The Frenchman, who will this season team up with Fernando Alonso at Alpine F1, was behind the wheel of an Alpine A110S at the event which has given the Alpine brand cult status among rallying fans.
Speaking to wrc.com, the smile behind Ocon’s mask was obvious, following his first rallying experience. “I really had good fun,” he expressed. “The car is born for that…you can power slide it on the exit.
“Coming here as an Alpine driver for the first time, we could not start 2021 in a better way!”
Despite being a novice to rally driving, the same could not be said for his knowledge of the sport. “I think it was ’71, when this car first won so 50 years since then…it’s mega special.”
Indeed, it was in 1971 when Swede Ove Andersson drove the Alpine-Renault A110 to its maiden Monte victory. Interestingly, two years later Andersson would finish second to team-mate Jean-Claude Andruet. Co-driving for Andersson on that occasion was current FIA President Jean Todt.
Whether because of nerves or excitement – or both – Ocon also admitted to being anything but relaxed prior to his Thursday outing. “I couldn’t really sleep well last night,” admitted the 24-year-old. “I was waking up in the night and seeing how much time I had left to sleep, because I really wanted to have a go and here I am!”
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Following SS1, Ocon also expressed his utmost respect for WRC drivers, describing them as “heroes.”
“It is as simple as that, I think they are – to be honest, to push on those roads with the car they have…it is so fast and complicated. Well done to them. I am very impressed.”
For now, Ocon has an upcoming Formula 1 season to think about. But he hinted, this will not be the last time fans will catch a glimpse of him behind the wheel of a rally car.
“I think definitely one day I will do a rally”