Esteban Ocon revelled in his first experience of the Rallye Monte Carlo after taking part in the opening two stages of the 2021 event driving an Alpine A110s.
The Frenchman, who is preparing for his second season back in Formula 1 with the Alpine F1 Team this year, participated in the opening stage between Saint-Disdier and Corps, and then the second stage between Saint-Maurice and Saint-Bonnet.
He admitted conditions were tricky but that was all part of a ‘special’ day for the twenty-four-year-old, who had always had an ambition to go rallying.
The reason behind Ocon’s demonstration run was the fiftieth anniversary of Alpine’s first victory in the Rallye Monte-Carlo, with Ove Andersson leading home a marque one-two-three back in 1971.
Ocon hopes for more rallying opportunities in the future, but his immediate attention is on the start of the Formula 1 season, with pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit less than fifty days away. He returned to Formula 1 in 2020 after sitting out the 2019 season due to losing his BWT Racing Point Formula One Team seat to Lance Stroll, and although he was often outraced by team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, he secured the best result of the season for the Renault DP World F1 Team with second place in the Sakhir Grand Prix. Renault now become Alpine, with Ricciardo being replaced as Ocon’s team-mate by Fernando Alonso.
“It was an amazing experience driving the Alpine A110S at Rallye Monte-Carlo,” said Ocon. “It’s been a dream of mine to have a go at rallying so to have a taste of it at a brilliant event like this was definitely special.
“The conditions were tricky but that all added to the experience and provided a fun challenge. The A110S handled really well, it’s perfect for these roads and to have a taste of that was fantastic.
“I look forward to more events like these but, for now, I’m focusing on preparing for the new season in the new team colours.”