Formula 1 driver Esteban Ocon is to take part in the opening two special stages of the Monte Carlo Rally in an Alpine A110S sports car.
It will be the Frenchman’s first ever rally experience, and his first proper outing in an A110S since he tried it out at the Nordschleife over the Eifel Grand Prix weekend last year.
Ocon, who will run with his F1 number #31 on the blue-liveried car, will get a morning shakedown in the official VIP course car on Thursday before having a high-speed run when the World Rally Championship season opener gets underway proper.
He will join SS1, which is a 20.58km route from Saint-Disdier to Corps, followed by SS2 between Saint-Maurice and Saint-Bonnet.
Speaking ahead of his outing, Ocon said: “Monte-Carlo for the first time. It’s a legendary event, a jewel in the calendar of motorsport and I know how special being part of it will be.
“I’m looking forward to driving the beautiful Alpine A110S. I had my first taste of the A110 in October with three laps of the Nordschleife.
“It was great that day; very comfortable and agile to drive. It’s born for this kind of challenge with the tight hairpins and mountain passes.
“Rallying has actually always been a dream for me, so driving the A110S in Monte-Carlo is a brilliant way to begin the year.”
French manufacturer Renault is shifting its motorsport focus on to the Alpine brand as part of a company overhaul instigated by new CEO Luca de Meo.
Ocon’s outing on the Monte Carlo rally is the first evidence of a heightened brand push, which has included the new identity for its F1 team.
Alpine has a long history at the Monte Carlo rally, having taken its first podium in 1969 when Jean Vinatier and co-driver Jean-François Jacob finished third. Its first win came in 1971 when Ove Andersson triumphed as Alpine took a 1-2-3 in the original A110.
It also won in the 1973 event with Jean-Claude Andruet and Michele Petit, which was the first ever official WRC round.
Alpine will be competing in the RGT class at the Monte Carlo Rally, with Cédric Robert, Emmanuel Guigou, Philippe Baffoun, Pierre Ragues and Raphaël Astier all driving A110 cars.