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Off Road

Professor Prost and the Andros Trophy

3 Mins read

Kimi Raikkonen may or may not join the WRC in 2010, but if you're a fan of motors that power slide or drift (whatever term you prefer) on ice, with a little more sophistication than the FiA WRC early stages in Scandinavia, then there's a good chance you're already looking forward to the rather exclusive bit of motor sport action about to take place up in the French Alps starting on the 5th December and destined finish by the 31st of January 2010 .

Val Thoren Ski resort will host the first of seven of the 20th annual Andros Trophy taking place over the weekend before moving on to the next stage at Grandvalira, Andorra on the 13th -14th December. The Andros Trophy is an exciting ice racing competition that has managed to attract some high profile names in the past and continues to do so in the present.

Although the former ten time Andros Trophy winner Yvan Muller who marginally lost the 2009 World Touring Car Championship to Gabriele Tarquini by four points will be absent on this occasion; attention has been placed on another prominent French name in motor-sports, as Alain Prost will be driving the new Dacia Duster.

Prost, known as the Professor, Aryton Senna's one time team mate and rival, and a four time Grand Prix World Champion has been at the centre of some much welcome media attention by nature of his accomplishments in Formula One; in addition to being a two time winner of the Andros Trophy created by Frederik Gervoson and Max Mamers in 1990.

The effect of recruiting Prost to drive a Dacia Duster has been instantaneous and most beneficial in terms of mass exposure for the little known Romanian car company partly owned by Renault. If anything, it serves to generate some much needed excitement at the backend of the 2009 motor sport season. Otherwise, most of the news coming out motor sports, Formula One in particular after competition, has been repetitive while inconsistent.

Crumbs of news, swivelling around the media cesspool after the departure of Jenson Button from Brawn GP (Mercedes GP) to the Mclaren Group has been infuriatingly mundane. News involving Raikkonen, Schumacher, and the fate of the British Grand Prix, has been frustratingly inconclusive. Furthermore, since Mercedes Motorsport (aka Norbert Haug) has limited its 2010 selection to 'only Germany Drivers need apply', the same names keep coming and going round and round ad nauseam.

One could adequately apply the same dreary outlook to America's premier motor sporting competition NASCAR after Jimmie Johnsons' fourth championship win. Once again, despite all other unresolved issues that plagued the 2009 season, the agenda has been partially hijacked by the re-emergence of the never-ending Danica Patrick supposed, proposed and opposed move to NASCAR from Indycar.

Things being as they are, observers would be encouraged to avert their attention and switch if only for a brief moment from motorsports to mobility.

The news of the Italian Police crashing one of its three beautiful departmental 500hp Lamborghini Gallardos in Cremona ( near Monza) this week is as intriguing to motor sports fans, as football spectators being intrigued by a sexy looking nymph streaking naked across a wet football pitch during an abysmally boring match.

Accepted, there's bound to be little impact on the sales of other LP560-4 resulting from the misfortunes of the Italian Police in Cremona. Beyond the ubiquitous expression of schadenfreude on 'Twitter' it's of little real consequence.

On the other hand, for Dacia as a company, the Andros Trophy appears to be good PR which could become a rewarding business move.

It provides a performance platform for the 3.0 litre Dacia Duster model with a V6, 24V, Nissan VQ engine, while building on the endorsement the Dacia Sandero received from James May, Top Gears brilliant and entertaining token nerd. Writing in the Telegraph (UK) James May highlighted the Dacia Sanderos simplistic functionality. The Andros Trophy and Alain Prost could further boost its image as a high performance car during the competition.

The Andros Trophy's elite class (Plateau Silhouettes) in which Prost will race/power-slide/snow drift in his Dacia Duster contains a field of some sixteen teams in vehicles that abide by the Andros Trophy regulations of a minimum of 2,100 lbs in weight and 350bhp. The eclectic models competing will include BMW 1 Series, Renault Clio, Toyota Auris (which Prost drove to victory in 2007-08), Fiat Stilo, Kia Rio, Fiat Grande Punto, Citreon C4 and Skoda Fabia.

Other motor class events involved in Andros Trophy include the Sprint Car and Academy Class (Sprint Car & Andros Academie), the Electric Car Class and the popular Pilot Bike event that's spawned a spin off competition following its inception in 1996.

Alongside his son Nicholas, Alain Prost will also take part in the Electric Car event (Le Trophee Andros Electrique), which is a total “One-Make” ice racing competition in electric cars that weigh 800kg, generate 120hp and run on 240V Nickle Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries.

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About author
Charles is a regular contributor to TCF, he's based in London and can be found on twitter at @IBMsports
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