Winter is upon us, which means it’s time for the Andros E-Trophy to make its return. Despite the pandemic, the organisers have found a way to safely hold the Trophée Andros Championship, or Andros E-trophy as it’s called now. The return of ice-racing also meant the return of the Motul Renault Zoe run by DA Racing, the team of Jean-Baptiste Dubourg, who talks us through the first race weekend.
Jean-Baptiste, how was your 2020 season? Motorsport has been a challenge during a global pandemic. Did you manage to have any races before Andros E-Trophy?
2020 was definitely a special season for motorsport and life in general. To stay healthy is more important than anything else nowadays. Unfortunately for me, I was fighting for the European Rallycross title but as the last race was cancelled, we only had two races that classified us. It is what it is but, overall, we’re happy with our performance.
You’re back on the ice with the Renault Zoe and last year was its debut. What changed on the car?
This is the second year with our beautiful “Zoe glace” and to be honest, we improved a lot to get our cars more competitive. We tweaked the overall weight, dampers set-up, etc
You’ve teamed up with Nico Prost for a second year. Are there any changes to the team?
Yes, Nico is still with us and we appreciate it a lot because he’s one of the best teammates you can have. He brings some great qualities to the table: he’s talented, honest, reliable, fast and helps the team to grow overall. The biggest change to the team is that welcomed a new teammate with whom I share my car in the elite category: Gerald Fontanel. To be honest I’m incredibly pleased with that as he shares a lot of qualities with Nico, and this way he’s helping the team a lot. On top of that he’s actually leading the elite category!
Andorra was the first race of the season and you’ve scored back-to-back podiums. Talk us through the weekend.
Andorra was our first weekend and to be honest we struggled a bit with traction and performance on the first day. But we still took some valuable points for the championship. We wanted to make it clear that we want to fight for the overall victory, and that’s why I was really happy with my second place on day two, scoring a lot of points and showing our opponents that we are still on top of our game.
You race both Rallycross and Andros E-Trophy. What’s your attraction to the ice?
Ice races are totally different to RX races: the Trophée Andros was created 32 years ago. When I was a kid, I was watching my heroes, the likes of Yvan Muller , Marcel Tarrès and many others fighting on ice tracks. It really was a childhood dream to become one of them. Moreover, the scenery of the tracks we’re racing at is just amazing. On top of that, this is one of the only competitions where you must slide to be fast so maximum pleasure is guaranteed. What’s remarkable about Throphée Andros is also that’s a really hard competition. It’s very difficult to win it. There have only been eleven champions in 32 years, so the Andros E-Trophy is a steep challenge. You have to fight with champions of all disciplines in motorsport: rally, circuit, off-road, hill-climbing…
There are still a few more races to come in the Andros E-Trophy. Are there any preferred tracks you’re looking forward to?
Yes, there are still four more races to come in January and Serre Chevalier is my absolute favourite! What a pleasure it is to drive on this amazing track where you have fast straights, one big parabolic, and in the heart of the track you’ve got some tricky corners that are almost like a rally stage.
Any plans after the Andros E-Trophy? Are you already making plans for next season?
Next season we hope to fight for the Euro RX title once more alongside my brother Andrea, as well as competing in the French championship with Romuald Delaunay. Romuald is a new DA racing driver. One of the goals of DA Racing is to give opportunities to drivers who want to race in Rallycross and for us to share our broad international experience and to be able to rent fast and reliable cars. We’re also working towards the electric future for E-WRX (Electric World Rallycross) and hope that we can attract manufacturers in this new adventure as we’ve managed to do in the Andros E-trophy with Renault. I hope that Motul will also be part of it.