The 24-year-old French driver, whose first experience of an Alpine came when he lapped the Nürburgring during the Eifel GP last year, drove an Alpine A110S as the official VIP course car, carrying his regular race number “31” through the first two stages of the first date of the 2021 World Rally Championship, the 89th Rallye Monte Carlo.
“It's been a dream of mine to have a go at rallying so to have a taste of it at a brilliant event like this was definitely special” – Ocon told his team.
“It was good fun, awesome, I really enjoyed my time on those roads,” he said. “First experience in rally, not the easiest one to start with. But yeah, I had a blast. I felt more and more comfortable, the more I was going through those roads.”
Ocon accepted that driving the sportscar on the slippery wet roads of Monaco, while being fed information by a co-driver took some work getting used to, as he is used to driving on his own in the single seater.
“There's always like a lot of tricky parts, a lot of grip changes and all that, so it's very different to what I'm used to.
“You need to listen to the co-driver as well, which is not an easy thing. Get it in the right time, and when you are focusing in a corner, you already start to hear what's coming next.
“I was managing that a lot better in the end, and all in all, it was awesome fun. And the car was handling really well, so it was really good."
When he was asked about his opinion about the regular WRC drivers, Esteban Ocon made it clear that after his experience, his respect for them grew even more.
"Heroes! What else can I say? I was watching the onboards already always, after the events, just to watch," he said. "And it looks fast, it looks well controlled when you watch [Sebastien] Ogier, when they cut the roads. And it looks cool.
“But when you drive in real, it looks a lot more narrow, and a lot more difficult. So it's not the same animal when you are there in real. And I tell you, it's very tricky.
"So honestly, hats off to them. They have proper balls, balls of steel."