Le Mans »

Birthday boy Alesi laps up the adulation at Le Mans

As he celebrated his 46th birthday in the best fashion possible - surrounded by his adoring fans and preparing for the race dubbed 'the toughest in the world' - former Ferrari F1 hero Jean Alesi took time out to share his thoughts...
There are racing drivers, and then there are racing heroes, and Jean Alesi indisputably falls firmly into the latter category – and on his return to the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours more than two decades on from his first appearance in the round-the-clock classic, the former F1 star admitted that he was in his element.

Alesi was palpably one of the most popular participants in the traditional pre-race drivers' parade through Le Mans town centre, as the French-Sicilian found himself mobbed by fans eager for autographs or to have their photo taken with the man who so famously and emotionally scored his sole F1 victory for Ferrari in the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal in 1995. On his 46th birthday, there is little doubt that 'Jeannot' remains every bit as much a legend as he ever was.

“I'm enjoying it a lot,” he enthused, speaking to Crash.net straight after the parade. “To be surrounded by all these fans from all over the world, and to have all these pictures in front of you to sign from the beginning of your career to now, is a fantastic feeling for a driver. It means a lot. It was a good birthday present – the best time for me when it's my birthday is to be at a motorsport event.”

Alesi's original outing at La Sarthe came back in 1989 – the same year as he made his F1 debut with Tyrrell – in a Porsche 962C, but that effort ended in retirement. This time, the man from Avignon makes clear, he has only one goal – 'P1' in the GT2 class in the AF Corse Ferrari 430GTC he is sharing with fellow ex-grand prix ace Giancarlo Fisichella and Finn Toni Vilander – and should he prove successful, he hints that it could just be the beginning of a long-term Le Mans love affair.

“Then I was really a beginner and I had a lot more peace,” he reflected of the 1989 race, when he was not yet the superstar he would go on to become. “Now I have to learn a lot because the track is a bit different, and obviously with this car I'm driving at the moment I need to understand how everything works.

“I'm enjoying it very much, though. Giancarlo and Toni are fantastic team-mates, and we've already had two podiums together in the Le Mans Series, so we are competitive. I'll do my best not to be the slowest driver in the team!”
by Russell Atkins



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jean Alesi (Fra) Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Toni Vilander (Fin)  #95 AF Corse SRL  , Ferrari 430 GTC  24 Heures Du Mans Le Mans 24 Hour Le Mans France
Jean Alesi (Fra) Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Toni Vilander (Fin)  #95 AF Corse SRL  , Ferrari 430 GTC  24 Heures Du Mans Le Mans 24 Hour Le Mans France
AF Corse Ferrari star Jean Alesi during the drivers` parade ahead of the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours
AF Corse Ferrari star Jean Alesi during the drivers` parade ahead of the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours
Jann Mardenborough at the GT Academy
Oli Webb (GBR)
Oli Webb (GBR)
Oli Webb (GBR)
Oli Webb (GBR)
Oli Webb (GBR)
Mark Webber (AUS)
Mark Webber (AUS)
Mark Webber (AUS)
Oli Webb (GBR)
Oli Webb (GBR)
Oliver Turvey (GBR)
Oliver Turvey (GBR)
Oliver Turvey (GBR)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.