Alpine ELF Team took victory in the opening round of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship at the 1000 Miles of Sebring after a storm-shortened contest.
A race was called to a halt with 70 minutes remaining due to lightning hazards.
When the the chequered flag was finally shown it was the #36 Alpine A480 of André Negrão, Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere who were at the top of the leaderboard.
The conclusion of the contest was the second red flag of the event after racing was halted following a heavy crash for the #7 Toyota GAZOO Racing GR010-Hybrid driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and, at the wheel at the wheel at the time of the incident, Jose Maria Lopez. The accident arose after contact with the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche. Lopez went off at Turn 14 and made heavy contact with the barrier which required a 30-minute break in racing for repairs.
“I had contact with a GT car and damaged my front end.” said Lopez. “I tried to recover as quickly as I could but I misjudged the damage I actually had on the car.
“As I approached Turn 14, the front bodywork fell down due to the damage and I wasn’t able to steer or slow down properly, so I went straight into the barriers. It was a big one but the car is very safe so I am thankful for that.”
The #36 Alpine made up time over the #8 Toyota at the restart and was leading when the red flag was shown with 70 minutes remaining. Third on the overall podium was the #708 Glickenhaus 007 LMH piloted by Olivier Pla, Romain Dumas and Ryan Briscoe.
In the LMP2 category, victory went to the #23 United Autosports ORECA 07 driven by Paul Di Resta, Oliver Jarvis and Josh Pierson followed by the #31 WRT car piloted by Sean Gelael, Robin Frijns and Rene Rast. The podium was completed by the sister WRT entry, the #41 Tealteam by WRT car with Rui Andrade, Ferdinand Habsburg and Norman Nato.
The victory for Josh Pierson made him the youngest WEC class winner at 16 years, one month and four days.
LMGTE Pro saw victory go to the #92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR piloted by Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre with the #64 Corvette driven by Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy in second place. Porsche out the podium place with the #91 car driven by Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz in the third.
Aston Martin took a 1 – 1 in the LMGTE Am category with the #98 Northwest AMR Vantage SMR with the driving trio of Paul Dalla Lana, David Pittard and Nicki Thiim taking the class victory followed by the #33 TF Sport entry of Ben Keating, Florian Latorre and Marco Sorensen in second. The # 56 Team Project 1 Porsche of Brendan Iribe, Ollie Millroy and Ben Barnicoat rounded out the top three.
The FIA World Endurance Championship grid next assembles for the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 5 – 7.