Sun 22:09 - REVIEW
Re-Lives, full Highlight Videos & onboards @ www.wrcplus.com
Sun 14:42 - Next stop: Spain
Our text service will return later this month from RallyRACC-Rally de Espana (23-26 October). In the meantime keep an eye on the news section for the latest WRC developments. Á bientôt!
Sun 14:25 - Stages complete
And that's the end of our live text service from Rallye de France - Alsace.
Sun 14:23 - WRC2 top 5: FINAL
1. Gilbert (Ford): 2:48:56.8, 2. Sousa (Ford): 8.1s, 3. Chardonnet (Citroen): 2:07.3, 4. Tidemand (Ford): 15:35.3, 5. Koltun (Ford): 29:27.3
Sun 13:19 - WRC top 5: Final
1. Latvala (VW): 2:38:19.1, 2. Mikkelsen (VW): 44.8s, 3. Meeke (Citroen): 1:05.3, 4. Sordo (Hyundai): 1:48.7, 5. Hirvonen (Ford): 2:00.7s
Sun 13:15 - Ogier after his Power Stage win:
"We've been waiting two days for this stage - we gave it everything. Jari-Matti did a great job. I'm sorry we did not get the chance to fight together. The championship still looks good [for me]. I missed my chance here but I will take the title in Spain."
Sun 13:11 - Dani Sordo:
"Of course I feel very sorry for Robert [Kubica]. I’m happy with this car and the people in the team have done a great job - they are working hard. The set-up wasn’t great on the first day but it has improved since then. Okay, we have work to do on the engine, and I have work to do myself.”
Sun 13:06 - Andreas Mikkelsen:
"It has been a great rally for us. A big improvement I think. On Saturday we knew it would not be possible to catch Latvala but we have done a good rally on this surface. For a Norwegian it’s not so bad!”
Sun 13:03 - Kris Meeke:
“I’m really happy with my weekend. I couldn’t have done much more. Today was all about protecting my position. If I really stuck my neck out I could get close to the Volkswagens, but the more important thing for me is consistency."
Sun 13:00 - Ogier wins the Power Stage
Ogier bags 3 bonus points for the stage win. Evans collects 2 for second quickest. Latvala takes 1 for third.
Sun 12:57 - Latvala's delight
“It feels really, really good! It was a nervous start after what happened in Germany, but I had to learn that lesson - without it wouldn’t have been able to do it here. We are still in the fight in the championship. It’s exciting for everybody, let's keep it exciting until the end!
Sun 12:53 - SS18: But Latvala wins!
The Finn takes his first win on tarmac and reignites his chances in the 2014 drivers' title fight!
Sun 12:52 - SS18: Leaders through
Sordo, Meeke and Mikkelsen are through cleanly
Sun 12:47 - SS18: Ostberg error
He ends the rally seventh, 1.7sec behind Evans, but counting himself lucky after a hairy moment on stage. "I missed a pace note and had a small spin." He's third quickest so far.
Sun 12:44 - SS18: Evans snatches sixth
Another great time edges the Welshman ahead of Ostberg - and he gains another place thanks to Kubica's exit. "We can be pretty happy. Okay, we had some mechanical problems, but in the grand scheme of things they're irrelevant. We've been very reliable and the performance was what we were after this year. Good for my confidence."
Sun 12:39 - SS18: Crew okay
Kubica and his co-driver Maciek Szczepaniak are out of the car - looking a bit sheepish but absolutely fine.
Sun 12:35 - SS18: Kubica crashes!
He has gone off early in the stage. The car is in a ditch and won't get back on the road.
Sun 12:34 - SS18: Neuville down on power
He completes 17.8sec slower than Ogier. "I'm lucky to be here. I had a loss of power on the stage - I don't know why. It’s a different problem to the one we had on the first day. It’s a shame for everybody but it's like this. We keep working."
Sun 12:27 - SS18: Bouffier in the points
Looks like tenth for the Hyundai test driver. "It's nice to get to the finish. With such a new car it's a good result. For sure I'd like to drive it again. Hopefully I'll get the chance."
Sun 12:24 - SS18: Prokop clears
And it looks like 11th place for the Czech. "An okay weekend, but this was never my favorite rally - and nothing has changed. I'm happy to have completed my 100th rally. I hope Spain will be better."
Sun 12:20 - SS18: Ogier hoping...
"We'll see if it's enough. That's the most important stage for us. We had three hard and one soft tyre on the car. Not the optimum but we tried to push with what we had."
Sun 12:15 - SS18: Ogier completes
It's a maximum push from Ogier who completes in 9m.20.8s. His time on today's earlier pass was 9m26.9s.
Sun 12:07 - SS18: Ogier underway!
What points, if any, can the Frenchman salvage this weekend?
Sun 11:58 - Watch SS18 Live
WRC+ users can stream the Power Stage action live from 1200hrs local
Sun 11:57 - SS18 start intervals
The first 12 cars will start the Power Stage at three minute intervals
Sun 11:47 - Power Stage start order
A few changes to the order used so far today. Here's how they'll line up: 1. Ogier, 2. Prokop, 3. Neuville, 4. Bouffier, 5. Evans, 6. Ostberg, 7. Hirvonen, 8. Kubica, 9. Sordo, 10. Meeke, 11. Mikkelsen, 12. Latvala
Sun 11:42 - Up next: The Power Stage
The rally's final, decisive, stage gets underway at 1205hrs
Sun 11:40 - WRC top 5 after SS17
1. Latvala (VW): 2:28:45.4, 2. Mikkelsen (VW): +36.5s, 3. Meeke (Citroen): +58.8s, 4. Kubica (Ford): +1:35.6, 5. Sordo (Hyundai): +1:46.6
Sun 11:24 - SS17: Latvala focused
He completes fourth fastest and sounds cool and calm. So Jari-Matti, will you try to grab some extra points at the Power Stage? "I'm not thinking about the points. We'll try to keep a good rhythm then see what happens. I'm not thinking about anything other than the driving."
Sun 11:21 - SS17: Meeke and Mikkelsen
Safely through - eighth and tenth fastest respectively
Sun 11:19 - SS17: Hirvonen vs Sordo
In the battle for fifth, Hirvonen is 1.8sec quicker than Sordo, but he remains 11.3sec behind in the overall standings. "In the car it felt good but the time is not good enough," says Hirvonen
Sun 11:15 - SS17: Lucky escape for Kubica!
"We had a huge moment in a high-speed corner. I hit gravel in sixth gear, lost the line and half the car was off the road. It was very big." His car looks unscathed, and he completes only 3.7sec off Ostberg's stage leading time.
Sun 11:08 - SS17: Ostberg responds
It's a great run from Mads, who is quickest so far and keeps Evans behind - the gap now 1.8sec. "A good run for us. I thought a lot about how I could adapt to the changed set-up of this car."
Sun 11:06 - SS17: Evans attacks
He slots second quickest, but will it be enough to take seventh from Ostberg? "Trying not to have any moments, and that was a nice stage - no problems for us." Ostberg in stage now...
Sun 11:02 - SS17: Neuville quickest so far
He beats Ogier by 3.3sec. "We are controlling things well."
Sun 10:56 - SS17: Odd feeling for Protasov
The Ukrainian thinks he has a rear puncture, but the tyre looks fine. "In that case I might have a suspension problem. I must go now and have a look."
Sun 10:54 - SS17: Ogier clears
His time is 6m12.1s. He sounds relaxed and eager to get to the Power Stage. "It's the stage we've been waiting two days for."
Sun 10:44 - Weather update
Still no rain to report. Skies overcast but bright. The zero car has completed SS17 and reports similar, if slightly drier, conditions to the earlier pass
Sun 09:21 - Next stage: SS17
The repeat of Forêt de la Petite Pierre gets underway at 1044hrs. We'll resume our live text service then.
Sun 09:19 - WRC2 top 5 after SS16
1. Gilbert (Ford): 2:32:18.6, 2. Sousa (Ford): +5.2s, 3. Chardonnet (Citroen): +1:59.6, 4. Tidemand (Ford): +15:11.3, 5. Heloise (Subaru): +27:50.9
Sun 09:17 - Up next: Regroup
Crews now heading to Saverne Parc du Chateau for a 55 minute regroup. There's a refuel after that, and then the repeat of the day's two stages
Sun 09:14 - WRC top 5 after SS16
1. Latvala (VW): 2:22:36.0, 2. Mikkelsen (VW): +29.2s, 3. Meeke (Citroen): +55.0s, 4. Kubica (Ford): +1:34.1, 5. Sordo (Hyundai): +1:42.5s
Sun 09:09 - SS16: Latvala completes
He's sixth fastest, but rounds off the morning loop with a healthy rally lead of 29.2sec. That *should* be enough to secure the rally win, but will he have a pop at the Power Stage bonus too? "Let's see what the weather does. At the moment I'm not even thinking about it. First we focus on the regroup and then the next stage."
Sun 09:04 - SS16: Meeke and Mikkelsen
Two trouble-free stages from the drivers in second and third. Both are judging their pace according to the split times. No danger of any last minute attacks here.
Sun 09:02 - SS16: Kubica consolidates fourth
He extends the gap to Sordo with a stage time that is 9.7sec slower than Ogier's quickest time. However the Pole is left ruing his soft tyre choice. "Here we had completely the wrong tyres. We were expecting 8 or 10 kms of damp - instead we got 1.5km."
Sun 08:55 - SS16: Ditch escape for Hirvonen
He drops a wheel into a ditch mid-stage, but gets away with it to complete 12.8sec off Ogier's time. What caused the problem? "Fog. That and the choice of 2 hard and 2 soft tyres. I'm not sure our information was correct. There was only one section with damp. The hard tyres would have been better."
Sun 08:49 - SS16: Ostberg in the danger zone
He remains seventh, but an average time means Evans is now just two tenths behind. "I cannot do anything else. That's just how it is. It's a struggle today, my spare diff is not the same [as the one I had earlier]. It's a different car today. I don't want to push more and risk a mistake."
Sun 08:44 - SS16: Evans pushes on
Second fastest so far - and he has Mads Ostberg's seventh place in his sights. "I’m feeling comfortable at the this pace - let’s carry on"
Sun 08:42 - SS16: Neuville cautious
“The fog was okay but at the beginning it was very slippery and I didn’t want push at all in here. I think we did the right thing.”
Sun 08:31 - SS16: Tyre concerns for Ogier
Essentially a high speed recce for the Frenchman who completes in 9m26.9s. "For sure a bit more rhythm than earlier, to prepare the notes for the Power Stage." But Ogier has concerns about his 3 hard and 3 soft compound tyres. "If it stays dry I don't have the right choices."
Sun 08:24 - SS16 road conditions
Zero car driver reports a 90 per cent dry road. There is some light fog / low cloud in the mid section.
Sun 08:20 - SS16 Stage notes
The 19.36km Forêt de Saverne is another new stage, mostly on bumpy but fast forest roads. There is a short 2.5km section where the stage emerges from the trees and the final 4km are fast and downhill on wide asphalt.
Sun 08:19 - Up next: SS16
The stage will go live at 0818hrs - it will be repeated later as the rally closing Power Stage
Sun 08:18 - WRC top 5 after SS15
1. Latvala (VW): 2:12:56.3, 2. Mikkelsen (VW): +26.0s, 3. Meeke (Citroen): +54.6s, 4. Kubica (Ford): +1:37.2, 5. Sordo (Hyundai): +1:41.8s
Sun 08:14 - SS15: Cautious start for Latvala
Our rally leader is fifth fastest but ticks off one of the four stages standing between him and a maiden WRC rally win on asphalt. “It’s okay. We’ve got the morning started. I wanted to be very careful in the cuts, I don’t want to take risks.”
Sun 08:11 - SS15: Mikkelsen in control
He's third quickest. "I'm just controlling my speed on the splits to Kris. I enjoyed that stage."
Sun 08:08 - SS15: Meeke backs off
“We took the wrong tyres here and I ended up backing off to protect them for later. Looks like it will be a bit of a lottery.” He remains well cushioned in third.
Sun 08:05 - SS15: Sordo slips to fifth
The Spaniard now 4.6sec behind Kubica but full of admiration. "That was a good time for him - very fast. It took me by surprise. The grip was tricky but he had the same so I can't complain. My feeling in the car was good but he was faster."
Sun 08:03 - SS15: Kubica up to fourth
He completes in 6m10.5s - which is enough to move him ahead of Sordo. Kubica is typically modest. “That was okay I think. We’ll see what happens now because the weather can play a big role and everybody is on different tyres. We are tying our best.”
Sun 07:58 - SS15: Hirvonen concerned
He's one of the drivers gunning for fourth, but to do that he'll need to beat Kubica - and looking at the splits he hasn't done that here. "I'm on the hard tyres and Kubica's on the soft tyres. Bloody hell he's fast."
Sun 07:54 - SS15: Evans fastest so far
He completes in 6m12.6s. "Not bad, but it could have been better. Our tyre choice was a mix, gave the car a bit of a funny balance."
Sun 07:52 - SS15: Neuville sounding positive
He's quickest so far, in 6m15.6s, and has hard compound tyres all round. He also has a light pod fitted. “The road was fully dry and I enjoyed it but my pace notes are a bit slow so I have to compensate. The tyres gave me a lot of grip but the car’s balance could have been better."
Sun 07:49 - SS15: Prokop in the dark
"The road is sometimes very slippery under braking, and I'm glad I was on the soft compound tyres. The biggest problem was the darkness in the forest. I had my full beams on and it was still hard to see."
Sun 07:42 - SS15: Ogier completes
His time is 6m21.6s and tyres and weather are on his mind. He'll need to keep the right rubber for the Power Stage if he's to salvage any points here - but what conditions will be like later is anyone's guess. "We are not sure when the rain is coming, maybe the last stage but nobody is sure."
Sun 07:37 - Morning tyre choices
Plenty of variation in the tyre strategies this morning. Here's what the crews left service with - and the compound choices: Sordo, Evans, Ostberg, Meeke: 3 soft
Sun 07:31 - SS15 expert view
The zero car has just completed the stage. The driver's verdict? "Completely dry. Some parts a bit tricky but conditions are the same as they were on the recce.
Sun 07:28 - SS15 Stage notes
The 12.33km Forêt de la Petite Pierre is brand new and stays in forest throughout. The road is initially narrow, bumpy and pot-holed, but fast and flowing. After passing through a village it turns onto the main road and the final 3km are fast and wide.
Sun 07:25 - Sunday’s start order
is based on Saturday's standings reversed, which puts Ogier through first. Here’s the full World Rally Car start order: 1. Ogier, 2. Protasov, 3. Kuipers, 4. Maurin, 5. Prokop, 6. Neuville, 7. Bouffier, 8. Evans, 9. Ostberg, 10. Hirvonen, 11. Kubica, 12. Sordo, 13. Meeke, 14. Mikkelsen, 15. Latvala
Sun 07:21 - Weather update
No sign of the forecast rain in Strasbourg yet, but there are a few clouds around. Current temperature of 12˚C is forecast to hit 20˚C by mid afternoon
Sun 07:18 - An early start
Cars left service from 0605hrs - and are en route to the start of SS15, Forêt de Saverne, which kicks off at 0730hrs local time
Sun 07:18 - Sunday’s stages
are based on roads around Saverne in the Bas-Rhin region. The schedule features two loops of two stages with Forêt de la Petite Pierre (12.33km 0745hrs & 1044hrs), run at sunrise on the first pass, and then Forêt de Saverne (19.36km 0818hrs & 1205hrs), which will serve as the Power Stage. We will know our winner by 1300hrs.
Sun 07:18 - Sunday’s itinerary:
It’s a short, sharp affair, that takes crews north of the rally base in Strasbourg to a loop of two stages that will be repeated
Sun 07:17 - Coming up today
is the third and final day of this all-asphalt event
Sun 07:17 - Bienvenue
Hello from Strasbourg - and welcome back to our live text coverage from Rallye de France - Alsace, round eleven of the FIA World Rally Championship
Sat 19:22 - Saturday's stages complete
We'll resume our live text service at 0715hrs on Sunday - the third and final day of Rallye de France - Alsace. In the meantime, keep an eye on the news section for the latest from Strasbourg. Au revoir!
Sat 19:18 - WRC2 top 5 day two (SS14)
1. Gilbert (Ford): 2:15:23.5, 2. Sousa (Ford): +5.7s, 3. Chardonnet (Citroen): +2m02.9s, 4. Tidemand (Ford): +15:02.0
Sat 19:17 - WRC top 5 after day two (SS14)
1. Latvala (VW): 2:06:40.4, 2. Mikkelsen (VW): +28.0s, 3. Meeke (Citroen): +53.7s, 4. Sordo (Hyundai): +1:41.7, 5. Kubica (Ford): +1:42.6s
Sat 19:00 - Latvala poised for Polo century
The stage win on SS14 was his 99th in the Polo R World Rally Car
Sat 18:51 - SS14: Latvala leads after day two
He's quickest on stage and will take a 28sec advantage over Mikkelsen into Sunday's final leg. "It's going really well. I always enjoy Mulhouse. I have a nice feeling with the car. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. If I could choose the weather I'd prefer it to be dry."
Sat 18:48 - SS14: Mikkelsen consolidates second
A great day for the Norwegian, who will start Sunday's competition with a 25.7sec cushion to Meeke behind. "For sure Jari-Matti will tough to catch, it's more important to protect my position."
Sat 18:43 - SS14: Relief for Meeke
He's 1.8sec off Ogier's time, despite a super cautious approach. "We had a puncture at the end of the last stage and I had no spare wheel, so I couldn't take any chances here. If I got a puncture I might not make it back to service. It's a good time anyway - maybe the answer is to keep it neat and tidy all the time."
Sat 18:40 - SS14: Sordo up for the fight
He sounds optimistic about his chances of defending fourth from Kubica and Hirvonen. "Tomorrow's stages are new for all of us. I expect there will be a good fight, I will do a good battle."
Sat 18:37 - SS14: Tough final stage for Kubica
With limited strength in his injured arm, tight and twisty Super Specials are not Kubica's forte - and this one is no exception. "This year I hate this kind of stages - I lose so much here, but I know why. That's just how it is." He's 3.3sec slower than Ogier.
Sat 18:32 - SS14: Mads overcomes diff issue
His rear diff is still leaking oil, but Ostberg is only 3.1sec off Ogier's time on the stage. "The car is not driving the way it should be, but I'm happy with my driving in there. It was a good job." He'll start Sunday in seventh, with Elfyn Evans just 12.2sec behind.
Sat 18:28 - SS14: Hirvonen up for the fight
He'll start Sunday within striking distance of Sordo's fourth place. He seems well motivated to fight Kubica for it. "The fight is on. We all really want that fourth place."
Sat 18:25 - SS14: Evans feeling postive
Looks like eighth place tonight for the Welshman who has recovered well after his penalty on Friday "It's been a good day, the morning especially. The times this afternoon haven't been as good as we would like, but generally good."
Sat 18:17 - SS14: Bouffier safely through
A clean run, but he's 4.5sec slower than his Hyundai team-mate Neuville. "Nice to see so many people here, thanks to the city for hosting us."
Sat 18:14 - SS14: Neuville neat and tidy
He completes 1.9sec slower than Ogier. It looks like he'll be 10th overnight. "Tomorrow could be interesting if the weather changes as we expect and we get some rain."
Sat 18:10 - SS14: Prokop completes
He's 8.6sec slower than Ogier. "We enjoyed today, but we've ended with some strange noises coming from the car. I hope we can get back to service okay."
Sat 18:06 - SS14: Ogier through
He sets a benchmark time of 3m23.7s. "It was a good day for us. This morning we tried to get the sensation back after a difficult day yesterday. We went well this afternoon so we're happy with that. Now the only hope for us is the Power Stage."
Sat 18:02 - SS14: Mulhouse underway!
Sebastien Ogier is in stage.
Sat 15:58 - Up next: Mulhouse Super Special
Saturday's final stage is a 4.86km sprint through the streets of Mulhouse. Crews will recce the route in their rally cars beforehand. The stage is due to start at 1800hrs.
Sat 15:41 - WRC2 top 5 after SS13
1. Gilbert (Ford): 2:11:46.2, 2. Sousa (Ford): +9.5s, 3. Chardonnet (Citroen): +2m04.5s, 4. Tidemand (Ford): +14:54.6
Sat 15:35 - WRC top 5 after SS13
1. Latvala (VW): 2:03:17.6, 2. Mikkelsen (VW): +25.6s, 3. Meeke (Citroen): +51.0s, 4. Sordo (Hyundai): +1:38.1, 5. Kubica (Ford): +1:38.4s
Sat 15:27 - Ogier's triple century
Sebastien's winning run on SS13 is his 300th stage victory in the WRC
Sat 15:24 - SS13: Leaders clear
Latvala and Mikkelsen are safely through, third and fourth fastest respectively. Both are focused on preserving their positions. Latvala said: "In my position there is no point to take many risks. The main thing now is to control the situation."
Sat 15:20 - Ostberg penalty impact
He checked in seven minutes late, which will give him a 1m10sec penalty and drop him behind Hirvonen to seventh
Sat 15:15 - SS13: Oil leak for Ostberg
"We have a leak from the rear diff. We noticed it on the stages after service and it affected the rear end stability. We had to take a penalty to re-fill it, but it was worth it, because we might not have made it through at all."
Sat 15:08 - SS13: Sordo in the danger zone
He clings on to fourth, but Kubica is now just 0.3sec behind. "I'm enjoying the fight, and picked up my speed in the second half. I tried to do my best."
Sat 15:05 - SS13: Hirvonen puncture?
Perhaps. "I think we have a slow puncture in the right rear. I noticed it near the end so it didn't affect us too much." He is 2.7sec slower than Kubica.
Sat 15:03 - SS13: Kubica impresses again
He's closest to Ogier so far. Will it be enough to snatch fourth from Sordo? "No big dramas, good driving, clean and fast I think. No risks here. It's a demanding stage."
Sat 15:00 - SS13: Ostberg out of order
He starts the stage after Kris Meeke, not before Sordo - which is where he is placed in Saturday's start order.
Sat 14:58 - SS13: Worrying noise for Prokop
"We have a strange noise, perhaps a gearbox or a diff. I hope we can get back to service." He is 29.2sec slower than Ogier
Sat 14:55 - SS13: Evans completes
And he's 10.5sec slower than Ogier. "A tricky stage, especially with cold tyres. The delay at the start gave me a chance to think abut the stage, but everything on the car cools down - that's the problem."
Sat 14:41 - SS13: Stage is live
Elfyn Evans is underway
Sat 14:28 - SS13: Stage will restart at 1435hrs
Sat 14:21 - SS13: Stage will restart
Once a replacement zero car has driven the stage and checked the route is clear
Sat 14:20 - SS13: Zero car causes delay
The delay is down to an accident involving the road opening zero car. The car has rolled and can't complete the stage. Crew okay.
Sat 14:15 - SS13: Start line queue
Evans and the rest of the field are being held at the start line. The drivers are out of their cars and awaiting news
Sat 14:12 - SS13: Stage stopped
Ogier completes at full speed, but Protasov, Maurin, Kuipers and Neuville are slowed by the FIA's in-car 'yellow flag' system.
Sat 14:09 - SS12: Cautious approach for Latvala
He completes 3sec slower than Ogier. It's the first stage of the day Latvala hasn't won. "I didn’t want to take any big risks, so wherever there was dirt on the road I took it easy. I'm following Andreas' splits."
Sat 14:05 - SS12: Mikkelsen easing off?
It looks that way. He's fourth fastest, 6.2sec slower than Ogier. "It was okay, the car is still a little bit soft." Is he trying to catch Jari-Matti? "He is very fast, let's see what we can do."
Sat 14:00 - SS12: Meeke loving his work
Second fastest so far, 2.7sec off Ogier's time. "It's a beautiful stage, wide from start to finish, so you can choose your line. I'm enjoying it without taking risks, for sure my objective now is keeping third position."
Sat 13:57 - SS12: Sordo clings on
He holds fourth, but loses another 2sec to the hard charging Kubica, who is now only 4.4sec behind. "It's a close battle and Robert is pushing hard. I'm doing all I can."
Sat 13:54 - SS12: Ostberg still fighting
He's third quickest so far to remain locked in the battle for fourth. "A good stage for us. A nice rhythm and good info from our gravel crew. No problems."
Sat 13:51 - SS12: Hirvonen cautious
He's 2.6sec slower than Kubica. "I don't like this stage so much. The section at the top is extremely fast and dirty. I couldn't attack on this one. So many nasty places where I didn't feel so confident."
Sat 13:48 - SS12: Kubica flies again
He's closest to Ogier so far - just 6.9sec slower. "I think we are driving very nicely today - a bit more understeer than I was expecting but all good. The battle for fourth is nice. It's not easy because their pace is strong and it's so easy to make a mistake here - especially with the gravel in the cuts. We are trying our best."
Sat 13:45 - SS12: Bouffier rock strike
"The beginning of this stage was good but then I hit a rock with the front right wheel and I though we might have a problem. All seems okay though."
Sat 13:42 - SS12: Prokop more confident
He has been disappointed with his times for much of the rally but there are signs of improvement on SS12. "Much better than the morning, I have better grip in the fast sections. I'm a bit happier than before." He completes 20.5sec slower than Ogier.
Sat 13:40 - SS12: Neuville clears
He's 10.6sec shy of Ogier but reports more improvements with the handling of his Hyundai. "It's better than the morning. I feel more comfortable and the car is helping me a lot, but there is still some room to do better."
Sat 13:32 - SS12: Ogier sets new speed record
His average through the stage is 125.57kph – that's the highest of the rally so far
Sat 13:30 - SS12: Ogier clears
His time is 9m31.4 and he's exploring the limits of the new Michelin asphalt tyre. "A good stage for us, but the tyres are moving about a lot. This stage is wide like in Catalunya, so I think it's going to be interesting there."
Sat 13:26 - WRC top 5 after SS11
1. Latvala (VW): 1:41:41.0, 2. Mikkelsen (VW): +20.2s, 3. Meeke (Citroen): +50.7s, 4. Sordo (Hyundai): +1:27.5, 5. Kubica (Ford): +1:33.8s
Sat 13:24 - SS11: Latvala quickest again
He beats Ogier's time by 1.9sec and extends his rally lead over Mikkelsen to 20.2sec. "A good stage for us. We changed the set-up a little. It was a bit jumpy on the bumps, but on the smooth sections perfect. I'm enjoying my driving."
Sat 13:20 - SS11: Mikkelsen too soft
He's 1.2sec slower than Meeke and sets off from the stage end to stiffen his Polo's suspension which he feels is too soft.
Sat 13:18 - SS11: Risk free speed from Meeke
Second fastest so far, 2.3sec slower than Ogier. "That was nice, and a lot of that comes down to experience. Fastest time was possible I think. I reckon the result of this rally could come down to the effect of the rain that's forecast for tomorrow."
Sat 13:15 - SS11: Sordo loses ground
He holds fourth, but Kubica and Hirvonen are getting closer and it doesn't sound like he has much in reserve. "I'm pushing hard. Now the car is moving a lot - I'm just about on the limit with the tyres."
Sat 13:12 - SS11: Ostberg under pressure
He's slowest of the four drivers battling for fourth, and Hirvonen is breathing down his neck, just 2.7sec behind. "It's a nice fight for sure, but this stage was very fast so it wasn't easy to make up time. Hirvonen has definitely raised his pace."
Sat 13:09 - SS11: Hirvonen responds
The Finn makes his move for fourth, and takes 2.2sec out of Kubica's advantage. "It's good. I enjoyed it. Now let's see how the other guys do. The first 5kms were perfect. I haven't changed anything - I just wasn't smooth enough in the morning."
Sat 13:05 - SS11: Kubica keeps up the attack
He's closest to Ogier so far - just 7.2sec off the Frenchman's time. "I think I have done a very, very good stage. A bit more pace."
Sat 13:02 - SS11: Bouffier in a spin too
"I tried to drive a bit faster on the second pass but we had a half spin and the car was jumping. Hopefully we can improve on the next stages."
Sat 12:58 - SS11: Spin for Evans
The Welshman was faster than Neuville at the opening split, but completes 2.7sec slower. "I went wide, hooked the wheel over the edge and it spun us around. It took us a couple of seconds to get the front wheels back on the road."
Sat 12:55 - SS11: improvement for Neuville
He struggled with the handling of the Hyundai in the morning. "It's better now. We made some big changes to help the rear turn in. I was more confident." He completes 7.7sec slower than Ogier.
Sat 12:46 - SS11: Ogier pushing on
He's through cleanly in a time of 9m08.8s. "This morning we had a good drive without pushing. This afternoon we want to push more. I had good fun on this one."
Sat 12:29 - Welcome back
Stage 11 is five minutes away. It's one of the live TV stages this weekend, so if you're a WRC+ user you can watch this one live
Sat 11:11 - Next stage: SS11
The repeat of Vallée de Munster gets underway at 1235hrs. We'll resume our live text service then.
Sat 11:05 - WRC2 top 5 after SS10
1. Sousa (Ford): 1:39:02.3, 2. Gilbert (Ford): +1.0s, 3. Chardonnet (Citroen): +2m05.6s, 4. Heloise (Subaru): +10m42.9s, 5. Tidemand (Ford): +14:50.5
Sat 11:02 - WRC top 5 after SS10
1. Latvala (VW): 1:32:34.1, 2. Mikkelsen (VW): +14.8s, 3. Meeke (Citroen): +46.5s, 4. Sordo (Hyundai): +1:17.4, 5. Kubica (Ford): +1:24.7s
Sat 10:54 - Up next: Remote service
Crews are en route to Colmar for a regroup and a 15-minute service halt.
Sat 10:40 - SS10: Latvala in control
It's another stage win for the rally leader who extends his advantage over Mikkelsen to 14.8sec. He sounds relaxed. 'A demanding stage. There are sections where I can push but on the new ones I have to be careful. Overall I feel I have found a good rhythm."
Sat 10:38 - SS10: Meeke clear
And firmly in defensive mode. He says there's nothing to gain by trying to catch the VWs ahead - he's concentrating instead on keeping Sordo behind
Sat 10:33 - SS10: Sordo wary of Kubica
The Spaniard remains fourth, but the gap to Kubica behind is down to 7.3sec. "Of course I try to push hard, Kubica is coming quick - I'm surprised. Okay, we need to try and push to keep him behind."
Sat 10:31 - SS10: Ostberg third fastest
To remain sixth, 2.9sec behind Kubica in fifth. "It's a nice fight. Swapping places all the time. Nice to fight with some of the tarmac drivers and for me that's a good step."
Sat 10:28 - SS10: Kubica pulling clear
of Hirvonen and Ostberg in the battle for fourth. He goes second quickest, 2.1sec slower than Ogier, "It's been a good morning apart from one mistake in the second stage when we damaged the rim 15km before the finish."
Sat 10:22 - SS10: Prokop baffled
"It feels great in the car, but the times are no good. I don't understand why. If I try and go faster I just slide more."
Sat 10:20 - SS10: Wrong direction for Neuville
The Belgian tried to improve the set-up of his Hyundai after SS9, but his tweaks have not improved matters. "I'm changing things all the time but sometimes it's getting even worse. I don't know what to do. This stage we went completely in the wrong direction. In the bumpy parts the car is difficulty to control."
Sat 10:10 - SS10: Ogier clears
"Not a tough morning and I have found a good rhythm. I would have loved to have this day yesterday..." His benchmark time is 12m07.4sec.
Sat 10:06 - Stage info: SS10
The 21.49km Pays Welche – Riquewihr is all new for this year. The stage is narrow and bumpy with a broken surface and lots of potholes. It stays under tree cover for long sections, then passes through a couple of villages. Ends with a tricky high-speed descent and a sequence of hairpins.
Sat 10:05 - WRC top 5 after SS9
1. Latvala (VW): 1:20:29.4, 2. Mikkelsen (VW): +14.1s, 3. Meeke (Citroen): +35.3s, 4. Sordo (Hyundai): +1:08.9, 5. Kubica (Ford): +1h19.9s
Sat 10:02 - SS10: Small delay
The start was delayed by 6 minutes. Ogier started at 0952hrs
Sat 09:58 - SS9: Latvala wins again
He heads a Volkswagen 1-2-3 on the stage time sheet. He's 0.2sec faster than Ogier and 3.2sec faster than Mikkelsen. "I've been practicing asphalt driving for a long time. Circuit racing practice when I was with M-Sport really helped me. So did watching Sebastien Loeb's lines. That really helped me understand more."
Sat 09:54 - SS9: Mikkelsen over cautious
A great time keeps him comfortably second, but again he regrets not pushing harder. "Not a good stage for me. I could have been more on the limit. Still, good to beat the time of Kris Meeke."
Sat 09:52 - SS9: Ostberg loses ground
He slips behind Kubica to sixth - but is just 0.4sec adrift. "It's a big fight for sure. Robert is going well and so is Mikko - I will try to push a bit more, but not over push."
Sat 09:46 - SS9: Hirvonen still fighting for fifth
But the Finn drops back a bit in the battle with Kubica and Ostberg. "The grip is changing a lot, and I'm not a fan of the long, fast corners when it's like that, so I'm losing a few seconds to Kubica."
Sat 09:41 - SS9: wide moment for Kubica
The Pole is 7.6sec slower than Ogier and completes with a damaged right-hand rear wheel. He slid wide on a left-hand corner early in the stage and swiped a wall.
Sat 09:33 - SS9: Neuville struggling
He is 8.2sec slower than Ogier. "We tried to change the car but I'm not feeling confident. I tried to do my best but we have work to do."
Sat 09:26 - SS9: Ogier completes
His time is 9m33.6s. "That was good. The car is working well. Okay, nine minutes behind everybody it's hard to hope for anything now, but we try to work a bit and keep a rhythm."
Sat 09:20 - SS9: Underway
The 19.93km Soultzeren – Le Grand Hohnack stage is unchanged from 2012 and 2013 when it was called Soultzeren - Pays Welche. It starts on a double-width road and climbs, with fast kinks, in and out of the trees. Reaches a peak at 7.43km, when it passes First World War trenches, then heads downhill. Very fast to the finish, but watch out for the 1km narrow section with loose gravel from 14km.
Sat 09:18 - SS8: But Latvala wins the stage
Our rally leader completes 2.7sec faster than Mikkelsen. "A very fast stage, especially the downhill. The grip was quite good, but it can be slippy on the black top. The battle with Mikkelsen is on. He's driving well and not giving anything away for free."
Sat 09:15 - SS8: Mikkelsen best so far
His time is 9m13.1 - but the Norwegian reckons he could have been faster. "I was too careful in the beginning. After that, on the downhill, I tried to catch up some time and I'm happy with that."
Sat 09:14 - SS8: Meeke on the defensive
It's a clean run for the Brit, who has an eye on Sordo behind. "It's the first time I've done this stage in three years. The start wasn’t so bad, but there's a lot of humidity in the braking areas near the end. We're trying to defend our third position from Dani."
Sat 09:11 - SS8: Sordo clears
His time of 9m23.8s is enough to hold fourth, but he loses a second of his advantage over Ostberg, who is now just 9.6sec behind.
Sat 09:08 - SS8: Hirvonen loses position
No dramas for the Finn, but his time is not enough to keep Kubica behind, and he slips to seventh place.
Sat 09:03 - SS8: Ostberg too cautious
"It's difficult to judge the speed with all the shiny asphalt around. In some places I braked and actually I didn't need to. You need big balls here."
Sat 09:00 - SS8: Kubica quick
But cagey. He's second fastest, just 3.7sec slower than Ogier, and appears to have his one soft tyre fitted to the rear of his Fiesta. "A good start but I'm not risking anything." He refuses to explain his unconventional tyre choice.
Sat 08:56 - SS8: Bouffier jumpy
The Frenchman is 23.9sec slower than Ogier. "It was okay but really bumpy and the car is jumping about a lot."
Sat 08:54 - SS8: Evans rapid
The Welshman slots second fastest, 3.9sec off Ogier's time, and sounds confident. He's delighted with set-up tweaks his team made in service.
Sat 08:52 - SS8: Miserable run for Neuville
His Hyundai completes with a missing wing mirror and grass and mud packed into a rear wheel. "Maybe it was a chicane or something - I didn't feel anything. I'm not too happy. I'm fighting with the car. I don't have a good feeling at all. It's horrible to be honest. I don't know what we can change to get comfortable."
Sat 08:47 - SS8: Protasov clears
His time is 40.4sec slower than Ogier's, but he's happier to be second in today's start order instead of 14th - and on a dirty surface - on Friday.
Sat 08:42 - SS8: Ogier completes
His benchmark time is 9m16.8s. "Not bad, but I was not on the limit. It was tricky, quite humid, which was a bit of a surprise."
Sat 08:39 - SS8: Tyre selections
All but one of the Michelin World Rally Car crews left service with four hard compound tyres and one hard compound spare. Kubica is the only exception - he has four hards and one soft
Sat 08:38 - SS8: surface conditions
the road is largely dry, but there is some early morning dew on the surface and some damp patches under tree covered sections.
Sat 08:35 - SS8: Stage underway
Ogier started at 0830hrs
Sat 08:34 - Cycling fans take note
The complete Vallée de Munster was used as part of stage 10 in this year’s Tour De France. It's where Alberto Contador crashed twice - the second time breaking his leg just before the final hairpin of the rally stage
Sat 08:29 - SS8/SS11 Stage notes
Medium width all the way, the 18.90km Vallée de Munster starts under tree cover and climbs on a bumpy road to the top of a col, after which it’s a high-speed descent mixed with hairpins and chicanes to the finish. The first 5.3kms are new but the rest is the same as last year
Sat 08:28 - Saturday’s start order
is based on Friday’s standings reversed, which puts Ogier through first. Here’s the full World Rally Car start order: 1. Ogier, 2. Protasov, 3. Maurin, 4. Kuipers, 5. Neuville, 6. Evans, 7. Prokop, 8. Bouffier, 9. Kubica, 10. Hirvonen, 11. Ostberg, 12. Sordo, 13. Meeke, 14. Mikkelsen, 15. Latvala
Sat 08:24 - Weather update
No sign of Friday’s fog in Strasbourg this morning. Instead there are clear skies here and above the stages, with a dry, bright and sunny day forecast. Current temperature of 12˚C is forecast to hit 22˚C by mid afternoon
Sat 08:17 - Cars have left service
and are en route to the start of SS8, Vallée de Munster, which kicks off at 0830hrs local
Sat 08:17 - And finally
the day will finish with a new 4.86km street stage in Mulhouse before cars return to service from 8.20pm
Sat 08:17 - Locations
Saturday’s stages are based in the mountains around the town of Colmar: SS8/11 Vallée de Munster (18.90km), SS9/12 Soultzeren – Le Grand Hohnack (19.93km) and the all new SS10/13 Pays Welche – Riquewihr (21.49km)
Sat 08:16 - Saturday’s itinerary:
crews will head south - further south than yesterday - to a loop of three stages that will be repeated in the afternoon after the midpoint service
Sat 08:16 - Coming up today
is the second leg of this all-asphalt event. It’s day two of three.
Sat 08:14 - We’re in position
at the wrc.com desk of text, tucked inside an enormous orange concert hall in the rally Service Park
Sat 08:14 - Bonjour again
from Strasbourg - and welcome back to our live text coverage of Rallye de France - Alsace, round eleven of the FIA World Rally Championship
Fri 21:21 - That's all from Friday's stages
and the end of our live text service for the day. We'll be back on Saturday for day two, which kicks off with SS8, Vallée de Munster at 0830hrs. Hope you can join us then. In the meantime, keep an eye on the news section for the latest developments from Strasbourg. Au revoir!
Fri 21:15 - WRC2 top 4 after day one (SS7)
1. Gilbert (Ford): 1:05:35.1, 2. Sousa (Ford): +9.1s, 3. Chardonnet (Citroen): +2m04.0s, 4. Heloise (Subaru): +7m39.0s
Fri 21:10 - WRC top 5 after day one (SS7)
1. Latvala (VW): 1:01:42.9, 2. Mikkelsen (VW): 8.2s, 3. Meeke (Citroen): 23.1s, 4. Sordo (Hyundai): 51.2s, 5. Ostberg (Citroen): 1h01.9s
Fri 20:58 - SS7: Leader Latvala safely through
He caps a great day with third fastest time in Strasbourg. His overnight lead stands at 8.2sec. "It's my dream to win a tarmac rally, no doubt. Overall my performance has been good, and improved in the afternoon. Andreas is pushing me hard, so tomorrow I'll try to do more of the same."
Fri 20:53 - SS7: Mikkelsen ties fastest
He rounds off a terrific day with the same stage time as Sordo. "I've really enjoyed my time out there today. The car is a pleasure to drive. Tomorrow for sure I will continue to push, but I'm sure Jari-Matti will be fast." He ends the day in second.
Fri 20:50 - SS7: Meeke clear
He's closest to Sordo's time - just 0.7sec adrift - and has a blunt assessment of his chances of catching the leaders tomorrow. "I can't catch the Volkswagens. Instead we have to try and considerate third place - that's very important for Citroen. I'm very happy with my day."
Fri 20:46 - SS7: Sordo fastest so far
Dani owns a kart circuit in Spain, and that might have helped him here - where he's a full 2sec quicker than Sebastien Ogier. He ends the day fourth. "A good day, but it will be difficult to get on the podium now because the Citroens and Volkswagens are so fast. We will try to continue like this."
Fri 20:42 - SS7: Ostberg in better spirits
He ends the day sounding far more chipper than he did after SS6 when he reported a mechanical problem. "There is definitely something wrong, I can feel it in here, but we haven't lost so much time and I'm happy about that. I've cooled myself down which was necessary. It's a beautiful event, the stages today have been really great I'm looking forward to tomorrow." He ends the day fifth.
Fri 20:37 - SS7: Hirvonen eyes fourth
He's second fastest on stage, and sounding pretty confident. "The second half of the day was really good, I'm more used to the tyres and was able to drive a bit smoother. Hopefully I can keep the pace and take the fight to the boys tomorrow. Fourth place is the first target, then who knows."
Fri 20:33 - SS7: Kubica third fastest
A decent time for the Pole who should feel more at home on a street circuit. "The day has been okay, but a few mistakes on SS5 cost us too much time." He ends the day seventh.
Fri 20:29 - SS7: Bouffier through
The Frenchman completes 5.2sec slower than Ogier, who is fastest so far. "The stage was okay, but it's tricky not to hit the tyres - so a stressful exercise. In general the day improved as it went on. The afternoon was better than the morning. I'm hoping for more improvement tomorrow."
Fri 20:24 - SS7: Prokop completes
His time of 3m44.0s is slowest so far - no surprise on an event the Czech driver has never enjoyed. "I'd rather be in bed preparing for tomorrow than doing this stage. The day has not been so good. It feels okay, I'm motivated, but the times just haven't been there."
Fri 20:20 - SS7: Evans clear
It's a drama-free 3m40.9s for the Welshman, who almost retired with an electrical problem after SS3. "On the whole it's been pretty good today. We struggled in some areas but we can work on those overnight. Tomorrow we will try to keep improving."
Fri 20:17 - SS7: Neuville reflects
His stage time is 1.3sec slower than Ogier's, but it's been a tough day for the Belgian who broke a turbo in the morning loop. "It was quite okay this afternoon but we were a bit unlucky this morning. The guys did an unbelievable job to fix the car in time. We still have a lot to learn - especially about the new tyres. I don't feel confident on them at all."
Fri 20:14 - SS7: Ogier completes
He flicks off his Polo's spotlights and cruises to the stop control. His time is 3m37.3s. How does he sum up his day? "Terrible. First the gearbox sensor, then the penalty and finally a broken damper. Everything has happened today. But that's how it is. Now we have to focus on the Power Stage." He ends the day more than six minutes behind tenth place, and the final drivers' championship point.
Fri 20:06 - SS7: Ogier underway
Our first car is in stage. His start time 2006hrs. Cars will start at 4 minute intervals.
Fri 20:03 - We're live on WRC
So if you're a subscriber you can follow along with live pictures and commentary. We're watching the feed now and seeing the WRC circus right next to the European Parliament building is an awesome sight...
Fri 20:01 - SS7 running order
A few tweaks to the Friday running order for this stage. Here's how the World Rally Car crews will start: 1. Ogier, 2. Neuville, 3. Evans, 4. Prokop, 5. Bouffier, 6. Kubica, 7. Hirvonen, 8. Ostberg, 9. Sordo, 10. Meeke, 11. Mikkelsen, 12. Jari-Matti Latvala
Fri 19:57 - We’re back
And all set for Friday’s final test - the 4.67km Super Special run in darkness on the streets of downtown Strasbourg. There’s more than a hint of The Fast and Furious about this one…
Fri 15:52 - Up next: Super Special
There's an unusually long wait now until Friday's final stage, the Strasbourg Super Special, at 2000hrs. Between now and then crews will recce the stage in their rally cars to make pace notes. We'll take a break from our live text until the stage starts. In the meantime keep an eye on the news section for more updates
Fri 15:40 - WRC2 top 4 after SS6
1. Gilbert (Ford): 1:01:47.9, 2. Sousa (Ford): +10.6s, 3. Chardonnet (Citroen): +2m02.6s, 4. Heloise (Subaru): +7m11.8s
Fri 15:16 - WRC top 5 after SS6
1. Latvala (VW): 58m07.3, 2. Mikkelsen (VW): +8.5s, 3. Meeke (Citroen): +22.7s, 4. Sordo (Hyundai): +51.5s, 5. Ostberg (Citroen): +57.6s
Fri 15:13 - SS6: Kubica third quickest
an astonishing time for the Pole, who completes just 5sec slower than Latvala. "I'm happy with that. The previous stage wasn't good. I lost a bit of confidence, lost my concentration and we spun. Before this one I told myself to reset and it was very good."
Fri 15:09 - SS6: Sordo increasing in confidence
"The feeling with the tyres is getting better and better. The set-up changes we have made should help us tomorrow."
Fri 15:06 - SS6: Meeke third fastest
And like many drivers he is impressed by Jari-Matti's time. "He had something up his sleeve here, didn't he? I though we had a problem on the last stage, but here it wasn’t so bad. It's been a good day so far, I couldn’t have done much more."
Fri 15:03 - SS6: More difficulties for Ostberg
He's 8.2sec off the pace. There's clearly something wrong with his Citroen, but he isn't giving much away. What's the problem, Mads? "I don't know. I couldn't drive any faster, it's not possible. I cannot say what the problem is."
Fri 14:58 - SS6: Hirvonen upbeat
He's happy with a time 8.3secs adrift of Latvala's. "We changed the rear diff and made the chassis stiffer - the balance is much better now."
Fri 14:57 - SS6: Mikkelsen impressed
He's four second seconds slower than Latvala - and laughs at his team-mate's achievement. "Jari-Matti's time is absolutely crazy. It's madness! Okay, I'm happy with my time - I've not felt so happy in the Polo on tarmac before - but Jari-Matti was insanely quick
Fri 14:53 - SS6: Latvala edges ahead
"This is my favourite stage. "I could do this twice again tomorrow. Okay, we have the lead, it's a good position to be in, and the car feels good, but there's still a long way to go."
Fri 14:51 - SS6: Ogier completes
"Not a good day. We've had a bit of everything. The damper problem has prevented us doing anything this afternoon." His time is 4m58.9s
Fri 14:49 - SS5: Tidemand out
The WRC2 frontrunner rolled in the stage and is out of today's competition
Fri 14:47 - SS6: Underway
Ogier began the stage, the last of Friday's countryside loop, at 1543hrs
Fri 14:45 - SS5: All change in WRC2
Pontus Tidemand's Fiesta is stopped in stage. The Swede was third in WRC2. Chardonnet is now up to third, despite stopping himself to change a puncture. Jaroslaw Koltun is also stopped on stage. He had been fifth in class.
Fri 14:38 - WRC top 5 after SS5
1. Latvala (VW): 53m14.1, 2. Mikkelsen (VW): +4.5s, 3. Meeke (Citroen): +17.2s, 4. Sordo (Hyundai): +43.3s, 5. Ostberg (Citroen): +49.4s
Fri 14:35 - SS5: Kubica spin
"We spun on a hairpin. Not the best stage," admits the Pole
Fri 14:34 - SS5: Bouffier improvement
"We have made changes to try and look after the front tyres. We had a cleaner run. Much better."
Fri 14:28 - SS5: Strange feeling for Meeke
"We were level with Latvala's split at the midpoint, but from there on the car just felt a bit strange - especially on left hand corners. Perhaps it's a diff problem - I don't know. For whatever reason I couldn't find the rhythm."
Fri 14:26 - SS5: Issues for Ostberg?
He's slowest so far, 22.7sec off Latvala's pace. He's not in the mood to chat, either. Something wrong Mads? "We'll see if we can find it," and he's off.
Fri 14:24 - SS5: Hirvonen improves
Third fastest so far. "That felt much better than the earlier pass but these stage conditions are perhaps too aggressive for this [hard] tyre."
Fri 14:22 - SS5: Mikkelsen second fastest
He slips 4.5sec behind Latvala in the overall standings. "Jari-Matti did a great stage. Perhaps we were too careful - or maybe Jari-Matti took more risks."
Fri 14:19 - SS5: Latavala quickest so far
And it looks like he'll extend his lead over team-mate Mikkelsen. "It's looking good on the splits. We had a good run, the grip levels were changing a lot through - there's dirt in the cuts, abrasive sections and slippery rubber in the braking zones."
Fri 14:18 - SS5: More trouble for Ogier
"Nothing to get in the race now - just to drive. Unfortunately the car is not perfect. On the first stage this afternoon we broke the left front damper. This isn't the rally I wanted..."
Fri 14:07 - Up next: SS5
Stage is underway
Fri 13:38 - SS4: Evans through
And lucky to be in the rally at all after an alternator failure this morning meant he had to push his car, late, into service. "It was quite an eventful service... In the stage we didn't have a great feeling, still struggling for grip and sliding about in there." Evans received a 1m40s penalty for being 10m late into service.
Fri 13:32 - SS4: Kubica lacking
5m40.9s is a decent time from the Pole, but he reckons chassis tweaks make at the midpoint service have not helped his car's handling
Fri 13:30 - SS4: Sordo clears
He's 2.1sec quicker than his team-mate Bouffier but almost can't believe Mikkelsen's time.
Fri 13:27 - SS4: Bouffier through
The Frenchman completes 7.8sec off Mikkelsen's stage winning pace. He reports ongoing understeer issues.
Fri 13:25 - SS4: Meeke vs Ostberg
Meeke is the quicker Citroen man by almost 5sec. "I'm very happy, it was nearly a perfect stage apart from the last hairpin where I lost maybe half a second." Meeke is quickest of the non-VW runners, but is frustrated by the pace of the Volkswagens. "I think it's impossible to match the pace of the guys ahead."
Fri 13:20 - SS4: Neuville back to 100 per cent
His morning problems were traced to a broken turbo. A new unit was fitted in service. "The car is fixed. The mechanics did an incredible job and now I'm trying to get used to the handling of the car."
Fri 13:18 - SS4: Hirvonen slides too
Like Latvala he has a hairy moment on the tight left-hand corner near the finish . "I had a little slide there but now I have a bit more confidence on these new tyres. Hopefully I can keep this up." His time is 4.4sec slower than Mikkelsen.
Fri 13:15 - SS4: Mikkelsen fastest so far
His time is 5m35.3s. "A clean stage for us. A little bit more slippery than earlier as the road warms up. I'm in a good rhythm and I want to stay here."
Fri 13:14 - SS4: Latvala slides
He completes in 5m35.8s - 0.5sec slower than Ogier. "A lot of rubber on the tarmac now. We were completely sideways on the last junction. I'm sure someone will go straight on there"
Fri 13:12 - SS4: Ogier clears
And all seems to be fine in the Polo. "Everything is working well now - a little bit too late... Only a test now and trying to get some pleasure. The only target now is the Power Stage."
Fri 13:10 - Ogier's penatly
The second blow for our champion was down to human error. Julien Ingrassia checked them in early to SS3 - ignoring the fact that the itinerary had been delayed four minutes.
Fri 13:08 - Ogier's engine
His earlier problem traced to a faulty gearbox shift sensor that instructed the engine to cut power
Fri 13:05 - SS4 Live!
and Sebastien Ogier is underway
Fri 10:45 - Next stage: SS4 at 1403hrs
We'll resume our live text coverage from the stages at 1400hrs, ready for the repeat of the Col de la Charbonnière. In the meantime, keep an eye on the news section for all the latest from Strasbourg
Fri 10:25 - WRC2 top 5 after SS3
1. Gilbert (Ford): 31m00.3, 2. Sousa (Ford): +3.4s, 3. Tidemand (Ford): +4.8s, 4. Chardonnet (Citroen): +15.3s, 5. Koltun (Ford): +1m59.5s
Fri 10:19 - Up next: Service
From the end of SS3 crews are making the 50km journney north to Strasbourg and Friday's midpoint 30 minute service
Fri 10:16 - WRC top 5 after SS3
1. Latvala (VW): 29m06.8, 2. Mikkelsen (VW): +0.7s, 3. Meeke (Citroen): +7.2s, 4. Evans (Ford): +15.3s, 5. Sordo (Hyundai): +20.3s
Fri 10:02 - Penalty looming for Ogier
Confirmation received from Volkswagen that Ogier checked-in 4min early to SS3. It's a mistake that is likely to cost the Frenchman a four-minute penalty.
Fri 09:58 - SS3: Meeke's rock allegation
Rally organisers have placed rocks on corner apexes to prevent cutting, but some of these have moved since the recce. Kris Meeke suspects foul play: "I think some gravel crews have moved them for their drivers."
Fri 09:53 - SS3: Concern for Evans
He's fifth fastest, but arrives at the finish control worried by warning lights on his Fiesta's dashboard
Fri 09:49 - SS3: Meeke rattled
He's 6.7sec slower than stage leader Latvala, 0.8sec slower than his team-mate Ostberg and his frustration is clear. "I thought I had a good rhythm, but obviously not. It's a slow time and we have work to do."
Fri 09:46 - SS3: Neuville still down on power
His earlier engine problem persists, costing him another 1m38s. "W don't know what it is. We checked and everything looked fine but we have no power, we even had problems getting up the hill."
Fri 09:42 - SS3: Latvala vs Mikkelsen
a far more content Latvala is fastest so far, in 4m54.6s, and retakes the rally lead from his team-mate. Mikkelsen however is still smiling. "I didn't find the rhythm here, but I'm enjoying myself in here - a lot of smiling in the stage."
Fri 09:37 - SS3: Ogier's early start?
He began SS3 at 1021hrs. But after the four minute delay on the previous stage, the rest of the field started four minutes later than scheduled. Has Ogier checked-in early? If so, he risks a four minute penalty
Fri 09:34 - SS3: More time loss for Ogier
He gets his Polo to the finish in a time of 5m11.7s, "I guess the problem is something to do with the [gear] shifting," he explains, before heading back to Strasbourg and the midpoint service with the hazard lights on.
Fri 09:29 - Up next: SS3
The 9.59km Pays de Salm is a shorter version of the stage used in 2011, it starts in a forest on a mid-to-wide road. Fast wide asphalt ensures a flowing characteristic, with a very quick downhill section to the finish
Fri 09:29 - WRC top 5 after SS2
1. Mikkelsen (VW): 24m08.9, 2. Latvala (VW): +3.3s, 3. Meeke (Citroen): +3.8s, 4. Evans (Ford): +11.0s, 5. Sordo (Hyundai): +16.0s
Fri 09:23 - SS2: Evans and Bouffier
Clean runs for both, but they're struggling to settle in. Evans is unhappy with the amount his Fiesta is moving about on the hard compound Michelins. Bouffier meanwhile says he's unhappy with his Hyundai's handling. "I can't drive it like I want too,"
Fri 09:17 - SS2: Meeke attacks
and splits the Volkswagens - slotting his Citroen second quickest, 3.6sec shy of Mikkelsen's winning time. "A really good stage," says Meeke. "Good speed, but some gravel has been pulled out onto the road so we have to be careful. It's going to be a long, tricky rally." The time moves Meeke to third in the overall standings, 0.5sec behind Latvala
Fri 09:10 - SS2: Problems too for Neuville
The Belgian loses time in the closing section and completes 58sec slower than Mikkelsen. "We have no power anymore. We also had a small moment when we were stuck in a ditch."
Fri 09:05 - SS2: Engine issue for Ogier
The Frenchman completes 4m12s slower than Mikkelsen who bags fastest time. "A big engine cut," he explains. "Possibly linked to the gears in some way. I don't know."
Fri 09:03 - SS2: Latvala completes
His time is 18m37.3 and he's sounding concerned. "Not easy, I don't have a very good feeling. I can't get the feeling with the brakes or the chassis - it's too soft all round. I need to work on that, obviously Seb was very slow, perhaps a problem with the car."
Fri 08:59 - SS2: Mikkelsen passes Ogier
The Norwegian is slowed for a while by Ogier ahead, but passes him in a village section
Fri 08:56 - SS2: Ogier losing more time
WRC+ split times show more time loss as Ogier continues at less than full speed. At the 18km mark he's 3m23.6s slower than Latvala.
Fri 08:48 - SS2: Ogier underway again
But he's lost a stack of time and has been passed on stage by his VW team-mate Latvala. Hopefully we'll get an explanation from Seb at the stage end
Fri 08:46 - SS2: Ogier mechanical problem?
Perhaps. Aerial shots of the car show no outward sign of damage
Fri 08:45 - SS2: Ogier stops!
He parks his Polo at the 5.87km point
Fri 08:44 - SS2: Ogier in trouble!
TV crews report a half-spin at a left-hand hairpin 3.6km from the start. He is now driving very slowly
Fri 08:42 - SS2: 4min delay
Sebastien Ogier was due to start the stage at 0935hrs. The stage went live at 0939hrs
Fri 08:37 - Up next: SS2
he 34.34km Vosges - Pays d’Ormont stage is identical to last year and mixes wide and narrow sections on smooth and abrasive roads. It undulates through tree-lined asphalt and includes tricky corners with loose gravel on the surface
Fri 08:34 - WRC2 top 5 after SS1
1. Gilbert (Ford): 5m57.3, 2. Chardonnet (Citroen): +0.5s, =3. Tidemand (Ford): +1.7s, =3. Sousa (Ford): +1.7s, 5. McCormack (Ford): +12.3s
Fri 08:30 - SS1: Tight in WRC2
Quentin Gilbert leads after a fastest time in his Fiesta R5 but Sebastien Chardonnet (DS3 R5), Tidemand (Fiesta R5) and Sousa (Fiesta RRC) are all within 2sec
Fri 08:23 - WRC top 5 after SS1
1. Latvala (VW): 5m34.9, 2. Ogier (VW): +0.3s, 3. Mikkelsen (VW): +0.5s, 4. Meeke (Citroen): +0.7s, 5. Neuville (Hyundai): +3.3s
Fri 08:22 - SS1: All WRC cars through
Fiesta pilots Kuipers, Protasov and Maurin round off the World Rally Car runners, with Maurin the quickest.
Fri 08:15 - SS1: Kubica clears
And how did he cope with the racetrack-like conditions? "It was okay, a very wide road so not really much to do. We did it smoothly with no dramas but it was more slippery than I expected." His time is eighth fastest.
Fri 08:12 - SS1: Sordo
He's one second quicker than his team-mate Bouffier - but sounds a little subdued. "A little too much understeer - it's okay."
Fri 08:11 - SS1: Bouffier through
The Hyundai driver 7.5sec off Latvala's pace and looking for improvement. "It was okay. Very fast. Quite a lot of understeering."
Fri 08:09 - SS1: Prokop on soft compound
The Czech driver bucks the hard trend with four soft compound tyres on his Ford. He's slowest so far.
Fri 08:06 - SS1: Slippy start for Evans
"Not a lot of grip in there, we struggled, there's a lot of movement. Not great on such a short stage, hopefully it will be better on the longer one." A decent time though - sixth fastest. Evans, like most of the Michelin runners here, has selected the French firm's hard compound Pilot Sport tyres for the opening loop.
Fri 08:05 - SS1: Meeke closest so far
He slots fourth, just 0.2sec behind the leading Volkswagen trio. "Not such a bad start, this stage is just like a hill climb, very wide, very fast. Easy to over drive it, but I'm satisfied so far."
Fri 08:03 - SS1: Ostberg completes
He's five seconds off Latvala's stage winning time. "Not the best asphalt performance, but not a bad stage for me."
Fri 08:01 - SS1: Neuville's in
He led on the opening day here in 2013 but ends the opening stage fourth quickest, best of the non-VW drivers so far, 3.3sec off Latvala's time.
Fri 07:59 - SS1: Hirvonen struggles
He's 7.2sec slower than Latvala. "Maybe not such a good start..." he says. "It's so fast through the uphill sections and if you make a small mistake you lose all the speed. Now we have to wake up."
Fri 07:57 - SS1: Clean start for Mikkelsen
He's third quickest so far, 0.5sec off Latvala's pace. "An okay stage, a nice rhythm - just like a race track. I'm enjoying it so far. Beautiful stages and conditions."
Fri 07:55 - SS1: Latvala quickest so far
His time of 5m34.9s beats Ogier's by three-tenths. "Quite a good start. A bit of understeer so I was surprised to see the time."
Fri 07:53 - SS1: Ogier completes
"That was not perfect for us. The stage conditions were good but we had a bit of understeer. The next one is the more important one though."
Fri 07:35 - SS1 Stage notes:
Much of this stage is new, but a small section was used in 2012. Wide and abrasive in places, it climbs up the Col de la Charbonnière for 7.5km before descending, with high speeds throughout.
Fri 07:29 - Weather update
A foggy and cool autumnal start in service, but it's clear and bright out on the stages. No sign of rain today (not that we can see the clouds) but there is some dewy dampness on the roads. Current temperature of 12˚C is forecast to hit 22˚C once the fog has burned off
Fri 07:21 - Friday's start order
is based on championship standings, which puts leader Ogier first on the road. Here’s the full World Rally Car start order: 1. Ogier, 2. Latvala, 3. Mikkelsen, 4. Hirvonen, 5. Neuville, 6. Ostberg, 7. Meeke, 8. Evans, 9. Prokop, 10. Bouffier, 11. Sordo, 12. Kubica, 13. Kuipers, 14. Protasov, 15. Maurin
Fri 07:18 - Cars have left service
and are en route to the start of SS1, Col de la Charbonnière, which kicks off at 0844hrs local
Fri 07:08 - And finally
the day will finish with a run on the Strasbourg street stage (4.67km) before the cars head for the service park from 8.40pm
Fri 07:07 - Stage 3 and 6
the loop will conclude with Pays de Salm (9.59km) in much the same configuration as in 2010 and 2011
Fri 07:07 - Stage 2 and 5
crews will then move on to Vosges – Pays d’Ormont (34.34km), which is likely to be the decisive stage on day one
Fri 07:07 - Stage 1 and 4
The first seven kilometres of the opening Col de la Charbonnière test (11.11km) are completely new
Fri 07:05 - Friday’s itinerary:
crews will head south-east for a loop of three stages that will be repeated in the afternoon after the midday service
Fri 07:04 - Coming up
is the opening day of this all-asphalt event
Fri 07:03 - We’re back
at the wrc.com desk of text, located this week in the heart of the rally Service Area at the city’s Zenith event complex
Fri 07:03 - Bonjour from Strasbourg
and welcome to our live text coverage of Rallye de France - Alsace, round eleven of the FIA World Rally Championship
Mon 09:21 - Rallye de France-Alsace 2014
SS1 starts Friday 3rd october 2014 from 8:44am (CEST). LIVE MAPS @ www.wrcplus.com!