Mammoth stages, twisty roads and unpredictable weather awaits competitors this weekend as the fourth round of the WRC comes to the first all-asphalt rally of the season - Corsica linea – Tour de Corse (5-8 April).
Bastia will host Thursday’s ceremonial start for the first time since 1978 before the field takes on the first of 12 stages on Friday morning: La Porta – Valle di Rostino.
One of just two stages that featured in 2017’s Tour de Corse, SS1 is a 49km test that will have crews using every ounce of their ability to tackle the tight Corsican roads. Friday morning is finished with the 13km Piedigriggio – Pont de Castrila before teams regroup at service and complete the pair of stages again in the afternoon.
Saturday is the longest day of competition with six stages totalling 136.9km as the rally visits the northern tip of the island for the first time since 1995.
The day starts with the 35.61km Cagnano – Pino – Canari test before going onto Désert des Agriates and Novella which are 15.45km and 17.39km respectively. That loop is then repeated with SS9 and SS10 running into the evening to end day two.
The final day is made up of just two stages – a lengthy Vero – Sarrola-Carcopino which totals 55.17km before Tour de Corse ends with the 16.25km Live TV Power Stage Pénitencier de Coti-Chiavari.
The 12 stages add up to 333.48km to make a total distance of 1119.68km.
- The podium for Sunday’s Power Stage will be in one of the more unusual settings on the WRC the calendar – the former Chiavari prison.
- At 55.17km, SS11 isn’t only the longest stage of the season so far for the WRC field, it is also the longest stage on the Tour de Corse since 1986.
- Can Sebastien Loeb make it five wins in a row? The Frenchman won the rally every year on his last four appearances on the island between 2005 & 2008.
- Keep your eyes on the skies! Corsica’s weather is notoriously unpredictable, throwing in an extra challenge for all the teams.