Menezes remains in title contention after finishing second for Signatech in China

by Paul Hensby

Signatech Alpine Matmut kept themselves in contention for the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 title with a second place finish in the 6 Hours of Shanghai, but team principal Philippe Sinault admits it will be a tall order to take the title in the season closing 6 Hours of Bahrain.

The #36 trio of Nicholas Lapierre, Gustavo Menezes and Andre Negrao finished second behind the #31 Vaillante Rebellion in China, and it leaves Menezes with an outside chance of the title, sitting as he does twenty-three points off the championship lead with a maximum twenty-six points available in Sakhir.

Sinault felt the trio of Lapierre, Menezes and Negrao could not have done anything more such was the speed of the Rebellion in Shanghai, and although certain factors will be out of their control in Bahrain, Signatech will be looking to do everything they can to give Menezes the title.

“We achieved our target for the weekend, which was to take the title race to Bahrain,” said Sinault. “After a tricky time in free practice, we had made good progress and our fifth place in qualifying didn’t reflect our true performance level.

“In the race, we knew that we would struggle to match the pace of the no.31 car, which was a class above the rest of the field. However, our perfect race allowed us to claim second place in normal racing conditions.

“We couldn’t have done any more as regards optimising our strategy. The low fuel alert was lighting up on every lap before the pit stops! In order to achieve this result, we also needed the drivers and the mechanics to produce a flawless performance and that’s exactly what we all managed to do.

“We are therefore still in the title race. It will be difficult, because we now have to rely upon factors outside of our control in the final round. But we’ll do all we can to bring about a successful outcome!”

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