The second leg of the CORSICA linea – Tour de Corse was packed with surprises and there were three leadership changes during the day! Thierry Neuville is in first place in the rally before the final leg. This evening the Belgian leads Elfyn Evans and Sébastien Ogier.
Summary, Saturday 30th March
Ott Tänak is determined to win this rally and kicked off this leg with two consecutive fastest times this morning: only Dani Sordo beat him in SS9 so he arrived in Bastia at midday in the lead. In the afternoon it all went south for the Estonian as he suffered a puncture in SS11 and handed the lead back to Elfyn Evans. In the same stage Neuville seemed to have found the perfect setup on his Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC as he won the special. Last up was the big challenge, the 47.18-km SS12, ‘Castagniccia’ with all its attendant traps. Neuville and Ogier were reinvigorated after having found the right setups in the early afternoon and both put on stunning performances! The Belgian was fastest and took the lead in the rally for the first time, but at just the right moment with only two stages to be run tomorrow. Ogier finished second (despite a power problem) offering him third place at the end of the leg giving him a possible big haul of points in the championship. Dani Sordo and Teemu Suninen both had difficult afternoons and completed the top 5.
In the French camp
It was a day of contrasts in the French camp. Even if Sébastien Ogier put himself back in a strong position after a tough start to the rally, it was more difficult for the other French drivers. Sébastien Loeb had an up-and-down day testing different setups (in particular on the differential) on his Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC and finished the day in eighth place. Éric Camilli who had dominated WRC 2 lost everything today. First of all in SS9 due to a puncture and then in the day’s last stage when his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 went up in smoke – literally! Yoann Bonato was just as unlucky and retired in SS8 due to a mechanical problem. Nicolas Ciamin and Pierre-Louis Loubet were among the many victims in SS9 as the driver from Nice crashed and the Corsican had a slight off.
The Équipe de France FFSA Rallye driver, Adrien Fourmaux, regained confidence on the most demanding roads in the toughest event he had ever tackled in his young career. He rejoined in Rally 2 this morning after his error on the first day and his aim is to cross the finishing line. He racked up the kilometres and gained precious experience, which will prove useful for the rest of the season.
Programme Sunday 31st March
SS13 Eaux de Zilia (31.85 km)
First car at 9h45
Start at the Tesa auberge followed by a passage to the golf de Regino and the lac de Codole before a spectacular hairpin bend at the entry to Feliceto followed by a very quick passage through Muro and Avapessa before a radical change of direction in Cateri.The crews then climb up to the Salvi pass 510m above sea level before tackling a long, twisty technical downhill run with a spectacular view on Calvi. Unfortunately, the crews won’t have time to enjoy this! The finish will take place on the plain below Montemaggiore and its five very spectacular hairpins.
SS14 Calvi (19.34 km) Power Stage
First car at 12h18
Start in the Crovani bay just beside the old Argentella mine. The well-worn road traverses agricultural land first of all and then continues overhanging the sea – sometimes in a vertiginous manner – with the La Revellata peninsula in the background. The finishing line is located just after the ND de la Serra road, 3mn from the centre of Calvi.
The highlights of Sunday 31st March
Bastia Poretta (Village du Rallye)
07h30: crews start
Calvi (Parking on the remparts)
12h00-18h00: exhibitors’ village, official boutique, activities, stages shown on a giant screen…
13h00: Power Stage podium
15h00: finish and prize giving