Stage data: SS8, Mulhouse (4.65 kilometres)
By Citroen Junior World Rally Team co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul: “There are a lot of concrete walls in this stage, like all these stages, and you have to open your eyes for sure because you get very close to the edges. The stage is in the centre of the town so it will be very busy with lots of spectators.”
How the action unfolded:
Jari-Matti Latvala has maintained his solid start to Rallye de France Alsace by winning the final stage of day one, the Mulhouse street test.
Latvala, in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, was 0.3s faster than team-mate Petter Solberg with Mikko Hirvonen edging rally leader and fellow Citroen driver Sebastien Loeb in third. Loeb’s overall lead heading to service in Strasbourg is 13.1s.
“It’s a good time but I think it’s better to be further back because the rubber on the road was building up, which gives more grip,” said Latvala, who has won three stages during the course of the day. “Loeb didn’t have that so we were able to benefit.”
Mads Ostberg had to start the stage and cover the opening metres in road mode after the engine in his Adapta Fiesta stalled before the start.
Thierry Neuville completed the stage with damage to the rear right corner of his Citroen, which included a cracked wheel rim. “I spin and we were quite lucky that the car was okay,” said the Belgian. “The tyres were colder than I expected at the first corner and I spin.”
Crews are now heading back to the overnight halt in Strasbourg. Saturday’s action begins with the Masif des Grands Crus - Ungersberg stage at 08:38hrs local time.