Jean-Pierre Nicolas and Alpine

Entered at Alpine in 1968, after many exploits on R8 Gordini, Jean-Pierre Nicolas remained faithful to Alpineuntil 1976, taking part in most of adventure. From R8 to A310, he all drove them: 1300, 1600, 1800, 1860, A310 4 cylinders, the protos A210 and even R12 and R17 Gordini. Here thus some memories on these models.


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Home arrow Magazine arrow Special arrow Andruet : Incredible driver
Andruet : Incredible driver Print E-mail
Written by Echappement   

With these beginnings, Jean-Claude Andruet thought that a pilot worthy of this name was to be able to carry out the impossible one. There was no limit: he was to go always more quickly. A courage without terminal, combined to an extraordinary will led Jean-Claude to move back the limits of the possible one unceasingly. With the Rally Neige et Glace 1969 when it controlled Berlinette Alpine official, it was amazing. Boosted, he crosses the bump of a collar covered with snow so quickly that the Alpine took off and fell down to more than 160 km/h in the descent. Its co-driver Jean Todt, who navigate however largest rallymen of the world and could observe all the facets of the talent, remembers this episode with emotion :

In theory, says he, I always understood what did my pilots. When in a turn, I did not understand any more,  it is that in the second which followed one was out of the road. In this rally Neige et Glace with Andruet, the collar formed a bump in right curve, and we crossed it with a rigorously incomprehensible speed: I had never seen that before, and I never re-seen that since. They was almost miraculous, but the worst, it is that it was thus in almost all the turns. For the first time of my life, I was afraid. A fear which did not leave me any more. With time control point, the others driversl, struck by the confusing stopwatches which we made, came to see us to try to calm Jean-Claude. But that this was in such a state of grace or excitement that nothing could stop it. We left the road to six recoveries during the night. With each time without evil, because the walls of snow. The witnesses helped us to give Berlinette on the road and Jean-Claude wanted absolutely to regain wasted time, then he started quicker, while attacking even more extremely. It turned to the madness. We finished by us finding in balance at the edge of a chasm. A balance so precarious that if we had breathed a little too extremely, the Alpine would certainly have finfshed at the bottom of the hole...

At that time, Jean-Claude carried out a life of insane. He continued, apart from the race, to exert his trade of representative and hardly took time to recognize, even less to sleep. He had only one rule: to attack like one had, to move back the limits of the possible one. Two years after its beginnings, the others Alpine drivers already regarded it as fastest of them. But, tired by the life which it carried out, it often came out of the road: 

It was even the recordman all categories of the outputs of road ", tells Jacques Cheinisse who directed the competition at Alpine. It cost us a certain number of Berlinette each year, but Jean-Claude had such a quality, and the public admired it so much that that was worth the expenditure all the same. He drived in rally as in circuit: with the limit everywhere, with very tended trajectories and very little drift. It refused to take the least safety margin, it was always to the maximum.

Andruet was very fast besides in circuit, especially when it rained, and its exploits in Spa or Mans, circuits for large hearts drivers, would have perhaps led it to Formula 1 if it had followed that way.

(Courir - Echappement)

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