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The result of France’s round of the 2014 European Le Mans Series at Circuit Paul Ricard strengthens Signatech-Alpine’s provisional lead at the top of the championship. Nelson Panciatici and his teammate came second to pull out a 10-point lead ahead of the season’s final round.Nelson Panciatici

After spending the summer break sitting at the top of the provisional European Le Mans Series standings, Signatech-Alpine’s objective at Circuit Paul Ricard was to strengthen its lead ahead of the championship’s finale in October. The Alpine A450b hit the ground running at the same circuit that saw the team clinch Alpine’s first ELMS crown in 2013, 35 years after the make’s success at Le Mans in 1978.

Today, the team opted for a different strategy to that of its rivals and didn’t target pole position. Nelson Panciatici posted the fifth fastest time in qualifying and the aim was to take advantage of this tactical decision in today’s four-hour race. For the race, the drivers perfectly manage the team strategy and cross the finish line in second position, and set the team up well in its bid to claim a second straight European Le Mans Series title!

Philippe Sinault (Team Principal, Signatech-Alpine): “We went for an aggressive strategy because we had no intention of simply covering our rivals from behind. We therefore decided to fit fresh tyres at each stop. That meant our three drivers had to be perfectly on the pace and it also called for some slick pit stop work. Everyone played a part in today’s success. The objective was to gain points over our rivals in the title fight and we succeeded. All we need to do now is finish off the job at the last round at Estoril.”

Nelson Panciatici: “I did my stint on medium-compound tyres and was able to benefit from five or six laps when I was particularly strong to move up the order. The task got a bit more complex after that because I had to take the wear factor into account. Oliver and Paul-Loup also played an important part in today’s podium finish. We are in a good position for the title.”

On paper, only four teams can still hope to claim the 2014 European crown. Signatech-Alpine enjoys a lead of 10 points over its biggest threat and another second place at Estoril will suffice to clinch the European Le Mans Series. Sure, Panciatici and his teammates are ready for the final!

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