It’s official, Signatech-Alpine are the LMP2 champions of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship. The team claimed their victory after finishing 4th in their category at the 6 Hours of Shanghai, which quickly became a title deciding race.
Throughout the season, the team consisting of Nicolas Lapierre, Gustavo Menezes and Stéphane Richelmi won 4 out of the 8 races so far, with one left to go. Their biggest win came at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the race which was arguably the turning point of their season which has seen them win both the LMP Teams’ and Drivers’ titles.
While the Signatech-Alpine team looked set to secure the championship in Shanghai, the race wasn’t without its struggles. Whilst holding third place, Gustavo Menezes was propelled into a spin by title contenders Ligier, however both the driver and the car came away unharmed and they were still able to secure 4th place while their rivals were handed a penalty.
Commenting on the race and on the championship victory as a whole, Gustavo Menezes said:
“This is the greatest season of my career! We would have loved to do better today, but we had to focus on the bigger picture. We won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the LMP2 championship! Personally speaking, I'm also very proud to have won in Austin. The team did a fantastic job once again. Our tyre strategy wasn't ideal, but that's what we had to do in order to achieve our goal. Bruno Senna apologised after his little mistake. These things happen and there's no problem between us”
While the team may be celebrating a championship, they’re still looking to bring home one final win at the 6 Hours of Bahrain. The pressure maybe off the trio to deliver a championship result, but they still want to deliver a win to end their season on a high.
Bernard Ollivier, Alpine Deputy Managing Director said:
In the last race, we'll be able to fight for victory with the pressure off, our only ambition will be to honour Alpine's characteristic panache.
Things are already looking for good for Signatech-Alpine as the results of the first free practice saw them finish first in their category once again. However, the race itself won’t be a simple walk in the park, the rest of the LMP2 teams will still be competing against each other to ensure they can get the best results possible for their team.
The 6 Hours of Bahrain is held at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir and since the first race took place in 2012, the track has become a staple in the WEC ever since. The track spans over 5 kilometres and features 15 different turns, each one offering drivers unique opportunities to increase their standing.
As the FIA World Endurance Championship enters the final straight, competition will be getting fierce across all the categories as drivers look to gain the maximum amount of points available to finish their season in a position both the drivers and their fans can be proud of.
The 6 Hours of Bahrain takes place on Saturday 19th November at 16:00 local time.