29 Sep - 02 Oct 11
Categories:WRC, SWRC, WRC Academy
Most Recent Winner:Sebastien Ogier (2011)
For the second year in a row, France’s World Rally Championship qualifier will take place in the country’s Alsace region to the east following its move away from Corsica, the event’s home from 1973 until 2008.
Alsace is Sebastien Loeb country and it was highly fitting that the French ace secured his seventh world crown on a special stage run through the streets of his home town of Haguenau when the region hosted its first WRC qualifier in October 2010.
With a base on the outskirts of Strasbourg, the rally utilised a remote service halt in the town of Mulhouse on day one, which quickly became swamped with enthusiastic spectators. Indeed, the event’s central location - not to mention the Loeb factor - ensured a phenomenal turn out of fans on all three days.
While victory for Loeb was never in doubt, the inconsistent stage surfaces, mixture of narrow and fast sections and cold temperatures made for a challenging spectacle. Stages ranged from vineyard-based tests similar to those found on ADAC Rallye Deutschland, undulating forest roads, plus a 24-kilometre test through the Bitche military training area, before the closing stage in Haguenau.
New for 2011
Several changes have been made to this year’s route as organisers look to build on the experience gained from running the inaugural Rallye de France Alsace in 2010. The first two stages on day one (Friday) run in an opposite direction with the Pays d’Ormont stage extended to 36 kilometres in length. Saturday includes a new remote service halt in Colmar and a special stage through the streets of Mulhouse.
There are two new stages on Sunday, Graviere de Bischwiller and Vignoble de Cleebourg, while Haguenau hosts the event-closing Power Stage. In total there are 23 stages over a competitive distance of 348.13 kilometres.