Although wintry conditions had yet to settle in the French Alps, the track at Val Thorens featured a satisfactory layer of ice which allowed Alain Prost, Evens Stievenart and Nicolas Prost to give Dacia Lodgy Glace its maiden run on the type of surface for which it was designed.
Now, I’m a huge fan of Andros Ice Racing and was delighted when Alain Prost joined the series in 2003 – as a family tradition we’ve driven down to France’s Val Thorens ski resort each year for the first race of the season, so I can appreciate that beneath the humble exterior of these ice racing machines lies a 355bhp 3.0-litre V6 with more than enough power to make competition a thrilling and far from languid experience.
But the poignant memory of Alain Prost which I hold in my little grey cells is watching him from the pit wall in 1989 as the Frenchman entered Silverstone’s Copse corner in a McLaren MP4/5 – seemingly without lifting. Le professeur a été magnifique..
Hero moments don’t come much better, so whilst it’s great to see 56-year old Prost slugging away with his son Nicholas in 2012, there’s a little part of me that wishes it was in something more becoming for an ex-F1 champion than a Romanian delivery van (Ok, I exaggerate slightly, but you get my point).
It was the inaugural outing for Dacia’s inappropriately named Lodgy Glace (doesn’t have the same ring to it as MP4/5) and the team comprising Alain Prost, Nicolas Prost and Evens Stievenart succeeded in ending up 8th, 21st and 3rd in the championship after the first two rounds.
Although Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in the region, there was a distinct lack of snow and ice for the drivers to enjoy, so hopefully there will be more available when the action resumes next time out in Andorra.
Evens Stievenart (3rd): “I continued to drive as though I was on ice, 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.”
Alain Prost (8th): “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.”
Nicolas Prost (21st): “The conditions were different on Sunday. 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.”