The first half of the year harvested a memorable podium finish for the Alpine A450b in the LM P2 class at Le Mans. Not only that, but Signatech-Alpine also completed the French 24-hour classic in seventh position overall, in addition to seeing Paul-Loup Chatin earn the Prix Jean Rondeau, while Nelson Panciatici posted the LM P2 category’s fastest race lap.
One month on, the team’s priority now is to defend the European Le Mans Series title it won in 2013.
“Everyone in the team did an extraordinary job during the Le Mans 24 Hours,” underlines Signatech-Alpine’s Team Principal Philippe Sinault. “Once again, we were able to gauge how popular this project is. The way we performed, coming seventh overall and posting the fastest race lap in our class have put us on a dynamic footing. That’s crucial as we go into the third round of the 2014 European Le Mans Series which will be vital if we want to win the title for the second year running.”
In 2013, Signatech-Alpine came second overall at the 3 Hours of Red Bull Ring, while Paul-Loup Chatin secured the laurels in the LM PC class.
Nelson Panciatici: “We need to be thinking in terms of the championship. We have no other option than to win in Austria and victory could be decided by the outcome of qualifying. It is a very difficult circuit for overtaking, so it will be important to start from pole position. We have already shown that we can be the fastest at the Red Bull Ring, so it will be up to us to be competitive from the moment we start free practice in order to facilitate the issue of traffic during what is this year a four-hour race.”
Oliver Webb: “Le Mans was a truly exceptional experience but we now need to re-focus on the championship. I know this circuit well from my single-seater days. It’s very narrow and passing isn’t easy, so it needs an aggressive style. Race strategy and fuel consumption also promise to be important factors. We need to score a good result in order to narrow the gap to first place.”
Paul-Loup Chatin: “We demonstrated that we were competitive during Le Mans week and we need to keep up that momentum. To defend the team’s ELMS crown, we can’t afford to make any mistakes. The Red Bull Ring is a reasonably technical track. We will need to take risks because the competition is likely to be very close and it’s never easy to produce the perfect lap there.”
The race will be covered live on TV across Europe and on the Internet (www.europeanlemansseries.com).
Timetable (European time)
Saturday, July 19
10:30am Free Practice 1 (90 minutes)
3:00pm Free Practice 2 (90 minutes)
Sunday, July 20
10:00am LM P2 and LM PC Qualifying (20 minutes)
12:15pm Autograph signing session (30 minutes)
2:00pm Race (4 hours)