2015 World Rally Championship | Tour de Corse
Written by Michael Vettas | Images by Michael Vettas and André Lavadinho
Rally de France | Heat 1 – Rallye de Corse, the eleventh round of the World Rally Championship started with an almighty bang, with Robert Kubica showing the way to be the fastest during shakedown on the extremely wet gravel stages.
Sebastian Ogier who has already secured the Drivers title for this year’s championship, will be out to win this race with the title pressure now off his shoulders, however the race for second and third places in championship are still up for grabs.
With only three stage events per day, the first stage is the shortest, 29.12km, followed by stage 2 at 43.69km and finally stage 3, of 36.43km before a long drive for the overnight stop.
Heavy rainfall overnight drenched the island with almost 200mm falling on the service park in Corte. This resulted in the second stage being cancelled due to landslides making the roads impassable.
Ogier and Kubica set a blistering pace to be tied for first place with Latvala a further 5.8sec behind on the first stage.
Early on Neuville crashed into a bridge destroying his rear suspension only1.2km into the first stage, resulting in his retirement from the day.
Stage 3 began with the weather clearing briefly but the tricky conditions saw Ogier clip a rock which resulted in a puncture which lost him almost 9mins putting him well out of contention to win the rally.
Elfyn Evans surprised everyone with his fast past and blistering time to lead the rally after the third stage, Kevin Abbring Hyundai’s test driver, also impressed placing second 18.7sec behind Evans with Latvala a further 4.2sec behind in third.
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Heat 2 of the rally would see teams revisit the first heat from Day 1 but conditions still had not improved and it was again called off. This now leaves teams with only two stages completed with hope that conditions improve for the remainder of the rally.
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