Andros: Muller leads after first qualifying

Championship leader Yvan Muller was fastest in the first qualifying session for this weekend's round of the Andros ice-racing trophy, despite rain at Alpe d'Huez on Saturday afternoon

Andros: Muller leads after first qualifying

'It makes driving more complicated,' Muller said. 'But it's the same for everyone.'

With intermittent fog and rain, the conditions were far from perfect for qualifying, during which the drivers take to the track four at a time, with the total time over three laps of the track counting towards the final result.

Opel had a catastrophic round halfway through the session, when Dany Snobeck and Eric Helary were due to compete.

Helary's first lap of 1:04 was well off the pace.

Then Yvan Muller watched from the centre of the track as his team-mate Dany Snobeck put their shared Opel Astra hard into the snow wall at the end of the straight.

The session was red-flagged while the Astra was liberated from the snow.

It was restarted without Snobeck, giving Helary a second chance.

He responded well to the situation, setting three 58-second laps to take the provisional lead, seven seconds faster than the provisional second place of Patrick Herbert's Opel Tigra.

This signalled the start of a spate of incidents, with Frederic Gervosan going into the wall at the beginning of the straight, and Philippe Gache spinning on the start/finish line.

Reigning champion Muller and his main rivals were in the last group out.

The Astra did not appear to have suffered any damage in the earlier accident, and Muller was in top form, improving by around three tenths of a second on each lap, taking the lead with a total time of 2:53.125.

Tarrès, with three 58-second laps, beat Hélary's time by six-tenths for second place, while Jean-Philippe Dayraut was fourth.

Julien Pressac, the youngest driver competing in the Trophy, was an impressive seventh in the Renault Megane he shares with Anthony Beltoise.

Emmanuel Collard was 12th, a low placing considering his exploits in the first two rounds.

'It's normal,' Muller said. 'This is the first true ice circuit we have raced on this year: narrow, with a succession of hairpins.

'It's a different technique, and very challenging. But Collard is a very professional driver, and able to adapt quickly. I'm not exactly surprised he's done so well.'

First qualifying results:



















































































Position


Driver


Car


Time


1


Y Muller


Opel Astra


2:53.125


2


M Tarres


Citroen Xsara


2:55.374


3


E Helary


Opel Astra


2:55.959


4


J-P Dayraut


Opel Astra


2:56.760


5


J-P Malcher


Nissan Micra


2:59.067


6


J Ruffier


Opel Tigra


2:59.482


7


J Pressac


Renault Megane


3:01.107


8


J-P Richelmi


Nissan Micra


3:01.821


9


P Colard


Peugeot 306


3:02.648 [2]


10


P Herbert


Opel Tigra


3:03.182


11


C Balas


Subaru Forester


3:03.578 [P]


12


E Collard


Nissan Micra


3:04.324


13


P de Korsak


BMW Z3


3:05.578


14


G Dussaucy


Nissan Micra


3:06.605 [P]


15


B Vincendeau


Renault Megane


3:07.192 [P]

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