WRC – Ogier on course for maiden Corsica win | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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WRC – Ogier on course for maiden Corsica win

01.10.16

WRC - 2016 Rallye de France - Saturday

FIA, Motorsport, Mobility, Road Safety, F1, WRC, WEC, WTCC, World RX

With two stages remaining in the 2016 Rallye de France-Tour de Corse Sébastien Ogier tops the time sheets and looks set to further extend his Championship lead.

Two stage wins from four and a lead of 46.5 seconds with two stages to run mean Sébastien Ogier remains on track to claim his first victory on the Tour de Corse. The Frenchman has measured his pace in the tricky conditions and looks set to take one step closer to a fourth consecutive world title. Thierry Neuville, who was in a close battle with Andreas Mikkelsen for most of the day, is second but now with a 21.5 second advantage over his Norwegian rival.

Today’s route, to the west of Bastia, included another two loops of two stages covering a total of 169.04 competitive kilometres and saw changeable conditions in the mountains. Kris Meeke set the pace in the opening stage, Ogier dropping time stuck in a hairpin. However, in the following stage the Frenchman took the win at the same time as Meeke clouted a tree and was forced out of the competition with a pace note error. This afternoon, Ogier won one more stage to marginally increase his lead from last night and now has enough time in hand to control the field over Sunday’s 64 kilometres.

Neuville and Mikkelsen continued to fight for second. The Belgian suffered some understeer first thing this morning and Mikkelsen - fourth last night - was able to power ahead of Latvala in the first stage to claim third, a joint fastest time with Ogier in SS6 inching him ever closer to Neuville. This afternoon the battle continued and while Neuville ran wide and hit some rocks in the final stage, he was still fastest and pulled out another 10 seconds on Mikkelsen, who is now in a more distant third. Jari-Matti Latvala was in the mix for the podium this morning but the Finn is still struggling with confidence. Management of the brakes remains an issue and then too soft a set-up in the final stage left him trailing his rivals. Craig Breen is revelling in his first Corsica outing in a World Rally Car and is a fine fifth and with a healthy advantage over Hayden Paddon. The Kiwi driver has really struggled and admitted needing to ‘go back to the drawing board’ with his asphalt driving style. Dani Sordo has moved from ninth to seventh with little to fight for after his puncture yesterday and Eric Camilli flies the flag for M-Sport, ahead of team-mate Mads Østberg who continues to try a different asphalt driving style. 

Elfyn Evans is having a great run in Corsica and the Welshman overnights in 10th in his R5 machinery, dropping one position this evening after losing out in wetter conditions in the final stage. He heads Jan Kopecky by more than 30 seconds and Yoann Bonato has moved into third after Kevin Abbring parked up his i20 R5 with a water leak.

In the Junior WRC Championship it’s been a tight battle between Laurent Pellier and Yohan Rossel and while Pellier led all morning, he lost out to Rossel this afternoon and the battling rivals are split by 14.9 seconds overnight.

Rallye de France-Tour de Corse – Unofficial Classification after Section 4

1.   Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia

Volkswagen Polo R WRC

3hr 27min 10.0sec

2.   Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul

Hyundai i20 WRC

3hr 27min 56.5sec

3.   Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger

Volkswagen Polo R WRC

3hr 28min 18.0sec

4.   Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila

Volkswagen Polo R WRC

3hr 28min 51.3sec

5.   Craig Breen/Scott Martin

DS3 WRC

3hr 29min 14.9sec

6.   Hayden Paddon/John Kennard

Hyundai i20 WRC

3hr 29min 52.7sec

7.   Dani Sordo/Marc Marti

Hyundai i20 WRC

3hr 30min 13.9sec

8.   Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas

Ford Fiesta RS WRC

3hr 31min 28.2sec

9.   Mads Østberg/Ola Fløene

Ford Fiesta RS WRC

3hr 32min 20.5sec

10. Elfyn Evans/Craig Parry

Ford Fiesta R5

3hr 32min 57.0sec