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Renault back with a sports car

John Hardy's Renault Alpine A110 being driven at Classic Adelaide by Bob Watson.

Alpine (pronounced Alpeen) was the name of the French manufacturer of racing and sports cars who used rear-mounted Renault engines, reminding car buyers of Renault's rallying and GP heritage.

Renault Australia communications manager Craig Smith said he was excited by the prospect.

"I haven't seen anything official on Alpine but I'd imagine it would be attracting quite a lot of interest in the UK,” he said.

"Too early to say what, if anything, we'd do with it here.”

The two-seater hatch goes on sale in Europe about 2010, targeting competitors such as the Mazda RX-8, Honda Type R, VW GTI and Nissan 350Z, but will cost less. It is expected that the car will be the forerunner of a series of models with the Alpine badge.

Testing of the running gear is being carried out in a Megane body at Germany's famed Nurburgring race circuit.

The new Alpine is expected to be powered by a small turbocharged petrol engine with every chance it will be mid-mounted.