WRC - Corsica: Few changes on the top, Latvala in the lead
Jari-Matti Latvala (Volkswagen) took the lead from Elfyn Evans (M-Sport Ford) after second day of Tour de Corse, 11th round of World Rally Championship. The gap between them is just 2 seconds with three more special stages and 95 competitive kilometers scheduled for tomorrow. Third placed Andreas Mikkelsen (Volkswagen) is 30 seconds behind the leader.
Just as yesterday, the second day had just two special stages, because the stage Casamozza – Ponte Leccia has been cancelled after a flood destroyed the roads. In the first of today’s test Francardo – Sermano drivers faced changeable conditions on the road, because the sun was drying some parts while others were wet and slippery.
Jari-Matti Latvala was the fastest in VW Polo R WRC, ahead of teammates Sebastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen. Overnight leader Elfyn Evans set the 7th fastest time and his advantage ahead of Latvala was decreased to just 1.7s.
Kris Meeke (Citroen) was the fourth fastest on the stage and jumped in the overall classification from eighth to fifth, 4.5sec ahead of his teammate Mads Ostberg. Kevin Abbring (Hyundai), who was second after Day 1, finished 10th on Saturday’s opening stage and felt to 4th overall. Fifth stage took two major victims – Robert Kubica (Ford) retired with two punctures and just one spare wheel. Other retired driver was Romain Dumas (Porsche).
After a midday service at Corte Airport, the longest stage of the rally followed. Conditions at stage Muracciole – Col de Sorba (48.46 km) were much better and the fastest driver had an average speed of 103 km/h,compared to previous 81 km/h at Stage 5. The fastest was Sebastien Ogier, who retired yesterday and restarted today according to SuperRally rules, so he was just 24th in the overall standings, but could still take some points for manufacturers’s championship.
Latvala was the second fastest on SS6, 3.7s faster than Evans, so they switched positions on the top. Mikkelsen is third, 22.6s ahead of Kris Meeke. Kevin Abbring fell one more place to fifth, 6.5s behind Meeke and 5.6s ahead of another Citroen driver Mads Ostberg. Hayden Paddon (Hyundai) and Bryan Bouffier (Ford) progressed to 7th and 8th respectively, while Stephane Sarrazin (Ford) fell to 9th. Ott Tanak (M-Sport Ford) is holding one last point at tenth, but only 8.7s ahead of Dani Sordo (Hyundai).
In WRC2 class Craig Breen (Peugeot 208 T16) started Day 2 as a leader but after SS5 he fell to third and after SS6 he was sixth, because he lost lots of time with punctured tire. WRC2 leader is Julien Maurin (Ford Fiesta RRC) with a 19-second advantage over Esapekka Lappi (Škoda Fabia R5). In Junior WRC category hero of the day was Quentin Gilbert, who started Day 2 on third place with a 30-second gap between him and Yohan Rossel and finished as the leader with 24.7s advantage ahead of him.
Photos: Volkswagen Motorsport, Michelin