Alpine’s 60th anniversary celebrations in Dieppe: a record-breaking get-together

alpineFounded by a skilled driver, Alpine is a brand whose history is punctuated by success in motorsport, from the Rallye Monte-Carlo to the Le Mans 24 Hours!

Even if the characteristics of the A106 ‘Coach’ did not particularly lend themselves to racing, in the hands of drivers of the calibre of Jacques Féret and Jean Vinatier, it nonetheless succeeded in securing some very creditable results, not to mention the outstanding second place claimed by Jean Rédélé himself on the 1955 Mille Miglia. Motorsport also served as the catalyst for the development and evolution of the A108, while providing the baseline for the A110.

Beginning in 1963, Alpine pitted itself against the gruelling Le Mans 24 Hours, targeting the ‘Performance Index’ and ‘Efficiency Index’ accolades rather than outright victory. With their small Gordini engines, the Alpines stood out for their aerodynamic efficiency. Two victories ensued, in 1964 with the M64 crewed by Henry Morrogh / Roger Delageneste and again two years later with the A210 piloted by Jacques Cheinisse / Roger Delageneste. There were also one-two-three finishes in the Energy Index classification in 1966 and 1968.

The Alpine name also achieved success in single-seaters, with Henri Grandsire winning the French F3 Championship in 1964. Several years later, Patrick Depailler (1971) and Michel Leclère (1972) repeated the feat.

In rallying, the A110 Berlinette swiftly showed itself to be a potent force. In 1968, Gérard Larrousse came close to winning in Monte-Carlo, but it was the team of ‘Musketeers’ who truly earned the Dieppe-based manufacturer its spurs within the sport. Alpine-Renault sporting director Jacques Cheinisse recruited a ‘dream team’ composed of Jean-Pierre Nicolas, Jean-Claude Andruet, Bernard Darniche and Jean-Luc Thérier. Other drivers would subsequently bolster this legendary quartet, such as Ove Andersson who triumphed in Monte-Carlo in 1971.

In 1973, the Alpine-Renault squad competed for the very first World Rally Championship title. The season began superbly, with a one-two-three finish for Andruet, Andersson and Nicolas in Monte-Carlo. Across 13 rounds, the Berlinette won six times and on every type of terrain: Monte-Carlo (Andruet), Portugal (Thérier), Morocco (Darniche), Acropolis (Thérier), Sanremo (Thérier) and Tour de Corse (Nicolas). The last of those victories saw Alpine conclude the campaign in fine style, with another top three lock-out to write the closing chapter of an extraordinary story! These results crowned Alpine-Renault World Champion, ahead of rivals Fiat Abarth and Ford.

The 1973 season also witnessed the re-launch of Alpine’s endurance racing programme, which had been halted after the disappointment of the A220 at the end of the 1960s. This time, the brand had the top step of the podium firmly in its sights. Victory edged closer year by year until it was finally achieved in 1978. Behind the wheel of the Alpine Renault A442-B, Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi triumphed ahead of the A442 (crewed by Guy Fréquelin and Jean Ragnotti) which came fourth.
With its mission accomplished, Renault was able to turn its attentions towards Formula 1 with its 1.5-litre V6 turbo engine.

The Alpine A310 similarly enjoyed its days in the sun, tasting glory with Jean Ragnotti, Bruno Saby and Jean-Pierre Beltoise – French Rallycross Champions in successive years from 1977 to 1979 – as well as Guy Fréquelin, the 1977 French Rally Champion.
Following the organisation of the Alpine Europa Cup – contested as a curtain-raiser to Formula 1 Grands Prix with the GTA model – the brand’s motorsport activities drew to a close in 1988.

At the end of 2012, when Alpine’s revival was officially announced, a return to motorsport was immediately mooted. After forging a partnership with Signatech, the brand entered both the European endurance championship (ELMS) and the Le Mans 24 Hours. During its very first season (2013), the A450 lifted the European laurels. The Signatech-Alpine squad successfully defended its ELMS crown in 2014, while at the same time clinching an LMP2 class podium finish at Le Mans. This performance was accompanied by seventh position in the overall classification – the second-best result in the brand’s history at La Sarthe after its 1978 victory! Now the story is set to continue in 2015, with a confirmed ongoing commitment to endurance racing…

‘The story of Alpine’ timetable organised by the AAA

Friday, September 11

  • 2:00pm – 6:30pm: public welcome. Vehicle set-up at the exhibition sites
  • 2:30pm – 6:30pm: public access to the ‘Alpine Village’, exhibition areas and entertainment
  • 6:00pm: official opening in the presence of local authorities
  • 7:30pm: shuttle to St Nicolas
  • 8:00pm: dinner in St Nicolas

Saturday, September 12

  • 7:00am – 11:00am: welcome for later arrivals / set-up of the ‘static’ site
  • 7:30am – 9:00am: departure of the various tourist trail routes
  • 9:00am – 6:30pm: public access to the ‘Alpine Village’, exhibition areas and entertainment
  • 3:00pm – 5:00pm: return of the tourist trail participants and set-up of the demonstrations site
  • 5:00pm: trophy presentation to the drivers
  • 7:30pm: shuttles to St Nicolas
  • 8:00pm: ‘Story Evening’ in St Nicolas in the presence of J. Cheinisse, Honorary President of the AAA and former Alpine Sporting Director

Sunday, September 13

  • 10:00am – 6:00pm: public access to the ‘Alpine Village’, exhibition areas and entertainment
  • 10:00am – 10:30am: start of the three parades towards Dieppe’s districts
  • 10:30am: start of the ‘Alpine Celebration’ parade towards the city centre
  • 10:30am – 11:15am: transfer to the Alpine factory
  • 11:30am: wreath-laying ceremony at the Jean Rédélé Memorial

Source. Renault

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