Tag Archives: Alain Prost

GP HISTORIQUE DE MONACO

ALAIN PROST BACK IN HIS F1 TURBO OF 1983 

The ninth Grand Prix Historique de Monaco saw Renault ambassador Alain Prost get behind the wheel of the Renault F1 Turbo (RE40) he raced in the Formula 1 World Championship in 1983 when he claimed four victories and second place in the end-of-year Drivers’ standings.

Last weekend, Alain Prost completed a series of parade laps in the Renault Classic-prepared car in which he came close to securing his first F1 world crown in 1983. That season, he started the Monaco GP in his Renault single-seater from pole position. This time, with four supreme titles to his name, the Frenchman entertained the crowds that lined the streets of the Principality with the bark of his car’s 750hp Renault V6 Turbo engine.

Also present was another key player in Renault’s F1 history, namely Jean-Pierre Jabouille who was the first driver of the marque’s famous Turbo era in 1977. He was also the man behind Renault’s first F1 success in 1979. His car for the Grand Prix Historique de Monaco was the Renault F1 Turbo RS 01 which he drove in 1977 and 1978.

The two French aces breathed life into two of Renault’s landmark single-seater racing cars which revolutionised modern Formula 1 history thanks to their turbo technology which has now returned as a feature of motor racing’s premier competition.

The breeding that went into the turbocharging technology developed by Renault for F1 in the 1970s and 1980s can be found today in the DNA of the Renault Energy range of engines which benefit from the brand’s unique expertise in the realms of downsizing, reliability and energy efficiency. The new 2014 Renault Energy F1 Power Unit serves as a valuable means to test and fine-tune technologies of the future which, in a few years’ time, will enhance the performance, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of the brand’s forthcoming production powerplants.

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: DPPI

Alain Prost four-time Formula 1 champion is becoming ambassador of Renault.

More than 30 years after the start of the relationship between the four-time F1 champion and Renault, the two partners have decided to give a new dimension to their collaborative effort. By accepting to become a brand ambassador, Alain Prost will place all his technical expertise, professionalism and renown at the service of Renault and its products. Throughout the year he will take part as a Renault driver in sports demonstrations and also as a representative at events organized or attended by Renault.

“Renault’s history is intimately linked to that of motorsport and I have a deep attachment to the brand, with which I achieved some of the greatest successes in my sporting career, Alain Prost said. I accepted this mission with pleasure and I intend to accomplish it with professionalism.”

“We are delighted that Alain Prost has accepted the role as our brand ambassador. Carlos Tavares, Chief Operating Officer said. As a four-time Formula 1 champion renowned the world over for his technical expertise, Alain is without a doubt one of the most demanding ‘customers’ that Renault has ever had! He is the best-qualified personality for talking about the progress made by Renault in the last few years on quality, technological innovation and performance.”

Alain Prost has taken the wheel of a Renault Duster on 23 February at the Race Stars in Moscow. The event marks the first appearance of the “Professor” as an ambassador of the Renault brand.

Alain Prost and Renault in a few dates

1976: Formula Renault French champion.

1977: Formula Renault European champion.

1981: Formula 1 driver for Renault-Elf Team. First podium finish at the Argentine Grand Prix. First victory at French Grand Prix.

1982: Victory in first two Grand Prix races of the season. Fourth-ranked driver.

1983: Second in Formula 1 drivers’ championship.

1993: World champion Formula 1 driver with Williams-Renault.

2009: First Trophée d’Andros race in Dacia Duster.

2012: Victory in Trophée d’Andros at the wheel of Dacia Lodgy “Glace”

 

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: renaultsports

TROPHEE ANDROS CHAMPIONSHIP GOES TO ALAIN PROST!

The thrilling last clash of the 2011/2012 Trophée Andros saw Dacia clinch its first title in motorsport thanks to Alain Prost, who was in stunning form, and team-mates Evens Stievenart and Nicolas Prost. By taking his personal score in the French competition to three crowns, Alain Prost enabled Dacia Lodgy Glace to become the first MPV to win a title in ice racing, just weeks ahead of the production version’s unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show.

With three drivers in contention for the 2011/2012 title, there was plenty of suspense ahead of the Trophée Andros’s visit to France’s Auvergne region for the final encounter of what has been a thrilling season. For Team Dacia, the tactics if Alain Prost was to clinch the crown were very simple: he had to win!

The organisers did everything in their power to produce icy racing conditions, but bare asphalt prevailed despite the ambient snow.

After a polished performance during free practice, Alain Prost, Evens Stievenart and Nicolas Prost went into the first qualifying session intent on claiming a psychological advantage over their rivals. Nicolas was first to go out and four perfect laps sent him straight to the top of the order. Evens followed soon afterwards and took over the provisional lead after his four consistent laps.

That sent out a clear message that the Dacia Lodgy Glace was competitive and none of the drivers who followed – with the exception of Jean-Philippe Dayraut, who was second-last to go out – succeeded in bettering the runs of Evens and Nicolas.

Alain Prost, who was equal first in the provisional championship standings before the trip to Super Besse, went out in the last group. He pulled out all the stops to post the quickest lap, almost eight-tenths of a second quicker than Dayraut. Evens ended up in third spot, with Nicolas following in fourth position. “It was a faultless team effort,” acknowledged Alain Prost. “It was vital that Benjamin Rivière didn’t win here, otherwise we were beaten. But Evens and Nico did a superb job by relegating him to fifth overall. When my team-mates do well, it’s always a sign that the Dacia is competitive, and that meant I could focus on my driving.”

The second qualifying session called for an identical result, so Alain Prost, Evens Stievenart and Nicolas Prost knew that another impeccable performance would be needed if they were to secure the championship. Once again, Nicolas and Evens accomplished their mission to the latter. Even so, there was significant pressure on Alain’s shoulders as he prepared to go out after Jean-Philippe Dayraut had established the benchmark time. “When I was told Jean-Philippe’s time, I knew that my only option was to give it everything I had!” The former F1 driver stepped up to the mark to produce four emphatic laps, however, including the fastest time of the session, more than a second faster than the next best effort. It put the N°2 Dacia Lodgy Glace at the top of the qualifying timesheet, with Evens Stievenart and Nicolas Prost following in third and fifth places respectively.

The finales eventually brought the exciting 2011/2012 championship to a close, but the show was slightly spoiled by some of the on-track antics. Alain Prost’s Dacia was punted by a rival car and that could have seen all the team’s efforts go to waste had it not been for the swift work of the mechanics who succeeded in repairing in a matter of minutes. Alain Prost went on to secure his third Trophée Andros title by claiming his finale and picking up his third win – and Dacia’s fourth – of this winter’s championship.

It took Dacia just three Trophée Andros campaigns to claim the supreme prize, an ideal result to kick start the career of the new Dacia Lodgy which is due to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

Alain Prost: “I had no choice but to win today. I had a good feeling with my car and the team’s hard work enabled us to perform strongly in qualifying. We couldn’t afford to put a foot wrong this weekend but we coped with everything very well. The way the finales unfolded nearly ruined everything, but that merely mirrored the behaviour that some of our rivals have shown this season. Winning for Dacia was important and we pulled it off with an MPV, which was no easy challenge. I would like to thank everyone in the team, especially Evens and Nicolas. Had we not had a second car, we wouldn’t have won this winter’s Trophée Andros which proved extremely close right up the end.”

Evens Stievenart: “It’s been an emotional day. Once again, we all focused on the same objective and today, more than at any other time, it was important to provide Alain with perfect feedback. His title was made possible by the work of everybody in the team. Personally, I learnt a great deal this winter thanks to Alain and the rest of the squad. I’m even a little sad that it has come to a close because I felt more and more competitive. I end the series with some podium finishes under my belt, one race win and fifth place in the final standings. That’s all extremely positive and I will try to put this years’ experience to profit next winter.”

Nicolas Prost: “This winter has been a real learning curve for me, but it’s all been very positive. I played my part in my father’s title and I also came away with the ‘Trophée des Indépendants’, for the best rookie. I’ve learnt so much, and working with the team was an intense, successful and rewarding experience. We gave it everything we had in the finale to take the title. It’s a prize for the three of us and I hope I will get a chance to challenge for the crown myself sometime soon…”  

Motorsports Mondial

 

Photo: renaultsport

ALAIN PROST AND DACIA LEAD 2011/2012 TROPHEE ANDROS TITLE CHASE

The setting for the Trophée Andros dropped in altitude this weekend with a visit to Saint-Dié des Vosges, in eastern France. The battle for victory was as thrilling as ever, however, and the big crowd saw Alain Prost pull out a gap over Jean-Philippe Dayraut after beating his title rival in both races. That said, Benjamin Rivière boosted his championship hopes with a strong run in the Vosges Mountains. There is very little in it between these three drivers ahead of next weekend’s last round at Super Besse (Auvergne).

The Trophée Andros regulars were greeted by mild temperatures and non-stop rain. Despite being refrigerated, the Geoparc circuit in Saint-Dié des Vosges featured very little ice and, given the weather conditions, each driver was allocated eight tyres instead of the usual six.

Indeed, the chief difficulty for the Dacia runners was the lack of wintry conditions. “Our car is designed to race on ice, not asphalt,” observed Alain Prost. “Unfortunately, there was practically no ice left after free practice. It’s the same for everyone, I know, but it’s a shame that this winter’s Trophée Andros will be settled on asphalt given how close it has turned out to be.”

Alain Prost, Evens Stievenart and Nicolas Prost preferred not to take any risks during free practice in order to save their tyres as much as possible. However, Nicolas Prost and Evens Stievenart lifted a little too much during the first qualifying run, while Alain was halted by transmission trouble after his first flying lap.

It wasn’t the ideal start to Race 1, but the three drivers succeeded in bouncing back in Q2. Despite carrying 40kg of ballast, Alain Prost notched up the fifth-best time, with Evens and Nicolas following in eighth and 12th places respectively, which is how the Race 1 finales ended for the Dacia trio. Sixth place in the final standings enabled Alain Prost to pull out a small gap over his main rival for the title, Jean-Philippe Dayraut. “It didn’t end too badly because it’s never good to start with a technical problem, although it’s the first time that has happened to us this season. True, Benjamin Rivière picked up a lot of points, but it was important to finish ahead of Jean-Philippe.”

The action continued with Race 2 on Saturday evening, and the challenge was once again to be as competitive as possible through the puddles which were all that remained of the ice. Both qualifying sessions were fiercely fought affairs and the win only escaped the Dacia Lodgy Glaces by a few hundredths of a second. Evens Stievenart was third, Alain Prost fifth, and his son Nicolas eighth.

Nicolas survived his finale unscathed, but the bill-topping clash in which Alain and Evens starred was much more aggressive, and the Dacia drivers’ rivals didn’t hesitate to indulge in a little door to door contact. The contest ultimately produced the season’s eighth different winner, while Alain Prost completed Race 2 in fourth spot, followed by Evens Stievenart (7th) and Nicolas Prost (8th).

Although Alain Prost arrived in St-Dié equal on points with Jean-Philippe Dayraut, he will go into the last round level at the top of the table with Benjamin Rivière. That promises a breath-taking end to the series, although each driver’s two ‘least good’ results will be subtracted from their final scores, a rule which, on paper, isn’t favourable to the chances of Alain Prost and Team Dacia.

Alain Prost: “It’s great to be in with a chance for the title at Super Besse, even though the scoring system promises to make it difficult for me. We will do all we can to win but it’s a shame that the championship will be settled on this type of circuit. I am a little disappointed by the way today’s finale unfolded because the behaviour of our rivals was over the top. You’ve got to salute Benjamin Rivière’s performance this weekend, though. He’s got a strong car and he’s a good driver. So ‘bravo’ to him! Super Besse will be complex. We will just try to win and see how the points work out afterwards. It’s good for the spectators that the decision has gone down to the wire.”

Evens Stievenart: “The conditions weren’t much fun, even though the first race didn’t go too badly for me given that I was carrying 60kg of ballast. We were competitive for Race 2, but a few mistakes, especially during the finale, cost me a podium finish. Alain’s fate is no longer in his hands, so it will be necessary to win at Super Besse and hope that our opponents have a poor weekend. Nicolas and I will consequently have a key role to play. A one-two-three finish would be ideal and give us a good chance of clinching the title.”

Nicolas Prost: “It wasn’t an ice race. It was all asphalt, so managing our studs wasn’t easy. I ended both races inside the top 10 and I was able to match the pace of the front-runners. That’s a positive to take away from the weekend. Now, we just need to score a strong result at Super Besse. The level of the championship is very high and it’s been close all season. The best way to help my dad is to keep working together as we have done all year. It’s going to be very close…”

 

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: B.Bakalian

Dacia Lodgy Glace’s first one-two finish

It was a weekend of ups and downs for Team Dacia at Lans-en-Vercors. After a troubled Friday, however, the Dacia Lodgy Glace runners went on to dominate Race 2, with Evens Stievenart claiming his first win of the year.

Alain Prost made sure of Dacia’s first one-two success in the Trophée Andros, while Nicolas Prost was a close fourth. The fight for the title is as close as ever, but Alain Prost knows he will be able to count on the support of his two competitive team-mates, Evens and Nicolas.

After visits to the Alps and Pyrenees, the Trophée Andros was in the Vercors Mountains last weekend for the fifth round of this year’s thrilling contest. Perfect icy conditions on the Friday enabled the drivers to enjoy this interesting circuit to the full during free practice. “It’s a unique track,” noted Evens Stievenart. “When the ice is good, it’s a challenging run, especially the downhill portion. It’s fast and narrow, so you need precise handling to keep up your speed while going as close as you dare to the walls.”

Alain Prost started the weekend in first place, equal on points with Jean-Philippe Dayraut. He used free practice to bed in his tyres and work with his team-mates Nicolas Prost and Evens Stievenart to establish a competitive set-up. After his strong run at Isola 2000, Nicolas was carrying ballast for the first time and had to accustom himself to the handling of his car with this added weight. Meanwhile, Evens posted the session’s fastest lap. “Being fastest in free practice doesn’t earn you anything, but it’s a good morale booster,” he smiled.

The ensuing qualifying session didn’t go well for Dacia, however. Nicolas Prost had trouble getting used to the ballast, while Evens Stievenart lost out when he stalled in the first session and Alain Prost complained that his tyres went off very quickly. He still managed to post the third-best time in Q1, but the team soon realised that victory in Race 1 would be tough to obtain. “Jean-Philippe Dayraut was very fast,” observed Alain Prost. “We were less competitive and we failed to adapt to the changing track conditions. This year, with an allocation of just six tyres, and with big differences from one tyre to another, you really need to wait until the second race to find out whether it’s going to be a successful weekend for you or not…”

The second qualifying session and the finales confirmed Alain Prost’s initial impression, and the ex-F1 champ ended Race 1 in fourth place, with Evens Stievenart and Nicolas Prost following in eight and 11th spots respectively. “We tend to go better on the second day, especially Nicolas who is still on a learning curve,” commented Alain Prost. “Jean-Philippe Dayraut’s victory today puts him back in the lead of the championship, so we will need to reverse that situation tomorrow.”

The mood in the Dacia camp was optimistic ahead of Race 2. Evens Stievenart dominated the first qualifying session, while Alain Prost was fifth and Nicolas Prost ninth. “It’s a huge relief,” said Evens. “I really needed a result like that!”

It was just the beginning of a superb run for Dacia Lodgy Glace, however! Nicolas Prost was the first of the team’s three drivers to tackle Q2 and he immediately went to the top of the order, before Evens, with the pressure off his shoulders thanks to his result in the previous session, lapped even faster this time. Four perfect laps sent him to first place with a time of 3m3.890s. It was eventually Alain Prost’s turn to go out, and the two-time Trophée Andros champion had kept his best tyres for this run which was spoiled by a small steering issue: “On my first lap, I felt the steering go loose over a bump. I nearly parked up, but the situation in the fight for the title spurred me on and I decided to continue, taking as many risks and pushing as hard as I dared.” That turned out to be a wise decision, since Alain Prost emerged between team-mates Evens Stievenart, first, and Nicolas Prost, third, on the leaderboard. It was a masterstroke from the Dacia trio…

The finales saw the three drivers consolidate the team’s result. Evens Stievenart went on to collect his first win of the year, while Alain Prost brought Dacia its first ever one-two finish in the Trophée Andros. Nicolas Prost eventually finished fourth in the overall standings. The result takes Alain Prost back into the provisional championship lead, equal on points with Jean-Philippe Dayraut. The contest will continue next weekend at Saint-Dié des Vosges, in eastern France.

Alain Prost: “The tyres I had for Race 1 weren’t good, but Richard Tur and the rest of the team did a great job and we managed to improve the car’s handling for Saturday, notably over the bumps. There was healthy competition between the Dacia drivers because we felt that everything had come together. We leave Lans-en-Vercors with a one-two finish which was very nearly a one-two-three finish. We will need to be just as competitive at Saint-Dié des Vosges and it looks like the title will be decided at the last round at Super Besse…”

Evens Stievenart: “The Trophée Andros is a series where you need to be strong in your mind, so winning the first qualifying session of Race 2 took the pressure off my shoulders for the rest of the competition! It was the first time I have ever won Q1, Q2 and my finale. I feel very proud of that. I was beginning to have doubts about my ability, but today’s win has reassured me and boosted my confidence for the remainder of the series. Our car is very competitive and the team did a perfect job this weekend.”

Nicolas Prost: “It wasn’t the easiest of tracks to learn. On Friday, I had to carry 40kg of ballast and I finished just shy of the top 10, which was my objective. I still find I need time to get into the rhythm before picking up speed over the weekend. As a result, I tend to be at my fastest in the last qualifying session. Along with my father, Evens and the rest of the squad, we all get along very well and it’s nice to compete when you feel at home in a team. The fight for the title is extremely close, but we will do all we can to take points away from my father’s opponents…”

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: B Bakalian

Trophée Andros action resumed this weekend at Isola 2000, in the south of France. The first race saw Alain Prost finish on the podium to defend his position at the top of the standings.

The Dacia Lodgy Glace driver is now equal on points with his arch-rival Jean-Philippe Dayraut. Nicolas Prost, who is contesting the French ice-racing series for the first time, is improving all the time and stands out as a potential winner, as demonstrated by his second place in the second race!

With a programme of four rounds in just one month, the second half of the 2011/2012 Trophée Andros promises to be a busy, action-packed affair. To prepare for the hectic weeks ahead, Team Dacia took time to organise a test at Val Thorens shortly after New Year’s Day. “It was important for me to get in some testing,” said Nicolas Prost. “At races, the pressure makes it difficult to try different solutions, but our test did my confidence a whole lot of good.”

Upon their arrival at Isola 2000 on Friday, the drivers were greeted by a nice layer of snow, and the first day was given over to free practice and the first qualifying session. Instead of targeting quick lap times, the three Dacia drivers profited from the opportunity to bed in their tyres for Q2.

On Saturday morning, patches of bare asphalt could be seen through the snow. A strong run saw Alain Prost post the second fastest time, just ahead of Nicolas! The two sessions ended with the former F1 champ in third spot, two places clear of his son. Evens Stievenart had trouble with his tyres and couldn’t manage any higher than 15th.

At the start of the first finale, the two Dacia Lodgy Glace drivers tucked in behind Benjamin Rivière who went on to the take the win. Alain Prost was second across the line to collect third place in the heat, which harvested the same number of points as Jean-Philippe Dayraut. “As a result of my win at L’Alpe d’Huez, I was carrying 60kg of ballast, so it was probably the best result I could have hoped for,” mused the Dacia driver. “The rest of the weekend promises to be quite difficult because my tyres have suffered. It won’t be easy to win the second race…”

After securing fifth place in Race 1, Nicolas Prost was feeling more optimistic: “Of the three Team Dacia drivers, I think I’m the best off in terms of tyres. I did what I could to spare them and I think they are in a good enough state to allow me to have a go this afternoon.” Indeed, the driver of the N°6 Dacia Lodgy Glace was in competitive form, and was fourth in the first run despite a couple of errors: “My second lap was a mess. I dropped more than two seconds. Had it not been for that, I’m sure I would have posted the best time. Thankfully, my tyres are still in sufficiently good condition for me to be able to improve in Q2.”

The second session effectively saw Nicolas put in a perfect run, but his total time was equalled by that of Benjamin Rivière. The win ended up going to the latter because it was he who posted the fastest lap, leaving Nicolas in second spot ahead of the finale.

Alain Prost was visibly disappointed with fifth in both sessions: “I couldn’t have gone any quicker. My tyres lost more than 80 studs on the asphalt and that made my car impossible to drive. My position isn’t too bad, but it would have been nice to have been able to challenge for a better result…”

Evens Stievenart made it into the top 10 thanks to the second session’s seventh fastest effort: “I am still struggling with my tyres. I probably didn’t succeed in adjusting my driving style sufficiently to make the most of them. Apart from that, our Lodgy was perfect, as Nicolas showed…”

Once again, the two members of the Prost family contested the same finale and enjoyed trouble-free runs. Nicolas was second to claim his first Trophée Andros podium, while sixth place for Alain saw him drop a point to Jean-Philippe Dayraut who is now equal with the four-time F1 world champion at the top of the provisional leaderboard. Eighth place for Evens Stievenart took the third Dacia driver from seventh to fifth position in the championship standings.

The fifth round of the 2011/2012 Trophée Andros will take place on January 13-14.

Alain Prost: “It’s difficult for me to be positive about the weekend. The result of the first race was pretty much what we were expecting, but I didn’t think I would suffer so much in the second one. That said, it wasn’t a catastrophic weekend, since Jean-Philippe only scored one point more than me. Thanks to his two wins, Benjamin Rivière has also emerged as a potential title winner. He doesn’t get much coverage but he put in a perfect weekend here and I think the title chase will be fought out between the three of us, plus maybe half a dozen other challenges, including Nicolas and Evens…”

Nicolas Prost: “After our test at Val Thorens, I felt much more confident in my driving. That helped me relax a little and that ended up paying. I’m still a little frustrated by the mistake I made in the first race because I felt I was particularly fast. I mustn’t grumble, though, because my aim here was to finish inside the top 10, and I ended up with two top-five finishes. I’m especially happy with that because both results came after a straight fight.”

Evens Stievenart: “I thought it would be a tough weekend when I saw the tyres I was allotted. I thought I would do better on the first day and I pushed hard, but my tyres went off very quickly. I ended up paying the price for that all weekend. I’ve new had two mediocre meetings in a row, so that’s a situation I will need to put right. I know my car is competitive and I intend to figure at the sharp end again at Lans-en-Vercors.”

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