Alpine triumphant in WRC return
47 years after winning the first FIA World Rally Championship, Alpine made its return to the world stage in the 2020 season-finale. In abysmal weather conditions, Pierre Ragues and Julien Pesenti mastered the dangers of the ACI Rally Monza to lead the Alpine A110 Rally to victory in the FIA R-GT category.
Just after winning the FFSA French 2WD Rally Championship with Manu Guigou, the Alpine A110 Rally designed and developed by Signatech Automobiles for the R-GT category made its debut in the FIA World Rally Championship.
After finishing up his FIA World Endurance Championship campaign in Bahrain, Signatech Alpine driver Pierre Ragues and his co-driver Julien Pesenti lined up for the start of the ACI Rally Monza in the n°91 Alpine A110 Rally entered by Racing Service.
Like the rest of the field, Pierre Ragues and Julien Pesenti discovered a new event, which had become incredibly selective due to the apocalyptic weather conditions over the four days of competition.
Shod on Michelin tyres, the crew overcame rain on Thursday to immediately take the lead in the R-GT category in the opening stage at the Monza circuit and its inner gravel roads.
Following four more stage wins on the “Temple of Speed” on Friday, Pierre Ragues lived up to the Alpine name on the second leg in the snowy foothills of the Italian Alps. Despite his limited experience in the Lombardy mountains against genuine specialists racing on home soil, the Normandy native used all the agility of the Alpine A110 Rally on extremely tricky roads to turn his 41.5s deficit into a 22.5s lead.
After a ninth best time in 13 stages contested, the duo then sealed their victory with a 38.1s advantage over the Abarth 124 Rally R-GT of Andrea Mabellini and an almost 10-minute margin from the Porsche 997 GT3 Cup RGT of Alberto Sassi.
Thanks to this success against the 2020 FIA R-GT Cup winner, Pierre Ragues, Julien Pesenti and the Alpine A110 Rally add another entry to Alpine’s extremely long list of accomplishments, which began with the first victories of the brand’s founder Jean Rédélé, but also Pierre Ragues who was already at the wheel for Alpine’s victorious return to circuit racing in 2013.
This win also caps in the finest possible manner the first Alpine A110 Rally campaign ahead of 2021, a year promising to be intense with Alpine's entry in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, its move to the LMP1 category in the FIA World Endurance Championship and its customer racing programmes with the Alpine A110 GT4, Cup and Rally, as well as the Alpine Elf Europa Cup and the Alpine Elf Rally Trophy.
What a weekend, what a rally and what a result! It has been a pleasure to drive the Alpine A110 Rally for the first time in the world championship. I could not have expected such a range of challenges in my first-ever WRC event and my maiden competitive outing with this car. We didn't really know where we stood against the competition, but we soon realised that we were in contention for the win. We had to adapt to the demanding, fast-evolving and tricky weather with extreme wet and winter conditions. The grip changed constantly from one side of the mountain to the other, but we managed to get through the weekend with just a double puncture costing us more than two-and-a-half minutes on Friday in SS5. The Alpine A110 Rally gave me the confidence to really pace my risk taking. Before the start, I never imagined I would win, but it's fantastic for Signatech with whom I've enjoyed great success since our ELMS LMP2 title in 2013. Bringing Alpine's name back among the FIA World Rally Championship winners at the dawn of a new sporting era is such a fantastic way to conclude the 2020 season!
Philippe Sinault, Director Signatech
Congratulations to Pierre and his co-driver Julien for this fantastic performance. For their first-ever WRC entry, Pierre and the Alpine A110 Rally won the R-GT category while the rainy, snowy and muddy conditions made Monza a proper nightmare. Pierre, whose versatility makes him a true Alpine ambassador both on track and in stages, was dominant in taking the lead from the start of the rally. Despite a double puncture, he was able to harness all the potential of his car to reclaim the lead and give the Alpine A110 Rally a dream debut on the world stage. Alpine is well and truly back in every discipline in the sport and the adventure has only just begun!
Régis Fricotté, Sales and Competition Director Alpine
Bravo to Pierre, Julien and the Racing Service team for this victory with the support of Signatech. This success once again confirms the tremendous potential of the Alpine A110 in all of its versions and on all surfaces, whether on the road, on the track or in the stages. The chosen fundamentals of lightness and agility are the right ones and have enabled the Alpine A110 Rally to win in its first WRC outing despite treacherous conditions. In addition to the sporting success, this victory also contributes to the brand's awareness and international visibility, a key aspect in Alpine's development.
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