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15/11/2021 News

A sixth podium finish in as many races for the Alpine Elf Matmut Endurance Team!

BAHRAIN, Persian Gulf, November 15th 2021 - Persistence and plenty of talent. These were the qualities displayed once again by the Alpine Elf Matmut Endurance Team’s Alpine A480, driven by Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrão and Matthieu Vaxivière at the 8 Hours of Bahrain. 

Held on the same track as last week’s six-hour race, this sixth and final round of the season saw the Elf-backed French squad put into practice the lessons learned from racing a week ago. So much so that Matthieu Vaxivière closed the gap to pole position compared with a week earlier in setting the third-fastest time in qualifying. The Alpine A480 maintained its excellent form in the race, as Nicolas Lapierre made a flying start, grabbing the early lead as he moved ahead of both Toyotas and then holding position for the first nine laps. Unfortunately, a technical issue with the gearbox meant the car had to come into the pits and although the mechanics managed to fix the problem is just seven minutes, the crew rejoined the race down in twentieth place. Once again, the crew displayed impressive speed and great determination – combined with the car’s incredible reliability – they made a superb recovery to get back to the front of the field. Their impressive performance was rewarded twenty-three minutes from the end of the race as they managed to claim a richly-deserved third place to sign off in style a successful debut season in the top-flight Hypercar class.

“We made a very good start to the race with Nicolas,” analysed Philippe Sinault, Alpine Elf Matmut Endurance Team Principal, “but things turned out differently to our expectations at that point as we encountered our first and only reliability issue of the season. After losing just seven minutes in the pits thanks to the fantastic work of our mechanics, we set ourselves the goal of keeping our run of podium finishes going, as third place was still within our grasp. We kept pushing to get there, but we also knew that it would have been difficult to do better even if we had not had the issue at the start. We therefore all need to review our performance to provide greater competitiveness going forward. Above all else, however, the key thing for me is that the team made genuine progress on all levels this season and we have established some very solid foundations for the future. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for everyone’s hard work and say congratulations for this debut season in the Hypercar class.”

Championship update

This sixth consecutive podium finish in the FIA World Endurance Championship ensures that the Alpine Elf Matmut Endurance Team ends the year as runners-up to Toyota in the manufacturers’ championship, whilst Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrão and Matthieu Vaxivière conclude their excellent season in third position in the drivers’ standings.