FIA WEC 6 Hours of Monza: Alpine Take Second Win of the Year in Chaotic Race

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#36 Alpine Elf Team winning the 6 Hours of Monza
Credit: FIA World Endurance Championship

After looking like the underdog in qualifying, Alpine Elf Team came through during the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Monza to take the second win of the season, taking a ten point lead in the championship over 24 Hours of Le Mans winners Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryō Hirakawa.

Pole sitting Glickenhaus Racing had been looking on track to their first WEC win since joining the championship last year, with Romain Dumas and Pipo Delrani showing that the pace seen on Saturday had transferred into race pace for the privateer LMH entry. The team had a 52 second lead when Olivier Pla got on board for his first stint of the race in the third hour, but sadly Pla’s racing time was about to be cut short.

A drive through penalty for speeding during a Full Course Yellow was the first of the team’s woes, but the incident that took away their advantage was the Safety Car that followed, brought out as the #33 TF Sport Aston Martin was flipped over running a sausage kerb and ended on its roof. Henrique Chaves, who was on board the #33 at the time, had just come out of the pits. He was able to climb out the car unassisted and uninjured.

This brought the chasing pack right onto the back of Pla, but it was short lived as the Glickenhaus came to a halt with a Turbo failure. On a day of what could have been for the team their race ended early with a retirement in the garage.

Glickenhaus wasn’t the only retirement from Hypercars as Peugeot Sport #93 continued to have a turbulent day after yesterday’s qualifying. Having started from the back of the grid after failing to set a time in qualifying, it only made it 30 minutes into the race before it ground to a halt to retire from the race. The sister #94 showed the lack of pace Peugeot has to its competitors on debut, but also had a troubled time with the second half of the race bogged with issues seeing the car finish 25 laps down on the leaders.

Alpine’s second win of the season didn’t come without incidents, however, as the drama continued to the chequered flag. Matthieu Vaxiviere was on board for the final stint in the #36 when the battle with the #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing came to a head. Coming out of their final pit stop, Vaxiviere made light work of the Toyotas, passing the #8 with relative ease and reeling in the then leading #7 in no time. Running side by side with the leading car coming through Parabolica, Vaxiviere had the advantage on Kamui Kobayashi down the main straight when the Japanese driver looked to move across to the right to try and block the Alpine going into the first chicane. The pair came together, with Vaxiviere clipping the rear left tyre on the Toyota and causing the wheel to blow out, forcing #7 back into the pits and conceding second place to the sister #8.

Kobayashi was given a penalty for causing a collision as Vaxiviere went on to win the race. Hirakawa gave the Alpine a run for its money in the closing stages after the Full Course Yellows came out for the Kobayashi debris on track, but Vaxiviere was able to stay ahead, crossing the line ahead by 2.7s.

#41 RealTeam by WRT winning the LMP2 class at 6 Hours of Monza
Credit: FIA World Endurance Championship

RealTeam Reign Supreme in LMP2

The battle for victory in LMP2 came down to the final pit stops, as RealTeam by WRT and the #38 JOTA cars were neck and neck going into the final hour. Ferdinand Habsburg had the advantage in the #31 having passed the #22 United Autosports into the first corner as the last hour began. With a technical issues seeing the #22 fall out of the race and not take the chequered flag, this opened the door for Will Stevens to make a charge for the lead as the clock ticked down.

Both cars came in for their final stops at the same time, but the RealTeam crew were faster, getting Habsburg out quicker to retain the lead of the race. Stevens gave it everything in the closing moments, but he didn’t have enough to beat the 12 second lead Habsburg had pulled out. This was the first victory of the year for the trio of Habsburg, Norman Nato and Rui Andrade, but their third podium of the season (for Habsburg and Nato, who sit third in the championship).

The comeback drive from Stevens, Antonio Felix Da Costa and Roberto Gonzlez, recovering from starting at the back of the field because of an unsafe release from their pit stop during qualifying, puts them further in the lead of the LMP2 championship.

With a fantastic drive and completing the LMP2 podium was the #10 Vector Sport trio of Ryan Cullen. Nico Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais. Cullen started the race brilliantly for his team, with the new-to-the-grid this season Vector Sport crew executing a perfect race and optimising caution periods to put them on their first WEC podium.

Nick Tandy and Corvette Racing celebrating GTE Pro class win
Credit: FIA World Endurance Championship

Corvette Claim First Victory Since WEC Return

For the first time since their return to a full season entry in the championship, Corvette Racing stood on the top step of the podium, denying AF Corse a home win in a surprising turn of events.

Ferrari was back fighting in Monza with a Balance of Performance (BoP) shift in their favour ahead of the weekend’s race. The James Calado/Alessandro Pier Guidi #51 had led the race from pole throughout the first five hours of the race, but just like in LMP2 the last hour saw everything turned on its head. The #51 failed to transfer data from the car during a pit stop, giving the crew a five place stop/go penalty to serve. This passed the lead of the race over to Miguel Molina and Antonio Fuoco in the sister car.

It had looked like Ferrari’s 2022 resurgence was going to begin with a home victory, but in the dying moments of the race with 2m30s left on the clock, Fuoco was forced to pit for a fuel splash, handing class victory to Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner.

The home favourites could at least celebrate a double podium after Pier Guidi held off a charging Kevin Estre in the #92 Porsche GT Team to give AF Corse a two-three at the chequered flag. This is the first race of the season that hasn’t seen a Porsche featured on the GTE Pro podium, with the duo rounding off the Pro classification.

#77 Dempsey Proton Racing taking the GTE Am victory at 6 Hours of Monza
Credit: FIA World Endurance Championship

Harry Tincknell, Sebatian Priaulx and Christian Ried repeated their 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps performance, taking their second GTE Am victory of the season. Dispatching of the pole-sitting Iron Dames entry early in the race, they performance flawlessly to cross the line first. But Rahel Frey, Sarah Bovy and Michelle Gatting gave the #77 Dempsey Proton Racing trio a fight throughout the six-hour race, all determined to bring home the team’s first class victory.

It came down to the timing of their pit-stop under the Full Course Yellow that gave the Dempsey Proton team an advantage the female trio could not overcome with the remaining race time.

Mikkel Pedersen, Nicolas Leutwiler and Matteo Cairoli rounded off the GTE Am podium in the #45 Team Project 1 Porsche, giving the manufacturer a one-three in class.

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About author
The Checkered Flag’s correspondent for the FIA World Endurance Championship. Working in motorsport as a hobby and as a professional, Alice is a freelance digital communications manager, video editor and graphic designer at OrbitSphere. She also runs and manages her own YouTube channel - Circuit The World - with videos on gaming, travel, motorsports and reviews.
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