With a WRC heritage dating back to 1973, Corsica linea - Tour de Corse is one of the classic rounds on the WRC calendar. Last weekend’s drama-filled edition also made for one of the most exciting events of the season so far.
In the first part of our rally debrief, we reflect on this year's visit to the ’Île de Beauté’.
Driver of the Rally
Elfyn Evans might not have won the rally, but his performance in Corsica earned him our top award. He shaded former team-mate Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville to put himself in the position where victory was *almost* assured.
Cool and calm under pressure, and magnanimous in defeat after suffering a last-minute puncture that snatched victory from his grasp, the Welshman was at his steely and determined best last weekend.
One to forget
Two punctures cut Jari-Matti Latvala adrift of the lead battle, but even without those issues, the Finn was frustratingly off the pace.
Worse still, while Jari-Matti broke into the top-five stage times only twice during the rally, his Toyota team-mates Kris Meeke and Tänak were both multiple stage winners.
What was the problem? Latvala wasn’t sure. Being out of step with his pace notes was part of the story, but he just couldn’t find the confidence in his driving to take any risks. He finished the rally vowing to find a new energy for Argentina.
You’ll never believe it
It has to be that jaw-dropping Wolf Power Stage when Evans’s puncture handed victory to Neuville. It was yet another reminder of why you can never take anything for granted in the WRC.
When the first live shots of Evans driving slowly were broadcast, it took a second or so to understand the story that was unfolding. And then the feeling of disbelief spread – from the stage commentators to those gathered watching at the stage end.
“It’s difficult to accept but okay, it happens. It’s the nature of the sport,” reflected Evans who, within minutes, was doing his level best to celebrate third place.
Quote of the Rally
After three crashes in the first three rounds, Teemu Suninen spent most of his Tour de Corse under strict instructions to get through the stages cleanly.
By SS13 however, he had done enough to be let off the leash and promptly delivered a stunning third-fastest time.
At the stage end, the Finn gave the following explanation: “I have had a monkey on my shoulder, telling me to calm down and relax and bring the car home. Now I have given him a banana, he’s a nice guy and he’s letting me drive.”