Nicolas Prost is back behind the wheel of an e-Trophée Andros car, the Renault Zoe teaming op with DA racing, the team of JB Dubourg, and immediately clinched a podium spot in the seasons opening race in Val Thorens.
Nicolas, last time we’ve met you hadn’t even driven the car, now you drove it towards a podium spot. The new Zoe is approved?
Absolutely, I’m really happy to start off the season this way. It’s was definitely not easy to get the car on the podium because the overall level and talent of the competition is immense. It was a combination of factors that worked in our favor so I have high hopes for the rest of the season.
You already mentioned it, the level of this the field is incredibly high. A welcome challenge?
Every challenge makes it more interesting for me as a driver. The biggest newcomer is of course Loeb, and it’s very interesting to see how he figures out ice racing. We know he’s good on ice, I think for a long time he was the first non-Scandinavian person to win a rally high up North in Sweden. His first day was tough, but on the second day he went straight for the podium. Apart from Loeb there’s some much other talent, Andreas Bakkerud is joining for a full season, there is Olivier and Aurélien Panis and of course my team mate JB.
Speaking of JB, when you where struggling on the first day, you said I still have to learn a lot from JB? You both have been racing a lot on Ice, do you believe he has an edge on you?
Yes and no, of course you always want to beat your teammate as they are your reference. But I do believe I can learn a lot from him. JB has a way of pushing a car to its absolute limit and figures out quite fast where that limit is. I believe we make a great team.
Last year you raced an electric car as well, how does the Zoe compare?
Both cars have similar underpinnings as they both run the e-Trophée Andros spec drivetrains. Last years car was more of a prototype car that we were developing during the season. This car is the result and an evolution from that development. The biggest difference is that we now have the best team in the e-Trophée Andros field preparing our car. That makes the biggest difference.
One thing you do a lot during the event is checking the studs on the tires, do the tires evolve that much?
es, the tire and stud wear is 90% of your speed in e-Trophée Andros. If the ice is too hard the studs won’t bite in the ice and will be grounded down. Things get very tricky during the end of a weekend especially when it’s sunny because then bits of tarmac will show up where the ice has melted or simply eroded from all the cars and bikes accelerating. Tarmac really kills the studs. So as a driver and team you have to see which tire has the best studs for the track conditions. We can only use a limited amount or tires so it extremely important to pick the right one.
The first round of the season is behind us? Which round are you really looking forward to?
I really love the next round in Andorra. I always seem to perform well there. Also I have some unfinished business there because last year I was on the pace to get a good result when I had one of the electric motors fail in the last race. So fingers crossed this time!