Andros Trophy Val Thorens: Day One

After the first day of competition in the 2000/2001 Andros Trophy, five-times winner Yvan Muller set up a comfortable lead, having posted the fastest times in both three-lap qualifying sessions and winning his six-lap race round the 980 metre Val Thorens circuit

Andros Trophy Val Thorens: Day One

The Andros Trophy might have lost the factory supported teams and some of the drivers may have defected to the rival International Ice Racing Series, but the first laps on the ice showed that the quality of competition had, if anything, increased over the winter.

After eleven seasons of the same format, this year sees a major re-organisation to give the drivers more time on the ice and the public more spectacular races. "It was time for a change," said 5-times winner Yvan Muller. "But we'd only just got the hang of the previous system."

Marcel Tarres, in the Citroen Xsara he shares with Anthony Beltoise, was fastest in the first practice session, before Muller regained the upper hand in the second. "I'm beginning to get the feeling back," said the BTCC Vauxhall driver, fresh from the Bathurst 1000.

The first all-important qualifying session saw Muller take the win in his Astra, with three consistent 48-second laps round the fast degrading ice track; Tarres set the fastest lap, but was slower than Muller overall.

In the second session, Stephane Peterhansel, at the wheel of his Nissan Micra, was leading after the first two laps, before going off in the third, leaving Muller to take another win. He was followed by Jean-Philippe Dayraut in the new SDA BMW Z3, with Gilles Stievenart third in another Micra.

Overall, this gave Muller the lead, with Tarres second and Dayraut third, while Jean-Michel Neyrial led the promotion category in his Opel Tigra, followed by Fouquet's Renault Clio.

Muller won his race comfortably, while Tarres took victory in his own six-lap race, giving Muller the first day lead. In the Promotion category, for cars without 4-wheel steering, Neyrial won his race to lead after the first day, while Christophe Balas, driving a BMW Z3 for the first time, took a commanding win in the other race, having started from sixth on the grid.

In the Formula France support race, victory in the first two races went to champion skier Luc Alphand and former F1 driver Philippe Alliot. Former Indycar champion Danny Sullivan made a good start to his ice racing career, rising from the back of the grid up to second place in his 10-lap race, before contact with a snow bank spun him round. He dropped to sixth place, but recovered to take the chequered flag in fourth.

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Andros Trophy Rd 1 – Victory for Muller

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