Red Bull Junior Team member Pierre Gasly became the latest driver to take the challenge of racing on ice when he participated in the exhilarating Za rulem race supported by Renault on Monday. The 19-year-old Frenchman took the wheel of the new sports version of the Renault Logan to compete in the celebrity race of the annual event at the Moscow Hippodrome.
Gasly, who became the youngest winner of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. in 2013 and runner up in the Formula Renault 3.5 series in 2014, raced against local star Nikolay Karamyshev round the track covered entirely with ice.
The Race of Stars is one of the longest-running motorsports events staged in Russia, with more than 20 editions to date. Renault is a long-term supporter of the race, and has introduced several Renault-powered drivers to the event over the years. Four-times world champion Alain Prost, David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean have all competed in the race in the past.
This year, the event format was slightly updated. The total number of starts was increased : all the participants were divided into three groups, and each group drove two rounds of ten laps. The top two drivers in each group determined by the results of the two rounds got through to the finals, with the six best drivers fighting for the title of the “Za rulem” Celebrity Race winner in three final races. The winner then took part in demonstration drives against Gasly.
Speaking of his debut on ice, Gasly said :
‘I really enjoyed the experience. Renault has supported the race in Moscow for many years and lots of good drivers have raced here so I was pleased to get the opportunity as well. I’ve not raced on ice before so obviously it was a steep learning curve but very good fun. It was made even harder as the ice was melting a bit and it was very mixed conditions – in part very wet, then very slippery ice. You have to slide the cars a lot more and work on your reactions, obviously trusting a lot to your instincts. It’s different from the normal day job, but all experience is good experience ! It’s great to work with Renault a bit more as well through the Red Bull link and I’m looking forward to more of the same this year.’