Non Irish Rally Championships
Irish Rally Championships
World Rally Championship
Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)
Hillclimb, Autotest, Endurance
Tour de Corse (France) - 7-9 Apr 17
Posted: April 8, 2017 6:29 PM - 2430 Hits
Round 4 - 2017 World Rally Championship
Live Results (Corsica 2017) Also available at: rally-base results
Radio: Rally Radio on WRC.COM
Event Website: Tour de Corse (France)
First stage each day - Irish/UK Times
Shakedown - Thu - 07:00
SS1 Fri - 08:22
SS5 Sat - 07:40
SS9 Sun - 07:58
Duggan/Conway To Start World Championship Dream In Corsica
Posted: April 6, 2017 10:34 AM
Former Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year and reigning British Junior Rally Champion, Rob Duggan starts his Junior World Rally Championship campaign this weekend on the Mediterranean island of Corsica.
Corsica will be Duggan's 3rd attempt at a World Rally Championship event as the Kerry man has previously tackled Wales Rally GB in 2015 and 2016. While his appearances in Wales were both one off drives, Corsica will be slightly different in that it's the first rally in a full season at world level which will also see Rob tackle events in Italy, Poland, Finland, Germany and Spain.
Speaking ahead of the event Duggan said;
"I'm unbelievably excited to be finally starting my Junior World Rally Championship season. It's taken a lot of hard work over the past few months to get to this point so I'm going to try and enjoy every second of this experience and learn as much as I can. It's nice to start with a tarmac event as it's the surface I'm most comfortable on but this is going to be an incredibly demanding rally. The nature of the roads here is very unique. With little to no distance between corners, good pacenotes will be vital. We were happy to get some competitive miles in West Cork last month and I'm familiar with the DMACK tyres we'll be using having driven on them on my way to the British Junior title last year. Our goal this weekend is to try and get our season off to a steady start and continue to learn the Ford Fiesta R2T. If we're in contention for a podium come Sunday we would be delighted."
Open to drivers born after 1 January 1988, the 2017 Junior World Rally Championship will follow an arrive-and-drive format and competitors will drive identical Ford Fiesta R2Ts.
The Junior WRC will be contested over six WRC rounds, – starting in Corsica, then Italy, Poland, Finland and Germany before finishing in Spain. Points will be awarded to the top-ten finishers according to the usual WRC points system and an additional point will be awarded for each fastest stage time.
Rob will be partnered as usual by co-driver Ger Conway and their season is supported by Rentokil Initial, CB Tool Hire and the Team Ireland Foundation.
You can keep up to date with Rob's exploits over the weekend on social media by following him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
FIA Junior World Rally Championship launches on tough mountain roads.
Posted: April 6, 2017 10:32 AM
Ten crews featuring the WRC stars of tomorrow line-up for the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse (6 - 9 April), the first of six rounds in the revamped series which has swapped Citroen's DS 3 for Ford Fiesta R2T cars built and prepared by M-Sport.
The mix of experienced drivers and WRC rookies will face relentless corners and frequently changing surfaces as the Mediterranean island's asphalt tests their confidence, concentration and pace notes to the limit.
Nineteen-year-old Nicolas Ciamin is the youngest entrant but the Frenchman brings plenty of experience to his home fixture. He won the DMACK Fiesta Shoot Out last season after a year contesting the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy and favours asphalt.
"This season will be more about performance and even though we have very strong competitors, my aim is to fight for the win," he said. "We entered a national rally in Corsica during March to get a good feeling and judge the pace."
Asphalt aces Terry Folb, who finished third in last year's Junior WRC, and Spain's Nils Solans will provide stern competition.
"We really want to be among the leaders in Corsica and to aim for maximum points at the start of the season. The length of the stages will be a test but also the weather as it can be very changeable. The third challenge is the competition and I'm sure it will be strong this year," said Folb.
German Julius Tannert brings European Championship experience to the series while British junior champion Rob Duggan is sure to be among the frontrunners.
Belgium's William Wagner will aim to cause an upset and USA's Dillon Van Way returns after competing on one round last season.
Estonia's Miko Niinemae faces a tough task having not competed on asphalt for six years. Corsica marks a WRC debut for Sebastian Careaga from Bolivia and Swede Dennis Radstrom, both of whom will compete on asphalt for the first time.
The series prize structure has adopted the format of the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy, from which this year's Junior WRC has evolved. Events are paired and the driver scoring most points over each pair wins two drives in next year's WRC 2. An additional prize event will be handed to the championship winner.
Craig Breen joins FULL-STRENGTH LINE-UP OF CITROEN C3 WRCs at Tour de Corse!
Posted: April 5, 2017 9:44 AM
For the first time this season, the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team is to contest a rally with a line-up of three C3 WRCs. Following on from their dramatic win in Mexico, Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle will lead the charge, alongside Craig Breen/Scott Martin and Stephane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau.
Held in October last year, the French round of the World Championship has therefore been moved this year to nestle between rallies in Mexico and Argentina. A very welcome reorganisation, which avoids there being a long uninterrupted series of six gravel rallies. As a result, the organisers have not made any drastic changes to the route, which is almost identical the one used in 2016. After an opening leg on roads around Ajaccio, the competitors will stay in the Bastia region on Saturday, before fighting it out on stages close to Porto-Vecchio on the final day. The itinerary of this sixtieth edition of the rally features only ten stages. Fifth overall last October, Craig Breen and his co-driver Scott Martin will be able to call upon their experience and aim for an even better result this year. Since Monte-Carlo is not regarded as an exclusively tarmac rally, Tour de Corse will therefore see the 2017 World Rally Cars fight it out on this surface for the first time. Keen observers – especially the teams' engineers – will therefore be eager to compare the performances of the cars to keep defining a pecking order. With three different manufacturers winning the first three rallies, this season looks set to be a very open contest!
Obviously, Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT would not be averse to bucking the trend by racking up a second consecutive win. In order to maximise its chances, the team is entering three C3 WRCs for the first time. Kris Meeke, Craig Breen and Stephane Lefebvre are all nominated to score points in the Manufacturers' World Championship, bearing in mind that only the two highest-placed cars can actually earn points. In the official Citroen event preview Craig said "I was surprised to learn that I'm the team's most experienced driver at this rally! It's true that I know the Tour de Corse very well and I really love racing here. There are some similarities with conditions in Ireland, like the unpredictable weather and the uneven surface of the roads, which are sometimes in poor condition... Last year, I had a good feeling on my first tarmac rally in a WRC. This year, I hope I'll be able to put together a series of stages with a good level of confidence. It really is all about confidence with these new cars! If I can manage to do that, then we should secure a good result."
Next stop Corsica as WRC battle hots up
Posted: April 5, 2017 9:41 AM
- New date but same old challenges as WRC battle returns to Europe
- 2017 season's first Tarmac test lives up to its billing as 'the rally of 10,000 corners'
- To date: three different winners from the opening three rounds
- Catch all the action for free on Red Bull TV
This year's pulsating FIA World Rally Championship has already lived up to its billing as the most unpredictable and exciting for ages. The introduction of a new breed of more dramatic cars, plus some significant changes among the top teams and leading drivers has already produced three different winners from the opening three rounds.
Reigning champion Sebastien Ogier won the season-opener in slushy Monte Carlo on his debut for the M-Sport team, then Jari-Matti Latvala celebrated Toyota's welcome return to the WRC in style with victory in snowy Sweden and last time out, Britain's Kris Meeke scored for Citroën on the Mexican gravel despite a nail-biting last-gasp trip through a car park!
Now the action returns to Europe for the legendary Rallye de France-Tour de Corse in Corsica, which is the first pure Tarmac event of the season and nicknamed 'the Rally of 10,000 Corners'. That's because of the endless series of hairpin bends on the stunning mountain stages, through some of the most breathtaking scenery on the calendar. The cars are low to the ground in asphalt specification, hugging the narrow roads to conquer the mountains overlooking the Mediterranean at speeds you won't believe.
Abrasive asphalt is tough on tyres and conditions can often be changeable in the mountains, placing high importance on the work of the weather and route note crews as drivers attempt to predict what they could be facing some hours later.
For 2017 the Tour de Corse has moved from an autumn date to springtime and, while the organisers have opted to run a very similar route – reminiscent of the Tour de Corse of old – the move may, or may not, bring with it a change in weather conditions.
This time five-time Dakar winner Cyril Despres from France is Red Bull TV's guest reporter. The rocky island is something of a contrast to the vast and arid deserts that Cyril is best known for. The Frenchman dominated the epic Dakar Rally on motorbikes, before switching to cars three years ago as part of Peugeot's 'Dream Team'. He's now team mates with the most successful rally driver in history – Sebastien Loeb – and finished just behind the nine-time world champion on the podium of this year's Dakar Rally in January after nearly 10,000 kilometres of competition. Cyril also tested a World Rally Car last year, showing plenty of pace even when there was no sand to be seen.
So, it's clear that he knows a bit about the World Rally Championship, too. The 43-year-old is a frequent visitor to Corsica on holiday, where he loves to ride bikes both with and without engines through the incredible landscapes. He knows the place off by heart – just check out his restaurant tips – making this adventurous Frenchman your perfect guide to his home rally. Watch it all on Red Bull TV.
The event spans the whole Mediterranean island: Thursday evening's Ceremonial Start is hosted in Ajaccio on the west coast with the rally itself based in Bastia in the north east. The competitive route comprises 10 stages covering 316.80km before finishing in Porto-Vecchio in the south on Sunday 9 April.
FULL-STRENGTH LINE-UP OF CITROEN C3 WRCs AT TOUR DE CORSE!
Posted: March 31, 2017 1:00 PM
For the first time this season, the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team is to contest a rally with a line-up of three C3 WRCs. Following on from their dramatic win in Mexico, Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle will lead the charge, alongside Craig Breen/Scott Martin and Stephane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau.
TOUR DE CORSE: A WRC ICON
Long before the World Championship was founded, the Tour de Corse started to build its legendary status in the 1950s. Back then, the island's roads provided an unforgiving test of the handling of the cars and the talent of the drivers. Even today, the "Rally of 10,000 Corners" is still known for its narrow, twisty stages with uneven and abrasive roads. Demanding on the brakes and tyres, the mountain landscapes are also capable of serving up constantly changing weather. Whether the rally is held in the autumn or the spring, like this year, it is extremely unusual for rain not to put in an appearance at some point!
Held in October last year, the French round of the World Championship has therefore been moved this year to nestle between rallies in Mexico and Argentina. A very welcome reorganisation, which avoids there being a long uninterrupted series of six gravel rallies. As a result, the organisers have not made any drastic changes to the route, which is almost identical the one used in 2016. After an opening leg on roads around Ajaccio, the competitors will stay in the Bastia region on Saturday, before fighting it out on stages close to Porto-Vecchio on the final day. The itinerary of this sixtieth edition of the rally features only ten stages.
THE CHALLENGES: FIGHT FOR VICTORY ON TARMAC!
Since Monte-Carlo is not regarded as an exclusively tarmac rally, Tour de Corse will therefore see the 2017 World Rally Cars fight it out on this surface for the first time. Keen observers ? especially the teams' engineers ? will therefore be eager to compare the performances of the cars to keep defining a pecking order. With three different manufacturers winning the first three rallies, this season looks set to be a very open contest!
Obviously, Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT would not be averse to bucking the trend by racking up a second consecutive win. In order to maximise its chances, the team is entering three C3 WRCs for the first time. Kris Meeke, Craig Breen and Stephane Lefebvre are all nominated to score points in the Manufacturers' World Championship, bearing in mind that only the two highest-placed cars can actually earn points.
Clearly, the goals are different for the three drivers. Boosted by his win in Mexico, Kris Meeke will be looking to confirm the potential shown in last year's rally. After a puncture put him out of contention for the win, the British driver set a series of excellent stage times, which suggest that he will be challenging among the frontrunners this year. Fifth overall last October, Craig Breen will also be able to call upon his experience and aim for an even better result. The situation will be different for Stephane Lefebvre, who has only competed here once before in a WRC. The young Frenchman will therefore need to fine tune his knowledge of the roads before testing himself against the top drivers.
Hyundai Motorsport crews target tarmac glory at Tour de Corse
Posted: March 31, 2017 12:58 PM
The World Rally Championship (WRC) returns to Tour de Corse for the second time in six months as Corsica plays host to the fourth round of the 2017 season
Following its podium finish on the Mexican gravel, Hyundai Motorsport is aiming to hit the ground running in the French island, the first full tarmac rally of the season
The team finished second in Corsica last season, so hopes are high that the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC can show a similar level of performance - and fight at the front of the field.
Fresh from securing its first podium finish of the season at Rally Mexico, Hyundai Motorsport is ready to take to the tarmac at next week's Tour de Corse (6-9 April), the fourth round of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
The Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC has already proven to be a strong and versatile challenger in this competitive WRC season. The team has amassed 20 stage wins and 16 Power Stage points in the opening three rounds - across all driver crews.
Corsica will offer Hyundai Motorsport an opportunity to build on its recent podium at a venue where the team finished second just six months ago. The Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team trio of Hayden Paddon/John Kennard, Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul and Dani Sordo/Marc Marti will all be aiming to repeat that feat - and hopefully go one better in this year's event.
Long and winding roads
Tour de Corse is famed for its many tricky twists and turns, which have contributed to its nickname, 'Rally of 10,000 Corners'. Providing some of the most stunning scenery on the calendar, the rally takes place against a variety of backdrops, ranging from jaw-dropping cliff edges, to crystal blue seas and picturesque villages.
This will be only the third iteration of the event since its reinstatement to the WRC calendar in 2015. The itinerary itself will have a familiar feel, although several stages have been shortened to reduce the competitive distance from 390.92km to 316.80km.
The crews have been working hard to make the shift from Mexican gravel to Corsican tarmac. They have all had the chance to test on Corsica this week over a total of five days. Paddon will also be competing in Rallye Sanremo in the New Generation i20 R5 this weekend in a bid to prepare himself fully for a return to tarmac.
Team Principal Michel Nandan said:
?We can't be completely satisfied with the results from the first three rallies of the season, but we have definitely shown promise. We hope our podium in Mexico will unlock the full potential from the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC and our crews as we turn our attention to Corsica. This year's WRC is incredibly close with three different manufacturers winning in the opening rounds. I hope it's our turn now! Corsica will present its own tough challenges, of course, so we have to keep focused on the job in hand and remain confident in our own abilities."
Crew Notes: Paddon/Kennard (#4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
After a challenging start to their 2017 WRC campaign, the Kiwi partnership of Hayden Paddon and John Kennard will be targeting a good result in Corsica. As part of his preparation for the event, Paddon will also be taking part in Rallye Sanremo, which he hopes will give him a competitive edge.
Paddon said: ?I am determined that Corsica will be the real start of my 2017 season. I feel confident in myself and I've been working hard to prepare for the first WRC tarmac event of the year. Taking part in Rallye Sanremo will give me the chance to adjust to the driving and pace notes on that surface. Corsica is a difficult event, the toughest tarmac rally on the calendar in my opinion, but I am really looking forward to it. We are ready to put a good performance."
Crew Notes: Neuville/Gilsoul (#5 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Belgians Neuville and Gilsoul claimed second at last year's Tour de Corse and have rally-winning form on the island. Having scored their first podium of 2017 in Mexico, they will be hoping to return to the front as the WRC moves back onto tarmac.
Neuville commented: ?Tour de Corse is a famous and historic rally. It's also an event that Nicolas and I have won back in 2011 - when it was part of the IRC - so we remember what it is like to go there and perform. I thought we did well there last year especially, finishing second. The stages were just lovely, so we are looking forward to getting back there. Mexico was a really important result for us after the competitive but frustrating first rounds of the season. We want to build on that podium - and Corsica is a great place to do just that."
Crew Notes: Sordo/Marti (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Spaniards Sordo and Marti are the highest placed Hyundai Motorsport crew in the standings after a solid start to their 2017 season. Stage wins in each round mean they can head onto Corsica's tarmac terrain in confident mood. Sordo also claimed a victory at the event in 2012, when it was an IRC round, so he will be hoping to bring some of that form to next week's rally.
Sordo said: ?Corsica is our first experience of a proper tarmac rally this season, so I am excited to have the chance to show what both we and the car are capable of. The setting of the rally is one of the most spectacular on the calendar, with the route taking us through the mountains and the forests- it really is a great event to take part in. Our performances so far this year have been pretty consistent but now is the time to step up our game - and bring ourselves even closer to the front."
Tour de Corse 2017 at a glance
Taking place over ten stages and a competitive distance of 316.80km, Tour de Corse will serve as the first all-tarmac event of the 2017 WRC season. The service park remains at Bastia Airport in the northeast.
Stamina will be key for the drivers on Friday. There will be no midday service, instead just two tyre fitting zones in Porticcio. Saturday sees only four stages run but it will represent the greatest distance covered on any of the three days, with both loops totalling 131.96km.
The final leg on Sunday features the longest stage of the entire rally. SS9 runs between Antisanti and Poggio di Nazza and covers a whopping 53.78km. There will be no respite for the crews ahead of the rally-concluding Porto-Vecchio - Palombaggia Power Stage.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
Posted: March 31, 2017 12:50 PM
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team and its drivers, Jari-Matti Latvala and Juho Hanninen head to the island of Corsica for round four of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) from April 6 to 9. The classic Tour de Corse is France's round of the WRC and the first pure asphalt event of the season, following the ice-coated roads of Monte-Carlo, snow of Sweden and gravel of Mexico. Learning and developing the Yaris WRC remains the clear priority in the first season of Toyota's WRC return, despite an extremely positive start with the team currently second in both the manufacturers' and drivers' standings.
An event that returned to the calendar in 2015 after six years away, the Tour de Corse is famous for its narrow and twisty asphalt stages, which give it the nickname 'The Rally of 10,000 Corners'. With mountainous stages lined by rock faces on one side and steep drops on the other, as well as numerous surface changes, there is plenty to catch drivers out. Abrasive asphalt and long stages also mean that tyre wear is a factor.
The rally is based in Bastia but will begin in the island's capital Ajaccio on Friday April 7, with the day's action consisting of two loops of two stages, averaging 30 kilometres each, which are run twice. There is no full midday service; instead just a change of tyres. Saturday contains two runs over two stages in the north near Bastia, totalling 131.96 kilometres. The rally concludes on Sunday with a 10.42-kilometre Power Stage near Porto Vecchio following the longest stage of the event, the 53.78 kilometres from Antisanti to Poggio di Nazza.
Latvala won the Tour de Corse on its WRC return in 2015, having also won in France (but this time in Alsace) the previous season. Hanninen has one previous start in Corsica in 2008, winning the production class. Prior to the start of the rally, each driver experienced two days of testing in Corsica itself,using roads that were very similar to those that will be seen on the rally.
Tommi Makinen (Team Principal)
?We had a very good test, introducing more new elements to the car, and from what we can see so far our performance on asphalt seems quite promising. We hope that we have the car to get a result but of course our objective does not change: we just want to gain experience and learn. There are a lot of positive things I can see heading into this rally: firstly, Jari-Matti likes the event and is in a very good mood, so when drivers are in this frame of mind it means they can perform well. He is second on the road but in Corsica that should not be a problem, as there is very little corner-cutting so road conditions should be good for him. Also Juho is now fully recovered from his illness. Despite not feeling well he still managed to finish the last rally in Mexico and get some points with a great performance, so this should give him even more confidence now that he is fully recovered."
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
?Corsica is a special event for me: when I won there it meant so much to me because for Finns it was always a difficult place, after the accident with Henri Toivonen in 1986, and as a nation we never used to do very well there. Now I think it is different, and of course rallying is a lot safer. We had a very good test completing 380 kilometres over two days, with one day on narrow and bumpy roads and the second day on fast and abrasive roads. On the rally we will have both, so I think we found a good set-up between those two conditions, trying a few different damper settings. We already have an idea about the potential of the car on asphalt after Monte-Carlo, and my feeling with the car now is much better than it was after the test for Monte. However, our rivals will be very strong, as we saw already on all the rallies so far, so we take nothing for granted. We are just staying focussed on our task of improving the car with every rally. Up to now that objective is being met, s o I am happy."
Juho Hanninen (Driver car 11)
?I feel so much better now than I did before so I am looking forward to Corsica: it feels good to be back on Tarmac. I have only done the rally once before and that was a long time ago, although I also did the recce last year. So I have been relying a lot on the advice from Jari-Matti about how to set up the car and this is working very well. To me, the car actually feels quite similar to what we had in Monte-Carlo, but that is good as I had a very nice feeling with the car there. The main difference in Corsica is the tyres, so we have been learning how to get the best out of them, especially for the long stages. Mexico showed that if you persist you can have a good result even if the circumstances are against you and that is also a little bit the philosophy of Toyota this year: we are going to keep trying to make the car better and better."
M-SPORT ON COURSE FOR STRONG PERFORMANCE AT TOUR DE CORSE
Posted: March 31, 2017 12:50 PM
M-Sport's fleet of Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiestas will don their asphalt trim next week as the FIA World Rally Championship ventures to the fourth round of the season at the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse.
Getting the crews comfortable and confident on another new surface, the team completed a comprehensive five-day test in Corsica last week. Specifically targeting set-up, the three crews covered more than 1,200 kilometres with particular attention to damper set-up and event-specific configurations.
Fully prepared, the team are focused on securing another strong result at an event which holds special significance.
Working alongside the FFSA, M-Sport continues to strengthen a successful ladder of opportunity which offers a route from grass-root to top-level rallying.
This year's Tour de Course will showcase every rung on this highly effective ladder with the Ford Fiesta R2 National, Ford Fiesta R2, Ford Fiesta R5 and Ford Fiesta WRC all on the entry list and all striving to achieve the same ultimate goal - an FIA World Rally Championship laurel.
TOUR DE CORSE
THE RALLY OF 10,000 CORNERS
Known as the rally of 10,000 corners, the Tour de Corse provides a solid test of endurance, focus and adaptability.
As the first pure-asphalt event on the calendar, the Corsican fixture has an individuality which sets it apart from all other events. Endurance stages are framed by beautiful landscapes which have dubbed the island as the 'Ile de Beaute,' but the picturesque scenery masks a daunting challenge.
The tight and twisty roads demand respect - often bordered by sharp rock faces on one side, and steep drops into the sea on the other. The abrasive asphalt also places high demands on tyres and the strategists will have to be on top-form as they go head-to-head with the island's unpredictable forecasts.
For the crews themselves, focus is key with the co-drivers having to deliver more pacenotes than at any other event. Driver, co-driver, team and car must all work in complete synchronicity should they want to challenge for the top results, and the smallest of mistakes rarely go unpunished.
THE TEAM PRINCIPAL
With M-Sport leading both the driver and manufacturer standings, Team Principal Malcolm Wilson is keen to see the team's strong showing continue throughout the field.
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
?We've had a fantastic start to the season and it's great to see such a wide range of M-Sport products in competition at next week's Tour de Corse. We've worked extremely hard to produce an effective ladder of opportunity for rallying's future stars and it's rewarding to see so many levels of that initiative in competition next week.
I'll certainly be keeping an eye on the whole field and I think we have the potential to deliver some strong results throughout all of the classes.
In the main field, the team are feeling optimistic about the challenges ahead. When the Ford Fiesta WRC was last in asphalt trim at Rallye Monte-Carlo, all three cars secured stage victories and we have further developed the car and set-up since then.
We certainly have the potential to deliver another strong performance and that has to be our aim. But we're under no illusions. We know how challenging this event can be and a strong result won't come without the continued hard work from every single member of the team."
OGIER AND INGRASSIA
THE CHAMPIONSHIP LEADERS
Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia made their competitive debut in the FIA World Rally Championship in 2008, but they got their first taste of the action when piloting the Course Car at the 2007 edition of the Tour de Corse.
Returning to the island for their fourth competitive outing this year, the Frenchmen lead the way in the championship standings and will be looking for another strong result at an event which holds special significance - supported by the FFSA whose Rallye Jeunes programme kick-started Ogier's career in 2005.
Claiming victory at the event last year, Ogier and Ingrassia know what it takes to deliver and will be working to achieve a similarly strong result behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta WRC.
Sebastien Ogier said:
?We've had a nice few weeks since Rally Mexico - combining work with time at home - and now we're ready to tackle the Tour de Corse. It was nice to spend some time with my family and to enjoy some skiing out on the slopes, but we also had a good test to find the best set-up for what are very unique stages in Corsica.
We're back to asphalt and I had a good feeling with the Fiesta in Monte-Carlo, but this event offers a completely different surface which demands a slightly different approach. Working with the team, we were able to explore a lot of different settings with the dampers and centre-differential which I hope will see us well placed to challenge for another strong result next week.
We've seen some very close battles this year, and I expect that to continue. We'll certainly be doing our best to be in the battle, and the ultimate goal will be to come out on top. It won't be easy, but the Tour de Corse never is. Even if the route remains very similar to last year, this rally is always a big challenge!"
TANAK AND JARVEOJA
THIRD IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Ott Tanak and Martin Jarveoja will face their biggest challenge of the year so far when the FIA World Rally Championship embarks on the island of Corsica next week.
Tanak has not enjoyed the best of fortunes at his previous encounters with the Tour de Corse, and Jarveoja will be experiencing the unique stages for the first time this year.
With their confidence high and their trademark determination in full force, the pairing will be looking to overturn the past and write a new chapter behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta WRC.
Ott Tanak said:
?Next week's Tour de Corse will be the biggest test of the year so far, but we've done a lot to improve ourselves and await the challenge.
It's an event that I've not really clicked with in the past, but to be honest I had the same feeling about Rallye Monte-Carlo. That worked out really well for us so if we remain focused and motivated, anything is possible and we could find ourselves in contention for a positive result.
That's always our goal and we always want to deliver the best result we possibly can. The Fiesta felt really good in Monte and we've done a lot of work in testing since then. Last week we completed close to 500 test kilometres, so hopefully that all pays off next week.
But at the same time, I know just how challenging this event is. The stages are so narrow and twisty and there is something happening all the time. There really is no margin for error and we're going to have to remain calm and focused from the very start."
EVANS AND BARRITT
EIGHTH IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt have always performed well at the Tour de Corse and will be looking to continue that trend next week.
When the pairing last joined forces in 2015, the Tour de Corse played host to their best ever result in the FIA World Rally Championship. Having led the event with an inspired drive through one of the most challenging stages of the weekend, the pairing secured second place overall.
When the DMACK-clad Ford Fiesta WRC last donned its asphalt guise at Rallye Monte-Carlo, Evans secured three stage victories and will be hoping for a similar showing in pursuit of a strong result next week.
Elfyn Evans said:
?The Tour de Corse is a real technical challenge but I think that's what I like about it. We've had some really good results there and I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do this year.
It's a unique event and there's actually quite a lot of variation amongst the stages. Some are surprisingly smooth, but then there are those which are typically Corsican with abrasive Tarmac that twists through the mountains.
It's all about adapting to the conditions but at this time of year, and with the stages being so long, it's possible to be faced with dry Tarmac and wet Tarmac on the same stage. Like in Monte-Carlo, we could find ourselves looking for the package that provides the best compromise.
When we had dry Tarmac in Monte, our pace was really good and that gives us a big positive to build on. We had a test working of different set-ups last week and it felt pretty good. It's an event that you can never predict, but there's no reason for us not to feel fairly optimistic so let's see what happens."
A NOTE FROM
Organised, focused and motivated - three character traits which best describe our co-drivers and which will be put to the ultimate test at next week's Tour de Corse.
We caught up with all three of our top-flight co-drivers to discover just what it is that makes the Corsican fixture so challenging.
Julien Ingrassia said:
?I write one corner per page in Corsica? only joking! Okay, we might not have to write that much, but it is a lot. The number of pages is influenced by the size of each co-driver's writing and the amount of detail each crew includes in their pacenotes but, as an example, I use 94 pages for stage nine alone!
The most important thing when delivering so much information is to keep the rhythm. The easiest way to explain it is to think of it like a piece of music. All the notes have to be there, and the tune has to be there, but we have to play it faster."
Martin Jarveoja said:
?This will be my first time in Corsica so I'll need to get up to speed fairly quickly. With so many corners and so much information to relay to the driver, it's a lot of work and we need to be extremely focused and calm under pressure.
For me however, the biggest challenge will be the recce. I suffer from travel sickness and, although you don't notice it so much in the rally car, you can feel it on the recce? and the roads in Corsica aren't exactly straight!"
Dan Barritt said:
?The Tour de Corse is pretty different to most other rallies. It's all about endurance and that means a lot of work for us as co-drivers.
To put it into perspective, I would generally use about one page per kilometre if not a bit more for the more traditional rallies, but in Corsica I'm down to 0.75 kilometres per page!"
IN THE M-SPORT TEAM
Elsewhere in the M-Sport team, eric Camilli will be joined by Teemu Suninen and Pierre-Louis Loubet as all three take to the wheel of the Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta R5 in the WRC 2 category.
After challenging for victory at last month's Rally Mexico, Camilli will be looking for a similarly strong performance at the Tour de Corse but will face stiff competition from the likes of Andreas Mikkelsen and Jan Kopecky.
Contesting the Corsica fixture for the fourth time next week, it's an event the Frenchman knows well and remains special on a personal level with his father's family originating from the start town of Ajaccio.
Returning to the team following an impressive debut at last month's Rally Sweden, Suninen will be keen to further build on his asphalt skills at an event he has experienced on two previous occasions.
Joining the team for the first time, Loubet will be keen to impress on home soil. Piloting the Fiesta for the first time in his career, the Frenchman will also contest this weekend's Rallye National du Pays de Grasse to get familiar with his new charge.
Eric Camilli said:
?It's always a pleasure to return to the Tour de Corse and I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do. We had really good pace in Mexico and I'm hoping to carry that confidence with me next weekend.
It's a tricky event and the competition will be really strong with the likes of Andreas Mikkelsen back in the mix, but we aim to deliver our best and enjoy. We'll have a test on Sunday to get used to driving on asphalt again, and I think we have the potential to deliver another strong result.
I really enjoyed Rally Mexico and when everything was working well the times were really strong. If we can tap into that same enjoyment next weekend, anything is possible."
Teemu Suninen said:
"It's been a long time without a rally so I'm looking forward to getting back behind the wheel. It's been a long wait, and I'm really motivated ahead of next week's Tour de Corse.
The competition will be tough so my aim will be to work with the team to find more speed on Tarmac and produce a good performance.
As always, I want to improve on last year and we'll have a test on Sunday to get a good feeling with the car. We'll work to find the best set-up for the stages and hope to be as prepared as possible for the event."
Pierre-Louis Loubet said:
?The Tour de Corse is my home rally and I'm really looking forward to it and to exploring what we can do in this new environment with a new team and new car. For me, this is the most important rally of the year and I can't wait to see what we can do.
It's a really challenging event and you have to be completely focused from the very beginning. The corners never end and you cannot afford to lose concentration for even a second. Then, if the weather is bad, there's an additional challenge as the roads become really dirty and even more difficult.
We have a test on Sunday where I hope to get a good feeling with the car so that I can express my full potential on the rally. We want to be as efficient as possible and be in with a chance of challenging for a strong result."
IN THE SERVICE PARK
Elsewhere in the service park, Bryan Bouffier will be back behind the wheel of his privately entered Ford Fiesta R5 in the WRC 2 category. The Frenchman secured a podium place at his previous outing at Rallye Monte-Carlo and will be hoping for a similarly strong result next week.
The Tour de Corse also marks the first round of the Junior WRC with 10 competitors going head-to-head, in identical one-litre Ecoboost Ford Fiesta R2s, for what is considered the biggest prize in rallying. The series is run by M-Sport's Krakow-based operation and the crews will contest the full event with an additional point awarded for each stage victory.
Posted: March 16, 2017 9:35 AM
Rally Guide / Event Wesbite
Posted: January 26, 2017 7:41 AM