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Alpine celebrates its return to motor racing by scooping the 2013 European Le Mans Series title!

The Alpine A450 of Pierre Ragues and Nelson Panciatici secured the 2013 ELMS crown thanks to a score of three podium finishes, including outright victory in Hungary, 35 years after the Alpine A442b's triumph at Le Mans in 1978 with Didier Pironi/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud.

Signatech-Alpine claimed fourth place at the final round of the 2013 championship at Circuit Paul Ricard, France, after a drama-packed race.

Alpine's renaissance was marked by the brand's return to motor racing and its maiden season was rewarded with the 2013 European Le Mans Series title.

Signatech-Alpine's programme for the season was confirmed on March 8 and featured two primary objectives: June's Le Mans 24 Hours and the European Le Mans Series. In the six months that have elapsed since that announcement, the Alpine A450 has produced a number of top performances, extending from a strong display at Le Mans – which earned the ESCRA Award for the best technical support – to the brand's first title success of the modern era.

Just two weeks after its landmark victory in Hungary, Signatech-Alpine lined up for the start of the 3 Hours of Paul Ricard with the ELMS title in its sights, 39 years after its last European crown with Alain Serpaggi, Gérard Larousse, Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Alain Cudini.

This weekend's competition saw Pierre Ragues qualify the Alpine A450 on the second row before a cautious start to the race which led to the car initially trailing its chief rival for the championship. However, a lengthy pit stop for the latter enabled the Normandy-based driver to figure in fourth place during his 90-minute stint.

He then handed the car to his team-mate Nelson Panciatici who was forced to pit to change a defective steering wheel shortly afterwards. Overcoming that unscheduled stop, Nelson then successfully fought his way back up the order to clinch the title which came close to slipping from Alpine's grasp...

Indeed, the N°36 Alpine A450 climbed from seventh place to claim fourth overall after improving its best race lap once again and despite one last pit stop which enabled Panciatici to complete the three-hour race with the pressure off. Fourth place was sufficient to clinch the 2013 ELMS crown for Alpine.

“This title is a tremendous reward for a season which I believe was marked by panache, determination and professionalism,” observed Bernard Ollivier after the finish. “Ever since the start of the programme, we have been privileged enough to benefit from strong backing from the media and racing fans alike. We would like to dedicate this title to them. Perhaps it's just a first step…”

“I think we can say that Alpine is back,” observed Signatech Alpine's Team Principal Philippe Sinault. “This team is like a family; a family which has worked very hard. It wasn't easy because the programme got off to a late start and it took a little time to get everything into motion. It's been a highly emotional ride, too. I would also like to congratulate Paul-Loup Chatin on his races which have earned him the title in his category. He was a firm believer in our project and I hope to see him become part of our LM P2 programme next year. It's too soon to talk about 2014 but we are exploring the possibility of running two Alpine A450s at Le Mans as part of a broader programme.”

Philippe Sinault's associate Didier Calmels added: “This title is the perfect reward for the hard work and sacrifices put in by Philippe Sinault. He has been the perfect leader and has always put the team first. His passion has undoubtedly lifted this programme with Alpine.”

The team's drivers were also moved by the occasion, including Pierre Ragues who produced an impeccable season: “This is a very moving moment, and pretty incredible. We survived a few scares but the main thing is to have won the championship. This title showcases our level and we have made consistent progress. It's time to celebrate our success which Signatech-Alpine deserves 100 percent!”

Nelson Panciatici added: “It was a drama-filled race which turned out to be quite difficult. I pushed as hard as I could during my first stint to move back up the leaderboard, but the end of the race was easier. Perhaps we were a little fortunate today but our sole objective was always the title. Everyone has worked extremely hard on this programme and today we form a real family, so this is a fabulous recompense.”

Like his elders, Paul-Loup Chatin had a dramatic race at Le Castellet, but Alpine's ‘junior' driver succeeded in coming second in the LM PC class to clinch the category's title!

Tristan Gommendy was with Signatech-Alpine at Le Castellet to share the title celebrations. In addition to contesting the Le Mans 24 Hours with Pierre and Nelson, he carried out a significant amount of test work in the Alpine A450 in the course of the year.

News links

2014/04/20 15:00 Alpine encouraged by first points haul 2014/04/09 10:59 ELMS – A Word from The Champions 2 of 3 – Signatech Alpine 2014/03/20 18:30 In addition to defending the ELMS title it secured in 2013, Alpine has set its sights higher for this year's Le Mans 24 hours 2014/03/17 11:00 38 cars on the entry list for the first ELMS gathering of 2014 2014/03/07 18:15 Get ready for the ELMS test session at Le Castellet 2014/02/07 14:30 All the facts and figures on the 2014 European Le Mans Series circuits 2013/12/23 12:00 ELMS LMP2 - a true springboard to global endurance racing 2013/12/13 12:00 2013 European Le Mans Series: LMGTE Comes Alive 2013/12/11 12:00 ELMS 2013 - The GTC Class season 2013/12/09 18:10 ELMS Champions were rewarded in Paris 2013/11/20 17:38 Pierre Ragues visits Signatech headquarters as he looks towards 2014 2013/09/30 19:04 TOP 5 for Boutsen Ginion 2013/09/30 11:30 Champions! Two titles and a race win at Paul Ricard 2013/09/30 11:10 Anthony Pons and Soheil Ayari victorious, Gary Hirsch and Paul-Loup Chatin crowned champions ! 2013/09/30 11:05 NEVER STOP A PROSPEED COMPETITION WINING TEAM ! 2013/09/30 10:44 Murphy Prototypes wins ELMS 3 Hours of Paul Ricard 2013/09/29 15:10 Jota Sport secure hard-earned podium finish at Paul Ricard 2013/09/28 19:39 FINAL Report - Signatech Alpine Duo Take 2013 ELMS Title in Drama Filled Finale 2013/09/28 11:45 QUALIFYING: TURVEY AND JOTA MAKE IT 4 POLES FROM 5 EVENTS 2013/09/28 08:55 Question & Answer with Matt Griffin & Johnny Mowlem 2013/09/26 19:28 CHAMPIONSHIP FIGHT TO THE CHEQUERED FLAG AT CIRCUIT PAUL RICARD 2013/09/25 09:37 A finale where the ORECA 03 have everything to play for. 2013/09/25 09:00 Murphy Prototypes has sights set on win at final ELMS round 2013/09/24 20:00 All titles up for grabs at Le Castellet ! 2013/09/24 18:48 Match ball for the Alpine A450 2013/09/18 13:00 The Thiriet by TDS Racing will not give up! 2013/09/16 20:36 A great experience for Boutsen Ginion Racing 2013/09/15 23:35 The sweet taste of victory for Alpine! 2013/09/15 18:34 Murphy Prototypes takes second place at Hungaroring 2013/09/14 20:00 Alpine Win in Hungary to Set Up a Title Showdown in Le Castellet 2013/09/14 11:00 Murphy Prototypes Claim First Pole of 2013 is Extreme Wet Conditions 2013/09/13 18:30 Free Practice 2 : Jota on Top in Hungary after Signatech Alpine Penalised for Yellow Flag Infringement 2013/09/13 13:45 Signatech Alpine lead the way in Budapest 2013/09/11 17:00 3 Hours of Hungaroring: Worldwide TV and internet coverage 2013/09/11 16:50 Kox Racing, with new ELMS driver trio at Hungaroring 2013/09/11 16:45 A « technical » weekend awaits Team Endurance Challenge 2013/09/10 17:45 One more step for Signatech Alpine to climb 2013/09/09 17:00 This week at Hungaroring - the fourth round of 2013 ELMS 2013/09/05 18:35 26 cars on track for Hungary 2013/09/02 20:40 Franck Mailleux forced out of remaining ELMS races 2013/08/29 09:00 Questions & Answers with Pierre Ragues - Signatech Alpine n°36 - LMP2 2013/08/27 10:00 Questions & Answers with Peter Kox 2013/08/26 12:00 Next stop Hungary for the 4th round of the ELMS 2013/08/22 10:43 Questions & Answers with Brendon Hartley 2013/07/21 02:20 Prospeed Competition the first amongst equals in the Austrian Alps 2013/07/21 02:03 Ram Racing consolidate LMGTE lead with 1st & 3rd in Austria 2013/07/21 01:58 Alpine's thrilling ascent in Austrian Alps 2013/07/20 11:37 Jota Take Pole at Red Bull Ring After Alpine Penalised 2013/07/20 08:14 Austrian Fans Will Warm to the American Style ELMS Paddock 2013/07/18 14:14 Sunshine, Sunshine and more Sunshine in Austria this weekend 2013/07/11 15:00 The Austrian drivers racing at Red Bull Ring 2013/07/09 12:00 World Wide TV Coverage for Round 3 in Austria 2013/06/28 19:00 ELMS teams hold their heads up high at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2013 2013/06/28 18:51 ELMS participants entered in GTE at Le Mans 24 Hours 2013/06/28 17:20 24H du Mans 2013 : TOP 12 inLMP2 class. 2013/06/28 17:10 Morand Racing - Looking back over the great race of the team 2013/06/27 12:09 AF Corse GT Am on Le Mans Podium 2013/06/25 17:49 TDS Racing : Ups and downs in the 24 Hours of Le Mans… 2013/06/25 15:36 Top Ten Hit for Greaves Motorsport at 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours 2013/06/25 11:22 Murphy Prototypes - 24 H Du Mans 2013: 7th in class, 13th overall 2013/06/25 10:10 Jota Sport quick but ultimately unlucky en route to eighth at Le Mans 2013/06/24 19:08 HVM STATUS GP forced to retire from the Le Mans 24 Hours due to accident 2013/06/24 10:09 Prospeed brings Le Mans adventure to a successful ending 2013/06/24 09:23 Mission accomplished for the Alpine A450 2013/06/23 16:43 Audi win 12th victory at Le Mans; OAK and Porsche also victorious 2013/06/23 08:57 24H DU MANS : ELMS after 16 hours 2013/06/21 13:03 THE ALPINE A450 TO START FROM THE EIGHTH ROW OF THE GRID 2013/06/20 11:31 24H of Le Mans - Franck Mailleux offers top ten classification to n°43 Morgan-Judd of Morand Racing 2013/06/20 10:39 24H of Le Mans : A studious first test for the Alpine A450 2013/06/19 22:19 24 Heures du Mans : First practice 2013/06/15 12:43 ORECA, 40 years old, is a « Le Mans Addict » 2013/06/09 15:50 The two Alpine A450s claim second and third places in the LM P2 class at pre-Le Mans 24 Hours test day. 2013/06/07 10:57 Andrea Bertolini flying the flag for Dunlop in LMGTE 2013/06/06 13:48 Two A450 Alpines to take part in pre-Le Mans Test Day 2013/06/05 16:13 Mathias Beche’s aims and ambitions for Le Mans 2013/05/24 13:00 A quarter of entries for Le Mans 24 Hours to come from ELMS 2013/05/19 22:00 RAM RACING FINISH 1ST AND 3RD IN ITALY 2013/05/19 21:17 ALPINE BACK ON THE PODIUM AT IMOLA 2013/05/19 20:07 Defending winners Thiriet by TDS Racing do it again with the ORECA 03 2013/05/19 00:09 FERRARI TAKE TOP HONOURS IN ITALY 2013/05/16 15:45 MOMO Megatron-DF1 ready for 2nd round of the ELMS in Imola 2013/05/16 15:30 The Alpine A450 target the podium at Imola 2013/05/16 14:32 Burgess and Hirschi to drive for HVM Status GP at Imola and Le Mans 2013/05/14 13:45 ELMS TV and Web coverage is increasing as the season goes on 2013/05/10 11:00 ELMS looks forward to Imola 2013/05/09 11:15 An increased grid for round two of the ELMS 2013/05/08 15:51 Le Mans 24 Hours : Matt Downs joins Boutsen Ginion Racing 2013/05/07 12:31 ELMS series leader gains podium finish at the WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps race