‘Right from the start, we knew it would be difficult’ – Vaxiviere on Alpine podium pursuit

Alpine Elf Matmut’s Matthieu Vaxiviere acknowledged the challenge to secure a Le Mans podium finish with the margin set closely in Hypercars.

The Alpine Hypercar crew claimed a podium finish last Sunday behind the two Toyotas.

Nicolas Lapierre qualified their A480 Gibson third, sixth-hundredths ahead of the #708 Glickenhaus.

Andre Negrao, Lapierre and Vaxiviere fought with the #708 throughout to land their fourth overall podium finish since stepping up to the top category this season.

Vaxivi√®re said: “Right from the start, we knew it would be difficult with Toyota because they had great pace. It was up to us not to make a mistake and to push ourselves.

“My incident in the first Mulsanne chicane was my fault. At least we didn’t sustain too much damage or lose too much time.

“In the end, we made it onto the podium. We are very proud of that.”

After two formation laps, the start begun under rain-soaked conditions.

Alpine’s Lapierre went side-by-side into the Dunlop Chicane with the #8 Toyota, before Sebastien Buemi and Glickenhaus’ Olivier Pla had contact with one another.

Buemi was facing the opposite direction which allowed the Alpine into second until Lapierre half-spun at the exit of Indianapolis, getting the A480 Gibson stranded at the width of the circuit.

However, such mistakes from Lapierre, and Vaxiviere, were a rarity since the team first raced this ex-LMP1 package at Spa.

“Our team has really gelled and that makes the adventure even better.

“The team has done excellent work over the last several months and I am sure we will return.”

Despite the fuel tank deficit Alpine faced, at 75L compared to the Toyota’s 90L capacity, they asserted their best pace to make the most from their two main moments of the race.

Glickenhaus’ #708 SCG 007 LMH had several encounters with Alpine in the pursuit for the final podium spot, taking it four laps behind the winning Toyota.

With Alpine soon due to announce a Hypercar project, expected to commence from 2023, the French outfit will likely return to fight for the overall Le Mans win once again.