Thursday | 01 Oct 2015

Kubica tops Corsica shakedown

Robert Kubica was fastest in a rain-soaked shakedown at Tour de Corse - Rallye de France on Thursday morning.

The Pole was quickest on his first run through the 3.88km stage from Corte to Poggio di Venaco in a Ford Fiesta RS. He then upped his pace to go even faster on the third of his four passes on the slippery uphill asphalt.

Kubica missed the previous round in Australia in favour of testing, but admitted his preparations could count for little if the forecast for torrential rain in tomorrow’s opening leg materialises.

“We tested here two weeks ago and did a small test in Italy before coming here, but in completely different conditions. Heavy rain is predicted for tomorrow and it will be a big challenge just to stay on the road. So my confidence isn’t really high, but it’s the same for everyone. It will be a big day if the heavy rain comes,” he said.

Kris Meeke was second in Citroën’s DS 3, 0.8sec behind, with Jari-Matti Latvala another five-tenths adrift in third in a Volkswagen Polo R.

Sébastien Ogier was fourth, 1.6sec slower than Kubica. The world champion completed five runs, eager to sample the Corsican roads after the cancellation of his pre-event test when Latvala crashed their shared Polo R.

Spain’s Dani Sordo, who won in Corsica three years ago when the rally was a round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, was fifth. Mads Østberg, recovering from fractured ribs after a recce crash in Australia, tied with Kevin Abbring in sixth.

Corsica returns to the WRC for the first time since 2008 and drivers grabbed the opportunity to gain experience of the demanding mountain roads. Most frontrunners completed four passes, with Kubica among several who joined Ogier in doing five runs.

The leading times were:

1.Robert Kubica Ford Fiesta RS 2min 19.0sec
2.Kris MeekeDS 32min 19.8sec
3.Jari-Matti LatvalaVolkswagen Polo R2min 20.3sec
4.Sébastien OgierVolkswagen Polo R2min 20.6sec
5.Dani SordoHyundai i202min 21.1sec
6=Mads ØstbergDS 32min 21.4sec
6=Kevin AbbringHyundai i202min 21.4sec
8=Thierry NeuvilleHyundai i202min 21.9sec
8=Andreas MikkelsenVolkswagen Polo R2min 21.9sec
10.Elfyn Evans Ford Fiesta RS2min 22.5sec

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