Tag Archives: Trophée Andros

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: 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.”