints allowed him to pull away from those behind and close the gap to the n°38 Jackie Chan DC Racing entry.
André Negrão also fulfilled his part of the job during his double stint, running a solid third prior to handing over to Nicolas Lapierre in the final hour. The Brazilian driver was back in the car for the last 30 minutes of the race with Ho-Pin Tung in his sights. While he managed to reduce the gap, he ran out of time and had to settle for third place.