Tangible progress for Alpine Elf Endurance Team ahead of Le Mans
Spa-Francorchamps, France, May 2nd 2023 - Round three of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps is widely regarded as something of a dress rehearsal for the season’s big event, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The iconic racetrack provides competitors with a demanding test and the unpredictable weather in the Belgian Ardennes often complicates matters, especially as regards tyre choice. This year was no different, but the inclement weather did not prevent more than 72,000 fans from braving the elements. In extremely tricky conditions, the Alpine Elf Endurance Team – back racing in the closely-contested LMP2 class this year – showcased the genuine progress that has been made by the French squad. Although the team’s final positions of eight and ninth did not fully reflect this improvement, the cars’ race pace is undoubtedly a very promising sign. “Although the final result fell short of what we were aiming for, we still managed to match the pace of our rivals,” confirmed Philippe Sinault, Alpine Elf Endurance Team Principal. “The final practice session in the rain affected our understanding of the car on this circuit, which explains in part why qualifying was difficult. We bounced back in the race, getting close to a top-five spot, but luck was not on our side, especially with the no. 36 just coming into the pits when the safety car was brought out on track. Despite this unfortunate turn of events and the penalty we picked up, we managed to set the fastest race lap and make up time on our rivals. The no. 35 car also showed significant improvement despite having a fairly tough race. There are a lot of positive points as we no head to Monza for two days of testing. The aim will be to confirm and build on the progress we have made, look more closely at a few ideas we have had and keep trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
An aim also shared by Team Peugeot TotalEnergies, as both their Peugeot 9X8s made it to the finish of the race after a consistent and solid performance. The cars finished seventh and eighth in the Hypercar category, despite one of them having been held up by contact with an LMP2 and whilst the other was hampered by a fuel level sensor issue. Competitive action resumes in just over a month at the centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans (10-11 June).
The TotalEnergies-backed teams once again scored points that may prove vital when it comes to adding up the final totals at the end of the season.