Stage data: SS15, Pays de la Haute Bruche 2 (24.04 kilometres)
By Citroen Junior World Rally Team co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul: “For us it’s a new stage. I remember part of this stage when I did the Rally of Alsace in the French Tarmac championship but that was a long time ago and I only remember some corners. The first part is narrow and bumpy and we have to be careful for the first five kilometres. Then we join a main road and all the rest of the stages are uphill, wide with a lot of grip.”
How the action unfolded:
Home hero Sebastien Loeb has restored his 30-second lead on Rallye de France Alsace with his ninth stage win of round 11 of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Jari-Matti Latvala was 1.4s slower than Loeb after admitting to making a small mistake near the stage finish. “It was a little mistake but Loeb was very quick, I need to be more consistent,” said the factory Ford pilot.
Finn Mikko Hirvonen feared he’d picked up a puncture after striking a loose rock in the road on board his Citroen DS3 WRC. He was third fastest, 5.8s down on team-mate Loeb. As a result he now trails Latvala by 22.2s in the battle for second place.
Thierry Neuville is continuing to fight back after being saddled with a 20-second time penalty earlier in the day. He is now just 5.2s behind the Spanish MINI driver with fourth-placed Mads Ostberg a further 3.0s ahead. Ostberg said he couldn’t go any faster in his Adapta Fiesta.
Ott Tanak stalled at the stage start, reporting a possible problem with his car’s launch control. Martin Prokop and Daniel Oliveira both reported high-speed spins in sixth gear in their similar Fiesta.