Alpine reveals secret to points finish on WEC LMDh debut in Qatar

Ferdinand Habsburg has revealed that his ability to save fuel over the course of the opening stint of the Qatar 1812Km led to the strategy call that allowed the #35 car he shared with Charles Milesi and Paul-Loup Chatin to complete the race on one fewer pitstops than its rivals for the final point-paying places. 

This gave the car eighth position, making it the highest-placed entry from one of the manufacturers new to the WEC this season. 

“It was just that I saved a s*** load of fuel over the first stint and we decided to carry on like that,” Habsburg told

“It wasn’t the original plan, but it felt like the right thing to do and it paid off. 

“We knew we didn’t have the pace of the guys at the front, so we just tried to save a lap every stint.”

#35 Alpine Endurance Team Alpine A424: Paul-Loup Chatin, Ferdinand Habsburg-Lothringen, Charles Milesi

#35 Alpine Endurance Team Alpine A424: Paul-Loup Chatin, Ferdinand Habsburg-Lothringen, Charles Milesi

Photo by: Shameem Fahath

The #35 Alpine completed either 33 or 34 laps on its energy allocation laid down in the Hypercar Balance of Performance across eight of the car’s 10 stints. 

To make the strategy work Milesi then had to go one lap further again though his final stint, the Frenchman completing 35 laps on the run to the chequered flag.

That meant the Alpine completed the race on nine pitstops compared with the 10 of the cars behind it, including the sister #36 Alpine shared by Mick Schumacher, Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere that finished 12th. 

Habsburg explained that he was “ecstatic with such an amazing result” on the race debut of the A424.

But he conceded that that the Alpine developed in conjunction with French constructor ORECA was not on the ultimate pace around the Losail International Circuit on Saturday. 

“We’ll have to take our lack of pace on the chin, because it is to be expected with such a new car,” he said. 

“But the other positives are that we made no mistakes and had no offs as drivers and we looked strong as a team.”

The #35 Alpine only received one penalty over the course of a race lasting four minutes shy of 10 hours, which was the result of incorrect positioning of the car at its pitstall.

Alpine team boss Philippe Sinault described getting two cars to the finish with one in the points as “a nice achievement” for the first race of the A424.

He added that the “foundations are now in place” for the team to take a further step forward when the WEC resumes at Imola on 20 April.

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