Alpine suffer a humiliating double DNF at 24 Hours of Le Mans

Alpine suffer a humiliating double DNF at 24 Hours of Le Mans

Both Alpine hypercars were out of action after six hours at the 24 Hours of Le Mans due to engine issues.

Alpine’s quest for victory in its landmark return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans was dealt a huge blow after both A424s retired with 18 hours remaining.

Ferdinand Habsburg stopped the No. 35 A424 at Arnage as it let out a cloud of smoke from the rear, while the sister number 36 car retired in the pits.

After Nicolas Lapierre brought the no.36 in, mechanics were seen rummaging through the engine bay at the back of the garage. The car was later determined to have suffered a driveshaft failure and was ultimately retired ending Alpine’s hopes of a strong home finish.

Alpine team principal Philippe Sinault acknowledged that the team was aware that reliability would likely pose a challenge during the A424’s La Sarthe debut, but he claimed the realization did not make the team’s disappointment over the humiliating conclusion to their effort any less real.

“The double retirement is cruel, even if we knew reliability could be an issue,” said Sinault. “Despite all the testing and simulations, only the truth of the race matters.

“Our start to the season had shown us some great things, so it’s all the more disappointing and disconcerting to retire so early. But we have to take the positives and keep moving forward.

“This week we have had confirmation that our car is fast. We must keep working to pick ourselves up and make progress, although the whole team is suffering tonight.”

Alpine’s double DNF came after an impressive performance in qualifying and practice, where the No. 35 team – Charles Milesi, Paul-Loup Chatin, and Habsburg – qualified for Hyperpole and placed fifth on the grid.

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Nicolas Lapierre did, however, acknowledge in his pre-race statement that he wasn’t sure he would finish the race trouble-free after an air intake issue in first qualifying prevented the No. 36 Alpine from possibly making it to Hyperpole.

“We said from the start that we were here to learn this year,” Lapierre said. “We didn’t expect to perform as well as we did this week

“So the slide is even harder, but this will be helpful to us in the future. Now we will do everything we can to come back stronger.”

Alpine VP Motorsports Bruno Famin added: “We knew that this debut 24 Hours of Le Mans would be a steep learning curve, even more so for only the A424’s fourth race. But that doesn’t change our disappointment.

“We will analyze the reasons for this mechanical problem so that we can come back stronger next year. Our car showed good form throughout the week, so we have strong foundations to improve.

“I want to thank everyone for their commitment, but motorsport is cruel. That’s why victory is sweeter when it happens.

“Seeing the tears and the disappointed faces this evening, I am convinced we will make Alpine Endurance Team a squad capable of fighting for podiums and wins.”

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