A STRATEGIC VICTORY FOR ALAIN PROST AND DACIA LODGY GLACE

  • The foundations for Dacia Lodgy Glace’s maiden Trophée Andros win in the Principality of Andorra were laid in two phases. Alain Prost gave an early hint of his speed when he posted the fastest time during the first race’s first qualifying session at the Pas de la Case ice-racing circuit. However, he decided to spare his tyres during the second session. He ended up second in the first race before going on to claim a brilliant victory in the weekend’s second race. The Frenchman’s points haul in Andorra has promoted him to second place in the provisional Trophée Andros standings. The consistent Evens Stievenart also picked up points, while Nicolas Prost continued his rapid apprenticeship of the championship.

    A week after the season’s curtain-raiser at Val Thorens, last weekend saw the epicentre of the Trophée Andros switch to the Principality of Andorra in the Pyrenees Mountains. The conditions were suitably icy but, as ever, the way track conditions evolved over the weekend played a decisive role, as did the way the drivers managed their respective allocations of six tyres (compared to eight tyres in previous years) for the meeting’s two races.

    The weekend got off to a flying start for Team Dacia when Alain Prost topped the timesheets in free practice. The four-time Formula 1 world champion and two-time Trophée Andros winner then went on to dominate the first qualifying session. He was the only driver to lap in less than 45 seconds and he ended up more than a second clear of his closest chaser. Evens posted a top-five time, while the track was new to Nicolas Prost in a car with four-wheel steering.

     Thanks to the coefficient system applied when a driver wins the first qualifying session of the first race, Alain Prost and Team Dacia were sure of coming at least second in the opening race, so it was decided to take a strategic approach to the second session by using it to bed in tyres for the second race. The results of Saturday morning’s finale confirmed that this was a judicious choice, since Alain Prost’s overall performance bagged second spot, while Evens Stievenart and Nicolas Prost were eighth and 19th respectively.

    There was less ice on the track for Saturday afternoon’s action, but Alain Prost was in a more favourable position than his rivals in terms of tyres, suggesting that his earlier strategy was perfectly founded. The ‘Professor’ was second in the second race’s first qualifying session but he kept his best tyres for the second session when he was impressively quick on each of his four laps to finish almost two seconds clear of his closest rival. Nicolas emerged in fifth place, proving that the two-time Trophée Andros Électrique winner is a quick learner.

    A surefooted run in the finale enabled Alain Prost to take the win and notch up Dacia Lodgy Glace’s maiden Trophée Andros success. Second place in the first race and victory in the second has also put the Frenchman squarely in the running for the title, since he is now second in the provisional order, just one point short of the current leader. Nicolas Prost was a remarkable ninth overall, followed by Evens Stievenart (10th), which meant that all the Team Dacia drivers came away from the team’s successful visit to Andorra with points. Round three will take competitors back to the French Alps for next weekend’s trip to L’Alpe d’Huez.

    Alain Prost: “I think victory was possible in the first race, but we decided to spare our tyres. The decisive moment was winning the first qualifying session on Friday, which meant I was sure of finishing at least second. In terms of championship points, we preferred to finish each race in second place rather than win the first race but risk finishing way down the order in the second race. Having two cars was a big advantage this weekend because we were able to evaluate different solutions thanks to Nicolas and Evens. This is Dacia Lodgy Glace’s first win, but it was above all a great team effort. Finishing second and first won’t happen often this year. After last week’s trip to Val Thorens, where we finished just shy of the win, we have already made up ground. The fight is on!”

    Evens Stievenart: “I globally felt less comfortable this weekend because I’m not perfectly at ease on bare asphalt. I didn’t bed in my tyres too much and that proved costly for both races. I’m very happy for Alain, though. His win is great for team morale and we traded a lot of data. My thoughts are now turned to the race at L’Alpe d’Huez which is a track I really enjoy.”

    Nicolas Prost: “I learn something each time I drive the car. My tyres were in excellent shape for the second race and I was perhaps happier with the track conditions. It was very nice to post the fifth fastest time in the second qualifying session for the second race. I didn’t think I would find myself in an “Élite Sup” finale so soon. That’s a big confidence booster for the rest of the season, especially after dad’s win. It was a good weekend all round for Team Dacia.”

    Andorra, Race 1 – final positions: 1, Jean-Philippe Dayraut (Mini Countryman). 2, Alain Prost (Dacia Lodgy Glace). 3, Franck Lagorce (Skoda Fabia). 4, Benjamin Rivière (Skoda Fabia). 5, Olivier Pernaut (Ford Fiesta RS). 6, Pierre Llorach (Renault Clio III). 7, Jean-Baptiste Dubourg (Renault Clio III). 8, Evens Stievenart (Dacia Lodgy Glace). 9, Olivier Panis (Skoda Fabia). 10, Jacques Villeneuve (Skoda Fabia)… 19, Nicolas Prost (Dacia Lodgy Glace). Etc.

    Andorra, race 2 – final positions1, Alain Prost (Dacia Lodgy Glace). 2, Jean-Baptiste Dubourg (Renault Clio III). 3, Olivier Panis (Skoda Fabia). 4, Benjamin Rivière (Skoda Fabia). 5; Andréa Dubourg (Renault Clio III). 6, Jacques Villeneuve (Skoda Fabia). 7, Jean-Philippe Dayraut (Mini Countryman). 8, Franck Lagorce (Skoda Fabia). 9, Nicolas Prost (Dacia Lodgy Glace)10, Evens Stievenart (Dacia Lodgy Glace). Etc.

    Provisional Trophée Andros standings: 1, Jean-Philippe Dayraut (Mini Countryman), 294 points. 2, Alain Prost (Dacia Lodgy Glace), 293. 3, Olivier Panis (Skoda Fabia), 290. 4, Jean-Baptiste Dubourg (Renault Clio III), 286. 5, Benjamin Rivière (Skoda Fabia), 282. 6, Franck Lagorce (Skoda Fabia), 282. 7, Evens Stievenart (Dacia Lodgy Glace), 275. 8, Pierre Llorach (Renault Clio III), 274.9, Jacques Villeneuve (Skoda Fabia), 257. 10, Olivier Pernaut (Ford Fiesta), 251… 18, Nicolas Prost (Dacia Lodgy Glace), 204. Etc.