Each winter, just as the motorsport world is indulging in a much-deserved break, the action is just heating up in France. The engines roar in such renowned winter sport locations as Alpe D’Huez, Val Thorens and Lans-en-Vercors, as the usual winter activities on the local ski slopes take second place for a change. Now in its 23rd year, the Trophée Andros is a racing series featuring some big names, who venture onto unique circuits specially prepared on surfaces consisting purely of ice and snow. The action on the demanding tracks is similar to that on the circuits in the MINI Challenge – only on a tricky, icy surface rather than on asphalt.
The Trophée Andros was founded in 1990 by Max Mamers, himself a French Rallycross champion in 1982 and 1983. Right from the word go, the motorsport spectacle was a hit with the spectators, as the four-wheel drive powerhouses on studded tyres produced thrilling duels on the icy surface. The first man to successfully defend his title at the Trophée Andros was Yvan Muller, a former World Touring Car Champion, who recently competed in the Rally France at the wheel of a MINI John Cooper Works WRC.
Dayraut racing for MINI since 2011
Muller won the Trophée Andros six times in a row between 1996 and 2002. Another three titles were to follow, making Yvan Muller the undisputed record winner of the Trophée Andros. Two drivers are tied in second place on three overall wins in the list of champions: four-time Formula One world champion Alain Prost, who is also the reigning Trophée Andros champion, and Jean Philippe Dayraut. Having won three titles in a row between 2009 and 2011, Dayraut switched cars last season, since when he has been driving for MINI.
“The MINI is appreciated by the public,” says Dayraut, “and its form lends well to ice racing.” Last season he finished in a promising third place overall in the MINI. Reigning champion Alain Prost will not defend his title this season. This is certainly another reason for Dayraut setting himself more ambitious goals. “I am the favourite on paper. And I will do everything to reclaim my title,” says the Frenchman. And it looks good for him after the first two rounds of the season in Val Thorens and Andorra. He has already climbed onto the top step of the podium on two occasions. After this dazzling start, you could justifiably say that Jean Philippe Dayraut is mad about ice in his MINI.
Another four rounds are scheduled in Alpe D’Huez (21st/22nd December), Isola 2000 (11th/12th January 2013), Lans-en-Vercors (18th/19th January 2013) and St. Dié des Vosges (26th January 2013) before the season reaches its conclusion in Super Besse (2nd February 2013). As such, the Trophée Andros is guaranteed to throw up even more excitement over the winter. We will keep you up-to-date with events in the Trophée Andros at Facebook.com/MINImotorsport.[Source: MINI Motorsport]