Tuesday | 27 Sep 2016

Fresh look to Corsica asphalt encounter

Almost three-quarters of this week’s Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse (29 September - 2 October) is new compared to last year as competitors face a longer and tougher route.

Organisers have made big changes for this 10th round of the FIA World Rally Championship, increasing the special stage distance to nearly 400km, introducing a new host town and designing a round-the-island route that has little in common with 2015.

More than 70 per cent of the asphalt itinerary is new and the 390.02km of winding and often bumpy mountain road stages mean that only Rally Guanajuato Mexico is longer in the 2016 WRC calendar.

The new-look event features stopovers in all the principal towns on the Mediterranean island. The north-eastern town of Bastia is the new base and endurance will be a key factor as five of the 10 stages touch 50km in length.

Bend after bend have earned the event the nickname Rally of 10,000 Corners and the lack of a straight worthy of the name places a huge emphasis on accurate pace notes and delivery from co-drivers.

Island capital Ajaccio hosts Thursday evening’s start ceremony before Friday’s gruelling opening in which two stages on the west coast will be driven twice with no mid-leg service. Drivers face 157.68km with just a tyre change in Porticcio after the opening loop until the respite of evening service in Bastia.

Saturday’s second leg is the longest at 169.04km and comprises two identical loops of two stages in the north, which are split by service at Bastia Airport.

The final day is the shortest at 64.20km but features a sting in the tail. Drivers wake up to the marathon 53.78km test from Antisanti to Poggio di Nazza, the longest of the weekend, before the live TV Power Stage and the finish in Porto-Vecchio marina.

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