Spa-Francorchamps, round three of the season, was also the final run-through for the FIA WEC competitors ahead of this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans.


From Thursday, Alpine Endurance Team began what was productive testing to fine-tune its setup on the forbidding Belgian circuit. Over the three sessions, the two crews completed 183 laps, or almost 1,300 kilometres. Subsequently, the Alpine A424 reached a new milestone by securing a place in Hyperpole for the first time. Fifth in the opening qualifying session, Charles Milesi eventually finished eighth after a broken drain pump curtailed his efforts.



The #35 and #36 A424s lined up seventh and eleventh on the grid for the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps with Charles Milesi and Nicolas Lapierre for the start. The former made his way through on the inside and gained a position at the exit of La Source, while his teammate quickly made two overtakes to move up to tenth place.



Despite a puncture for the #36 car in the corner before its first pit stop, which had no impact thanks to the team's quick response, the A-arrow brand Hypercars remained firmly in contention for points finish. The lengthy safety car period caused by the accident between the #38 Porsche and the #46 BMW meant that Charles Milesi and Nicolas Lapierre each had to put in a triple stint before Paul-Loup Chatin and Mick Schumacher took over after more than three hours of action. The Frenchman and German also worked hard to avoid the traps and increasing incidents in the field.



The race was red-flagged just a few minutes after Matthieu Vaxiviere replaced Mick Schumacher following the accident between the #2 Cadillac and #31 BMW. As the race leader had not yet stopped, the interruption put the #36 Alpine one lap down, costing it nearly two minutes to its rivals.



The race resumed after a nearly two-hour protracted break. Like the majority of the Hypercars, the #35 Alpine A424 dove into the pit lane to refuel and rejoined the race in seventh place.



Jules Gounon and Mick Schumacher got back in their respective Alpine A424s for the final stint. The Frenchman confirmed his quick adaptation to the Hypercar by taking ninth place from the #93 Peugeot. Meanwhile, Mick Schumacher put in a faultless display, enabling the #36 Alpine to cross the line in 12th place, less than 30 seconds outside the top ten.



With this result, achieved in front of a FIA WEC (excluding Le Mans) record attendance of 88,180 spectators, Alpine regains fourth place in the World Endurance Manufacturers' Championship ahead of the next round, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where double points will be on offer.



Charles Milesi
"It was a productive race, and our performance improved from Imola. Although the incidents made the race quite disjointed, we had a promising pace compared to the competition, and we were able to fight our way through the field while continuing to learn more about the tyres. It's now up to us to put what we've learnt to good use in our preparations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where anything is possible."


Jules Gounon
"I had a blast in the car while gaining more experience this week. I felt better and better as my stints went on, and I tried not to make any mistakes in my battle for ninth place with the Peugeot. I want to thank the team for showing confidence in me while Ferdinand recovered. I wish every member of the team all the best at Le Mans."


Paul-Loup Chatin
"We had a strong weekend, showing some fine things at Spa. Both cars finished again, which is always important as we develop and prepare for Le Mans. We continued to gather data and experience at all levels, and the technical team again demonstrated its professionalism in a clean, error-free race. There's still a lot of work to do, but it was a good showing overall with our second points finish."


Matthieu Vaxiviere
"It was a positive weekend for the team as a whole. We have to be happy with this result in a race marked by a long interruption. Unfortunately, we had a slightly different strategy, and the red flag cost us a lap, which was very difficult to regain afterwards. Despite this slight frustration, it's satisfying to put in a clean race and accumulate new data heading to Le Mans."


Mick Schumacher
"We met our target with a clean race. Unfortunately, the red flag compromised our chances of a better result. Without it, points would have been within our grasp. We missed a bit of luck, but motorsport is like this. Nevertheless, we have many positive points to take before the next race at Le Mans, where everything must be perfect!"


Nicolas Lapierre
"It was an interesting race, with a much better pace than at Imola. We had a lot of on-track battles, which is always enjoyable. The red flag was a tad frustrating given our strategy, but we put in a promising performance in preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which we'll focus on starting today."


Philippe Sinault, Team Principal
"This race was in keeping with what we had hoped for as we are getting closer to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We keep learning, and we wanted to have a better vision and understanding of our car and how we operate it. We achieved our target with a fine performance in practice and the race, with our two Hypercars finishing and battling a little more with the competition. The #36 car was a little unlucky with the red flag, but it was overall satisfactory and our upcoming tests will enable us to gather valuable information before taking on Le Mans. Ferdinand will be back in the car at our next testing session. I have to congratulate all our drivers for their ability to reset and avoid making mistakes after such a long break with the red flag. Last but not least, Spa allowed us to appreciate the public enthusiasm surrounding this championship, which gives even more meaning to Alpine's Endurance programme and represents an extremely strong motivating factor."



TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps

1. Hertz Team JOTA #12
2. Porsche Penske Motorsport #6
3. Ferrari AF Corse #50
9. Alpine Elf Endurance Team #35
12. Alpine Elf Endurance Team #36

FIA Hypercar World Endurance Drivers' Championship

1. Estre / Lotterer / Vanthoor – 74 points
2. Illott / Stevens – 52 points
3. Conway / de Vries / Kobayashi – 46 points
11. Chatin / Milesi – 11 points
13. Habsburg – 9 points
18. Lapierre / Schumacher / Vaxiviere / Gounon – 0 point

FIA Hypercar World Endurance Manufacturers' Championship

1. Porsche – 83 points
2. Toyota – 60 points
3. Ferrari – 49 points
4. Alpine – 23 points
5. BMW – 21 points