Tour de Corse 2017 Review. Thierry claims Victory!

This year’s Tour de Corse is a tale of two halves. The Citroen team had done some serious hard work before, to try and get a handle on the car’s behaviour on asphalt after the disappointment in Monte Carlo.

Shakedown suggested that there would be little in it.

1 Ogier 3:50.7

2 Paddon 3:51.3

3 Meeke 3:51.6

4 Latvala 3:51.8

5 Neuville 3:51.8

6 Tanak 3:52.0

7 Sordo 3:52.2

8 Breen 3:52.7

9 Lefebvre 3:54.0

10 Evans 3:55.0

All of the teams have experienced reliability problems this year and this is what would happen here too.

So, the first day’s action would be played over these stages, without a midday service. Should anything happen, then the crews would have to solve it as best as they could.

9.22am: SS1 – Pietrosella – Albitreccia 1 (31.20km)

11.14am: SS2 – Plage du Liamone – Sarrola-Carpocino 1 (29.12km)

12.24pm: Regroup (Porticcio)

1.39pm: Tyre fitting zone (Porticcio)

2.11pm: SS3 – Pietrosella – Albitreccia 2 (31.20km)

4.03pm: SS4 – Plage du Liamone – Sarrola-Carpocino 2 (29.12km)

7.15pm: Neutralisation (Place Saint-Nicolas – Bastia)

8.30pm: Flexi Service A (Bastia airport – 45 mins)

At the end of that first stage, Kris and Paul in their C4 would be the only crew to dip below 20 minutes! It was a bit damp under the trees and when Seb got to the end, he explained that he didn’t like the feel of the bumps in the Fiesta in the middle of the stage. Both Jari-Matti and Ott talked about the damp patches in the stage, making it very tricky to be fully confident, so holding back a bit. Thierry talked about the bumps as well and suffering a bit with understeer, so not able to push as hard as he wanted. Kris was very happy though.

1. Meeke – 19:56,5 (93,9kph)

2. Ogier +0:05,7

3. Neuville +0:11,0

It set a marker that the C4 was very capable on this surface now.

Stage two and Kris won this as well, with Seb remaining his closest challenger, just a few seconds slower at the end of the 29,12km stage. Seb adjusted his suspension a little, and combined with the smoother stage, was a little closer to Kris. Thierry also would struggle to be quicker, just lacking his rhythm and in the tree covered roads, seeing where the grip was.

1. Meeke – 18:22,3 (95,1kph)

2. Ogier +0:03,2

3. Neuville +0:06,2

Onto stage three then and this would be where we would we would see the first name fall. Ott would go off a couple of km’s into the stage. They were fine, but the car wasn’t coming out easily. Hayden and John in their i20 would start to have a problem with the rear of the car stepping out, and this would see the car slide out on a right hander and hit a rock face, leading to a little damage to the rear left, but at least it was cosmetic, rather than anything serious. Kris’ lead was now eight seconds over Seb.

1. Ogier – 19:52,1 (94,2kph)

2. Meeke +0:00,8

3. Neuville +0:06,2

Last stage of the day then and Kris would take this as well, thus making his lead a pretty good 10.3 seconds.

1. Meeke – 18:20,4 (95,3kph)

2. Ogier +0:02,2

3. Neuville +0:03,2

Let’s hear then from the top three at the end of the first day.

1st

Kris Meeke said:

“I really enjoyed driving the Citroën C3 WRC on these roads. The rally is far from over, but today’s good result is just rewards for the hard work done by the team, especially during pre-event testing. We managed our day well, particularly in the afternoon when we had to cope with more dirt and gravel pulled onto the racing line and higher tyre wear. I feel good but I have to be wary because I only have a very narrow lead.”

2nd

Sébastien Ogier said:

“We tried as much as we could today. I have to say that I’m pretty happy with my drive, but we also know that we’re still missing a little performance.

“We tried a few things stage after stage and the feeling did get better as the day went on. It’s still not perfect, but we have some ideas for tomorrow that will hopefully help us gain some more speed. It’s all about the set-up and we have to try to improve the feeling in the car so that we can get the most out of it.

“Tomorrow we will continue to push and try our best. It’s only 10 seconds, and there are still plenty of kilometres to come. Of course, it would have been better to have had a 10 second advantage ourselves, but at the moment we are behind and we need to keep the pressure on and continue to push.”

3rd

Thierry Neuville commented: “Everyone seems to be on strong pace here this weekend, which will make it a nice fight. The first stage this morning went OK from my point of view. We had a few things to improve on the car, with understeer in some corners affecting the confidence a bit. Although we had no lunchtime service, we made some adjustments on the ride height to improve the grip at the front axle, which we hoped would give us better steering and turn-in performance. We tried to push in the afternoon loop but the gap to the front was still too big. We were certainly on the limit, so we’ll have to see what improvements we can make overnight to help us reduce the gap to Meeke and Ogier, who have both been quick today.”

The rest of the drivers.

Citroen Abu Dhabi WRT

Craig Breen 4th

“It’s been a good day, especially as we’re not a million miles away from the podium. On the advice of the engineers, I’ve changed my tarmac driving style completely to try and be less aggressive on the brakes. It seems to be working but I feel that there’s definitely room for improvement. I was also trying to adjust the settings of the diff maps on the stages and I think it seems to be better. Everything is going well, the C3 WRC is really nice to drive in conditions like these.”

Stephane Lefebvre 8th

“The main thing is that we have had a clean, consistent day, in line with the target we had set ourselves. Obviously, I’m suffering from my lack of knowledge on this rally. It was only on the first seven kilometres of Pietrosella, which are new for everyone, where I was able to compete with the leading guys. It’s not easy to get the right level of aggression. If you push too hard, you get more understeer and that’s not what we’re looking for either!”

Hyundai Motorsport

Dani Sordo 5th said:

“It’s been a relatively trouble-free day for us, but we are missing some speed and performance compared to our rivals. It’s difficult to put our finger on what is exactly missing because the car feels quick and I have felt very comfortable with my driving. We tried a few things today, also adapting my driving style, to try and extract some more pace, but there wasn’t any big change. We have to discuss things with the team this evening; I am sure there are more things we can try.”

Hayden Paddon 7th said: “The first stage this morning was not the ideal way to start the rally. It was tricky with some damp patches that did nothing whatsoever for the confidence. The second stage went better but the times were still not there. We couldn’t do much over lunch with just a tyre fitting zone so we persevered for the afternoon loop. In SS3, we had a good first half but we then lost the rear towards the end, which created a few moments. Once you lose the rear, you are a passenger really. The final stage felt fine but we know we can do a better job. The gap is bigger than I would like but we have this evening to work out how we can turn things around for the rest of the event.”

2017 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 04, Tour de Corse – Rallye de France
06-09 April 2017
Hayden Paddon, John Kennard, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Photographer: Sarah Vessely
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Jari-Matti Latvala 6th said:

“Today has been OK, but really I’m not too happy with my driving. I think I’m being a bit too cautious, especially in the places where it is damp or slippery. But I’m not so worried about it as I know that these conditions don’t really suit me. Where I think, I am losing time is under braking and acceleration; it’s also a question of getting used to the active central differential with the extra power this year. We’ve had a great start to the season and so the expectation is high but it’s also important to remember that we have a lot of testing and learning to do, so this is a realistic position that we are in at the moment. The car has plenty of potential, so of course we hope to improve tomorrow.”

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2017 -WRC Tour de Corse (FRA) – WRC 06/04/2017 to 09/04/2017 – PHOTO : @World

Juho Hänninen (retired)

“It was disappointing for me obviously: there was a slight surface change before a bridge close to the end of the first stage and I just lost the car under braking, which meant that we arrived at the corner much too quickly and went wide. The right-rear of the car hit the bridge parapet, and that caused a fire soon afterwards from the damper oil. We were able to put the fire out and continue to the end of the stage, but the problem was that we had also damaged the front and rear tyres, and like everyone else we had just one spare wheel. So, we had to stop to save the car. It’s not been a good day for us, but at least we have the chance to come back tomorrow.”

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2017 -WRC Tour de Corse (FRA) – WRC 06/04/2017 to 09/04/2017 – PHOTO : @World

M-Sport WRT

Ott Tänak (Rally 2 / 23rd) said:

“There was a long corner and a bit more gravel than we were expecting. We understeered wide and the road was quite narrow. We were on the edge for some time and in the end we just missed that little bit of luck to keep us on the stage.

“There was very little damage to the car but we got stuck on a steep bank and it was quite difficult for the tow truck to get us out so we had no chance on our own!

“It’s a big shame because the car felt really nice. I’ve always struggled with this rally but this year I had been really enjoying it. We had a good test in the lead-up and we worked really hard with the notes to get everything perfect.

“I can say that it’s a bit of an empty feeling right now. The times this morning were good and close to the ‘Tarmac experts’ so of course it’s disappointing. But that’s life, and sometimes it’s tough. Now, we just need to have a good sleep and get back out there tomorrow.”

D-Mack WRT

Elfyn Evans (18th) said:

“We had a problem with the hydraulics early on in the second stage so it’s been a long day trying to manage the issue. Obviously, it’s been a bit frustrating as this is one of the strongest events on the calendar for us. It’s disappointing, but we have plenty to learn and plenty of purpose to keep fighting for the rest of the rally.”

End of day one:

1 Meeke/Nagle 1h16m32.1s

2 Ogier/Ingrassia +10.3s

3 Neuville/Gilsoul +25.8s

4 Breen/Martin +52.4s

5 Sordo/Marti +53.8s

6 Latvala/Anttila +1m00.2s

7 Paddon/Kennard +1m18.8s

8 Lefebvre/Moreau +2m07.6s

9 Mikkelsen/Jaeger +2m57.3s

10 Sarrazin/Renucci +16m09.4s

Saturday dawned dry and warm, with four stages again in front of the crews.

8:40am SS5 La Porta-Valle Di Rostino 1 (48,71 KM)

10:17am SS6 Novella 1 (17,27 KM)

1:03pm Service C

2:28pm SS7 La Porta-Valle Di Rostino 2 (48,71 KM)

4:08pm SS8 Novella 2 (17,27 KM)

So, stage five and Thierry pushed hard and he mentioned that the conditions were very tricky, with a lot of dust on the road. Seb said that the road was very bumpy and that he didn’t feel comfortable to push hard. Could Kris take advantage and increase his lead? Well, he didn’t win the stage, but he was quicker by almost 9 seconds. He said at the end, very very dirty compared to last year. He was happy though.

SS5 – La Porta – Valle di Rostino 1 (48,71km)

1. Neuville – 32:19,6 (90,4kph)

2. MEEKE +0:08,8

3. Ogier +0:14,9

Stage six would see the demise of Elfyn Evans. He would go off the road on a left-hander and there was no way back on under their own steam. Craig Breen was in a battle with Dani Sordo, but it would go a bit pear-shaped for the C4 crew. They’d lost their intercom and Craig had had to drive blind with hand signals from Scott. He was furious! Thierry would drive a great stage and move ahead of Seb after going through almost nine seconds quicker than the Fiesta pilot! He said the stage was good and that he’d had to back out a little in some places after the sump guard bottomed out on the road! Seb was very unhappy though. He couldn’t explain why he was so slow. Unfortunately, it was the end for Kris and Paul…. Engine let go, one km from the end of the stage. He said the car was incredible, but they were out.

SS6 – Novella 1 (17,27km)

1. Neuville – 11:13,1 (92,4kph)

2. Sordo +0:02,2

3. Hanninen +0:03,3

Stage seven would see Seb finally win a stage on Saturday! However, it took a spin for Thierry in a hairpin where he just lost the rear. Seb had a much better handling car, as well after making some changes in service.

SS7 La Porta- Valle di Rostino 2 (90,6kph)

1. Ogier 32:15.9

2. Latvala +0:05.0

3. Neuville +0:06.0

One more stage then on this afternoon of drama. Stage eight… Well, it would be Seb that would hit trouble! The paddle shift for the gear change would completely fail. He’d have to use the gear shift. How much time would he lose? Well, the answer was loads! He was only eighth quickest and 36.7 seconds slower than Thierry. Dani had driven well too and steered his car into a solid third place.

SS8 Novella 2 (17,27km)

1. Neuville 11:17.7 (91,7kph)

2. Sordo 0:03.2

3. Latvala 0:03.6

Well, we had a new leader and Thierry found himself benefitting from his rivals’ misfortunes. Let’s hear from the top three then.

Thierry Neuville 1st commented:

“A fantastic day for us, and a real turnaround from Friday’s stages. The team worked really hard to improve the set-up of the car for today’s loops, and the handling was much better. I felt more confident to push and could carry more speed through the corners. To score two stage wins on the first loop was very pleasing and we finished strongly with another fastest time this afternoon. Aside from a small spin in SS7, we’ve had nearly the perfect day. We won’t take anything for granted even with a 39-second advantage over Ogier. We have one very long stage to start Sunday, so this rally is far from over! To be leading at the end of the penultimate day, though, is an important step closer to our target.”

Sébastien Ogier (2nd) said:

“It was quite a disappointing day – especially as the fight with Thierry was shaping up to be a really enjoyable battle. A situation with a technical issue is never one that you want to be in, but this is motorsport and it happens.

“This morning we didn’t have a lot of confidence and Thierry was able to get ahead of us. This afternoon we had no option but to try and react, and it was good to see that we were able to do that. We got the lead down to just two seconds, but unfortunately that’s where the fight ended for us.

“I’m happy that we at least saved our second place which means good points for the championship – and that’s the only target remaining for us now. If we manage to finish like this and collect some points in the Power Stage it will be a very good weekend for us.

“It would mean increasing our lead in the championship and every weekend that we’re able to do that is a good weekend. I will be happy with that even if tonight I am a little disappointed. I would have preferred to fight until the very last stage as that would have been exciting for us and for the fans as well.”

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2017 -WRC Tour de Corse (FRA) – WRC 06/04/2017 to 09/04/2017 – PHOTO : @World

Dani Sordo 3rd said:

“We started this morning feeling more confident and we were setting better stage times. The team worked hard last night on the differentials, suspension and general set-up of the car. I was much happier and we could immediately notice the improvement. The afternoon wasn’t as good. I pushed as hard as I could but the times were not as fast as this morning. Still, we are in third place and involved in a close fight, so we have to work hard in the final two stages tomorrow to defend our position – and hopefully score my first podium of the season.”

The rest of the drivers

Jari-Matti Latvala 4th said:

“The car was actually transformed after some of the changes that we made at midday service. In the two stages this afternoon I really enjoyed driving it: I was able to push and it was a big pleasure. Obviously, there was a lot of mud and dirt on the road during the second run, so we had to be careful, but we still made a very big improvement compared to the morning. On the first two stages today I didn’t have a good feeling under braking in particular, but we improved this as well during service. Now I think we’re in a strong position for tomorrow, so we’re aiming for a solid finish.”

Craig Breen 5th said:

“The Tour de Corse is undoubtedly the worst place in the world to lose the intercom! We nonetheless managed not to lose too much time on SS6. This afternoon, there was a bit more pressure on my shoulders after Kris and Stéphane’s retirements. I kept out of trouble and I’m still within striking distance of Jari-Matti Latvala. We’ll see tomorrow if we are able to go after fourth place.”

Hayden Paddon 6th said: “We have made steady progress today, trying to close on the top-five. To be honest, we’re in a bit of a no man’s land on the classification, a bit too far away to pose any threat to Breen. After yesterday, we wanted to try a few things to improve our feeling in the car, and the morning loop allowed us to do that. There was a bit more gravel pulled out on the stages in the afternoon loop but the route note crew did a great job to report that back to us. I have enjoyed driving these stages today and we are closer to the front than we were here six months ago, so it’s not all bad. Our focus is now on bringing the car home. Anything could happen yet.”

Ott Tänak (16th) said:

“Overall, it’s not been such a bad day. Yesterday we were pushing quite hard, but today the main priority was to get through the stages and secure some valuable points for the manufacturers’ championship.

“During the second loop the stages were quite dirty and really challenging so we didn’t take any big risks. We might not have been flat-out, but we had a good rhythm and a good feeling with the car. We continued to learn and improved the balance for tomorrow so hopefully we can continue that through the final stages.”

Finally, those that didn’t make it to the end of the second day.

Kris Meeke (DNF) said:

“Obviously, this is not the outcome I was hoping for, but it’s part and parcel of the sport. In order for a car to go as fast as possible, there are tens of people who work on thousands of parts… and sometimes, it doesn’t work quite as it should. In any event, this weekend has given me a huge confidence boost for the future. It was really special to lead this rally, which I think is the most difficult tarmac event. We know that our C3 WRC can win on all surfaces and that’s what we’ll try to do in Argentina, and then in Portugal and everywhere else.”

Stéphane Lefebvre (Rally2) said:

“We didn’t hit the wall that hard, but hard enough to break part of the suspension. We tried to repair it so we could keep driving in the afternoon and pick up more experience. Unfortunately, we arrived at the time control after the maximum thirty-minute limit and were therefore excluded. We’ll be back under Rally2 rules tomorrow. I’ll try to restart at a good pace in order to leave Corsica on a positive note.”

Elfyn Evans (Rally 2 / 26th) said:

“This hasn’t been the Tour de Corse as we have known it in previous years. Luck has definitely not been on our side this time and it was really disappointing to end today’s action so early. It was just a very small and unfortunate mistake. Hopefully we can get the car back out on the stages tomorrow and get some more mileage under our belts.”

Top ten at the end of day two.

1 T. Neuville N. Gilsoul 2:44:10.2

2 S. Ogier J. Ingrassia +38.9

3 D. Sordo M. Martí +57.7

4 J. M. Latvala M. Anttila +1:09.4

5 C. Breen S. Martin +1:12.2

6 H. Paddon J. Kennard +1:43.8

7 A. Mikkelsen A. Jaeger +6:21.7

8 T. Suninen M. Markkula +7:29.6

9 S. Sarrazin J. J. Renucci +7:46.8

10 Y. Rossel B. Fulcrand +9:56.5

Sunday morning then and two stages to decide this year’s winner!

7.15am: Service E (Bastia airport – 15 mins)

8.58am: SS9 – Antisanti – Poggio di Nazza (53.78km)

12.18pm: SS10 – Porto-Vecchio – Palombaggia (10.42km)

1.30pm: Podium (Porto-Vecchio Marina)

17:30: Parc Ferme (Bastia)

First up was the longest stage of the whole weekend. A great decision by the organisers to have it first thing on the last day. All the crews choose to go with hard tyres. The stage was identical to last year, so it would be interesting to compare the times.

There was a good battle between Craig and Jari-Matti for fourth overall and by the end of the stage, Jari-Matti was five seconds slower than the young Irishman. Seb ran wide on a left-handed hairpin, losing more time. He was pretty unhappy and didn’t say what was causing all the problems for him.

Thierry and Nicolas was twenty seconds quicker than the champion and Dani had moved into second overall, just a couple of seconds ahead of Ogier.

SS9 – Antisanti – Poggio di Nazza (53.78km)

1. Neuville 32:34,6 (99,1kph)

2. Sordo +0:00,1

3. Breen +0:01,8

Just one stage left then…. Could Jari-Matti get back in front of Craig and could Seb get back into second? Ah, the power stage and Hayden was first in. It wasn’t to be though. He slid into a driveway, under braking for a left hander. No damage to the car, and he finished the stage trailing spectator tape, just like Kris in Mexico.

Jari-Matti, winner two years ago and he was fully committed! He’d lowered the car to make it quicker. It worked! Craig and Scott would be only 1 tenth slower at the end meaning that Jari-Matti had just got ahead into fourth! He also had won the power stage.

12.18pm: SS10 – Porto-Vecchio – Palombaggia (10.42km)

1. Latvala 6:02,2 (103,kph)

2. Ogier +0:00,8

3. Breen +0:02,1

At last Thierry had taken his first victory of this new season. The Hyundai team had started slowly on Friday, but had closed the gap to the front through Saturday, into a position to capitalise on Kris’ misfortune with his engine crying enough.

1. Neuville / Gilsoul 3:22:53.4

2. Ogier / Ingrassia +54.7

3. Sordo / Marti +56.0

4. Latvala / Anttila +1:09.6

5. Breen / Martin +1:09.7

6. Paddon / Kennard +2:16.3

7. Mikkelsen / Jaeger +8:10.7

8. Suninen / Markkula +9:17.0

9. Sarrazin / Renucci +9:23.6

10. Rossel / Fulcrand +12:57.1

Let’s hear from the top three then.

Thierry Neuville 1st commented:

“It’s an amazing feeling to take the win here in Corsica this weekend. I am sure there are many people who share in this celebration with us, not least the whole of the Hyundai Motorsport team. They have been so supportive of me since Monte Carlo and Sweden, and I’m really happy. This win is ours! It was a tough start to the rally with some struggles on Friday, but we worked through that methodically to return stronger. With Dani finishing third, we’ve picked up a healthy score of points which helps to get us back firmly into the title fight. An incredible weekend for us.”

2017 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 04, Tour de Corse – Rallye de France
06-09 April 2017
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Photographer: Sarah Vessely
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Sébastien Ogier (2nd) said:

“It has definitely been a roller coaster weekend for us! We’ve had lots of highs and lows, but I’m happy to say that we finished on a high with some really good points for the championship.

“We’re happy with the pace that we had and things are definitely moving in the right direction. We struggled with the set-up at times, but honestly the car is not too bad and I think we have some performance in the tank.

“We had the pace to challenge Thierry for the win – only two seconds behind him before the technical problems – but of course we have some work to do to ensure we don’t repeat this stressful weekend.”

Dani Sordo 3rd said:

“We knew it would be hard to hold onto second place after we inherited it from Sébastien in the first stage this morning. We pushed as hard as we could and I am still very happy we have finished on the podium this weekend. It has been a strange event and almost a lottery at times with our feeling in the car not matching the times set on the stages. Our target for today was to defend our third place, which we did, so from that point of view it is mission accomplished. This is a great result for the team, and we can now try to build on that in the next gravel rounds.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Jari-Matti Latvala 4th said:

“The power stage was completely maximum attack: I was totally focussed on my driving. I knew that if I wanted to have fourth place I needed to have a perfect run and I nearly achieved that: there were a couple of places where we arrived too fast and had some understeer, and also one jump where we arrived completely sideways. I could see people running away, so I’m sorry if I gave them a fright, but in any case, it was all under control, even though it looked spectacular! We’ve taken 17 points with fourth place and the Power Stage win, so this is a really fantastic result for our first rally on asphalt.”

Juho Hänninen (DNF) said:

“About five kilometres from the end of the first stage this morning I just missed a right-hand corner. I think it was maybe a problem with my pace notes, which perhaps were not clear, but in any case, I went straight off the road and there was no chance to come back, so my rally finished there. It’s disappointing because we showed plenty of speed on this rally and came so close to the finish, but of course I am happy for the team as Jari-Matti achieved a very good result here.”

Citroen Abu Dhabi WRT

Craig Breen 5th said:

“This morning, the conditions were ideal once again, with beautiful weather and magnificent roads. Obviously, it’s very frustrating to lose a position by only a tenth of a second, but that’s also why we love rallying! I have no regrets, because I tried my best on the Power Stage. I have to be pleased with the weekend. We didn’t make a single mistake and we held our own when fighting with drivers with a lot more experience than us. That bodes well for the future.”

Stephane Lefebvre said:

“We completed today’s final two speed tests looking to increase our knowledge of the car and the Corsican stages. We really enjoyed it and that helped to increase our confidence. We won’t be racing in Argentina, so I can’t wait for Rally de Portugal to come around. Last year, I really enjoyed competing at this event.”

Hyundai Motorsport

Hayden Paddon 6th said: “Our focus on this final morning was simply on bringing the car home and scoring a few more points. It’s been a learning weekend for us, but we have to find the positives. Even if the end result doesn’t show it, we have been competing closer to the front this weekend and shown an improvement from last year’s Tour de Corse. There’s obviously still plenty to learn but we’re making progress. We must now look ahead to the next rally, the start of a run of five on gravel. We should have a good road position for Argentina so I’m looking to feature more prominently in the next events. Congratulations to Thierry and Nicolas – and everyone back at Alzenau – for the victory.”

M-Sport WRT

Ott Tänak (Rally 2 / 11th) said:

“It’s been a rally of highs and lows. This has always been one of my least favourite events so it was really good to see that we had good speed through the opening stages. We were on pace with the Tarmac specialists and, for the first time, I was really enjoying these twisty roads.

“That made it really hard when we slid off the road – it was an empty feeling to be honest – but we have to look to the positives. We’ve learnt a lot and my pace has been so much stronger than it had been in previous years.

“The result wasn’t what we wanted, but the pace was good and we’ll come back stronger – all focus now on a proper push at Rally Argentina!”

D-Mack WRT

Elfyn Evans (Rally 2 / 21st) said:

“This has always been one of my favourite events so it’s disappointing not to have been in a position to have challenged for a strong result. What with the problems on the opening day, and the mistake yesterday, it’s just not been our rally.

“But it’s not been a wasted weekend by all means. We’ve learnt a lot and collected a lot of information that we can use to be stronger at the next asphalt event. Now, all focus is on Argentina – and it’ll be all guns blazing there!”

So, what a great rally! Our fourth different winner this year and this year, a trend I hope will continue! The next event is in Argentina and we will see who will come out on top there.

2017 FIA World Rally Championship, Round 04, Rallye de France 06-09 April 2017, Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo, Nicolas Gilsoul, Marc Martí,
Photographer: RaceEmotion, Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

2017 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings

After round 4

1 S. Ogier 88

2 J.M Latvala 75

3 T. Neuville 54

4 O. Tanak 48

5 D. Sordo 47

6 C. Breen 33

7 K. Meeke 27

8 H. Paddon 25

9 E. Evans 20

10 A. Mikkelsen 12

11 S. Lefebvre 10

12 J. Hänninen 9

2017 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings

After round 4

1 M-Sport World Rally Team 129

2 Hyundai Motorsport 105

3 Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC 79

4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 71

 

Warren Nel, WRC editor

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