In the second part of our summary, we look back at the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse and reflect on how the leading drivers dealt with the twisty island roads.
Sébastien Ogier (Volkswagen Polo R) Result: 1st
Simply sublime as he moved within touching distance of his fourth consecutive drivers’ title. His rivals could only watch open-mouthed as he won all four of the opening day’s stages to build a strong lead. That meant he could control his speed in less consistent conditions on the final two days to take a maiden Corsica win which means so much to a Frenchman. Relaxed, happy and confident, he can’t wait for the next round in Spain next week…..
Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20) Result: 7th
You know that when Dani Sordo and clean asphalt come together a podium is in the offing. Such was the case on the first day when, with one stage remaining, the Spaniard was third and engaged in a proper battle with team-mate Thierry Neuville, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen for second. Then, on the last stage, he punctured and stopped to change the flat – and flat was an apt description for his motivation after that.
Mads Østberg (Ford Fiesta RS) Result: 9th
Mads was quite clear from his arrival on Corsica that the result was of secondary importance. He was trying a new driving style to raise his asphalt pace and knew it would take time to perfect. It’s fair to say it wasn’t all plain sailing, but the Norwegian persevered and was making good progress by the final leg. He has two more days on sealed roads in Spain next week to discover just how good the progress was.
Andreas Mikkelsen (Volkswagen Polo R) Result: 3rd
The Norwegian shrugged off a cautious start to fight with Thierry Neuville for second. Once the Belgian sorted out his car’s handling, Mikkelsen was distanced, but never came under pressure for third. Had problems with both his feet. Brake vibration on the opening day sent his left foot to sleep while a little too much use of the right foot overheated his tyres on a couple of occasions and forced him to throttle back. Remains second in the title standings.
Craig Breen (DS 3) Result: 5th
Most improved driver of the season? He gets our vote. After a stunning podium on his last appearance in Finland, the Irishman followed up with a fine fifth on his first asphalt drive in a World Rally Car. It’s a mark of just how far he has come in such a short period of time that he alluded to a touch of disappointment with fifth. Citroën boss Yves Matton was far from dissatisfied and his 2017 factory drive is thoroughly deserved.
Lorenzo Bertelli (Ford Fiesta RS) Result: 17th
One to forget for the likeable Italian. Asphalt is not his favourite surface and his tale of woe started on the first day when the intercom packed up on the longest stage of the leg, resulting in nearly 50km of finger pointing from co-driver Simone Scattolin. Bertelli couldn’t sort out the handling in his Fiesta RS and stopping to change puncture on Saturday's final stage and Sunday's opener simplay made life worse.