Motorsports Mondial

Photo: Renaultsport

DACIA LODGY GLACE ON THE PACE AT VAL THORENS

After picking up its first Trophée Andros podium finish in the hands of Evens Stievenart on Saturday, the new Dacia Lodgy Glace came close to claiming its first win in the series on Sunday. In the end, Alain Prost and Evens Stievenart harvested valuable points by securing fifth and sixth places in the second race, while Nicolas Prost continued to make progress. Evens Stievenart emerged from the 2011/2012 championship’s opening clash at Val Thorens in third place. Action continues next week in the principality of Andorra where Team Dacia will be looking for victory.

Competitors were greeted by a slight covering of snow for the weekend’s second day of racing. Following its top-three finish the previous day, Evens Stievenart’s Dacia Lodgy Glace was forced to carry 20kg of ballast.

The first qualifying heat soon saw the track conditions evolve quickly, however, as patches of bare asphalt began to appear in the snow. Nicolas Prost continued to familiarise himself with the car, while Alain opted for a bold tyre pressure strategy which failed to pay dividends, since one of his tyres came off its rim on his last lap and he was forced to settle for 13th place. Evens Stievenart’s consistent effort bagged fourth place.

The Dacia trio continued to take risks in the second qualifying session which saw Alain Prost post two perfect laps before being caught out last time round. The four-time F1 world champion ended the second heat with the third best time.

Alain Prost, Evens Stievenart and Nicolas Prost consolidated their positions in their respective finals, the latter going as far as to win his finale after a daring passing manoeuvre and thanks to six consistently fast laps. Alain Prost’s qualifying times and race result allowed him to clinch fifth place, while Evens Stievenart and Nicolas Prost ended the day in sixth and 19th places respectively.

The first weekend of the season taught the team a great deal, despite the delicate track conditions owing to a lack of ice, but the results point to an exciting championship to come, with 10 or so drivers capable of challenging for the title. Dacia Lodgy Glace celebrated its Trophée Andros debut with a podium finish, with action due to resume in Andorra where Team Dacia will do everything in its power to do even better.

Alain Prost (5th): “I had a good chance of winning the second qualifying heat but my chances took a blow on my last lap. The tenths of a second I lost were enough to drop me from first to third place. We showed that we will be able to fight for the title and Dacia has already claimed a podium finish. The car clearly has potential. The level is very high and it’s a shame that we didn’t come away with more points than we did, but there’s a long way to go before the end of the season.”

Evens Stievenart (6th): “I continued to drive as though I was on ice today, but a racing driving style would have been more appropriate. That’s a lesson for the future. The positives are that I’ve scored points and been able to get an idea of Dacia Lodgy Glace’s potential. I am third in the provisional Trophée Andros standings, so that’s satisfying. We will work as a team to ensure that Alain Prost catches up with the leaders to challenge for what promises to be an extremely competitive championship.”

Nicolas Prost (19th): “The conditions were different today. There was more exposed asphalt and fewer ruts. That suited me better because the car jumped about less. I learnt so much this weekend. I now need to take a close look at all the data we collected in order to up my game in Andorra next weekend. It was great for morale to win my final.”

Val Thorens 2 – final positions: 1, Olivier Panis (Skoda Fabia). 2, Jean-Philippe Dayraut (Mini Countryman). 3, Jean-Baptiste Dubourg (Renault Clio III). 4, Franck Lagorce (Skoda Fabia). 5, Alain Prost (Dacia Lodgy Glace). 6, Evens Stievenart (Dacia Lodgy Glace). 7, Julien Maurin (Ford Fiesta). 8, Jacques Villeneuve (Skoda Fabia). 9, Bertrand Balas (Mini Countryman). 10, Pierre Llorach (Renault Clio III)… 19, Nicolas Prost (Dacia Lodgy Glace).