Esteban Ocon made his first appearance as an Alpine driver on Thursday in the Monte Carlo rally, driving the VIP course car.
In his first experience of rallying, he’s demonstrating the Alpine 110S on the course before the rally proper gets underway in the afternoon.
Ocon returned to F1 with Renault last year, while the company’s sports arm took over running for the team in the offseason. He drove the Alpine 110S on the Nordschleife last year, but not competitively.
He was enthusiastic saying: “I can’t wait to experience Rallye Monte-Carlo for the first time. It’s a legendary event, a jewel in the calendar of motorsport and I know how special being part of it will be.”
He added: “Rallying has actually always been a dream for me, so driving the A110S in Monte-Carlo is a brilliant way to begin the year.”
Aside from the name, it’s all change at Alpine F1 with Cyril Abiteboul leaving the team after six years and Davide Brivio joining the team from MotoGP.
Meanwhile, star driver Daniel Ricciardo left the team for midfield rivals McLaren so Fernando returns from the wilderness – ironically where he’s done some rallying for his third stint at team Enstone.
— Esteban Ocon (@OconEsteban) January 21, 2021
At Monte Carlo, Ocon’s car was adorned with the #31 number that he uses in F1, and Ocon will pass through two stages as the official course car.
After the event, Ocon said: “Today was an amazing experience driving the Alpine A110S at Rallye Monte-Carlo. 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 today 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!”
Alpine’s also entered the rally in the RGT class; Cédric Robert, Emmanuel Guigou, Philippe Baffoun, Pierre Ragues and Raphaël Astier will pilot Alpine A110 Rally cars across the four days.
Patrick Marinoff, Managing Director Alpine Cars, added: “This is our first activation bringing together Alpine Cars and the Alpine F1 Team with Esteban’s participation in the 2021 Rallye Monte-Carlo. Alpine has a very memorable history in rallying, especially here in Monte-Carlo.
“So, this is the perfect place for our F1 Driver to inhale some of the brand’s finest history and at the same time enjoy the agility and exhilarating driving performance of the A110 on the iconic mountain passes it was made for.”