Alpine wins the opening round of the 2022 FIA WEC
Sebring, USA, March 22 - Pole position, fastest race lap and first overall win. Alpine Elf Endurance Team stormed to an impressive maiden race win at the opening event of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship in Sebring, Florida, making the perfect start to its second season in the Hypercar class.
After scoring six podiums in as many races during the 2021 season, this result confirmed the team’s growing confidence. Despite using more fuel than its Toyota rivals, the Alpine A480 was clearly the fastest car on track. Matthieu Vaxivière, Nicolas Lapierre and Andre Negrao pushed hard throughout the race to make up for its deficit on fuel economy and build up enough of a lead to make an extra pit stop. They had managed to establish a gap when the race was ended prematurely in the final hour of racing due to the threat of an electrical storm, meaning Matthieu Vaxivière, Nicolas Lapierre and Andre Negrao claimed overall victory after 194 laps, 37 seconds ahead of Toyota Gazoo Racing’s no. 8 car (Buemi - Hartley - Hirakawa).
“It’s an absolutely fantastic maiden win for our team and for Alpine,” commented the delighted Team Principal Philippe Sinault after the race. “Sebring is an iconic track in Endurance, in much the same way as Le Mans. This circuit is so unusual and special, with a unique character. We knew that the conditions here could favour our car given its agility, its ability to absorb the bumps and the efficiency of its aerodynamic package on this kind of track. The drivers were all comfortable throughout the race and they really enjoyed driving their Hypercar. I would also like to congratulate the team for its excellent work at this round. Although it’s only one race, I think we do feel a sense of accomplishment today!” Comments that were echoed by Nicolas Lapierre: “It wasn't an easy race, but we had good pace throughout and we had the right strategy. We knew we would have to make an extra pit stop compared to the Toyotas, so we had to push hard in the race to give ourselves an opportunity to win. It was really nice to hear the Marseillaise on the podium. The team only joined the championship in the Hypercar category last year and it’s a major first for us in this class. The result is just rewards for everyone in the team. We all worked hard to achieve this level of performance. I hope that this is just the beginning!” Alpine Elf Endurance Team will have an opportunity to confirm its excellent start to the season at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (7 May), the next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.