Sébastien Ogier admitted his Citroën Total World Rally Team must improve its asphalt pace after a lacklustre performance in Corsica.
With two wins from the first three events in 2019, the Frenchman was one of the pre-event favourites for victory on his home rally. However, Citroën's C3 WRC struggled on the twisty asphalt roads and Ogier and team-mate Esapekka Lappi failed to register a single fastest stage time during the event.
Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia were sixth after a disappointing first leg, although their dogged approach allowed them to climb to third on Saturday. They eventually finished second after benefiting from Elfyn Evans's dramatic late puncture in the final speed test. Lappi finished seventh.
Citroën's results in Corsica allowed it to consolidate second place in the manufacturers' standings, while Ogier is just two points behind leader Thierry Neuville in the drivers' points.
But, with the all-asphalt battle at ADAC Rallye Deutschland (22-25 August) and the part-asphalt RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España (24-27 October) on the horizon, Ogier is keen to discover what went wrong in Corsica so the team's sealed-surface pace can be improved.
"We were expecting the asphalt to be a good surface for us in the C3 WRC, but in the first stages on Friday, we quickly realised that we were in for a difficult weekend," he said. "We lacked the pace needed to fight with the fastest, as the car was understeering and lacking grip.
"In terms of points, the outcome was very positive. The nineteen we scored are important for the championship and that’s the main takeaway from the weekend. However, there’s no hiding from the fact that a lot of work has to be done to analyse a performance that didn’t meet expectations and to find a solution between now and the next asphalt event."
With victory seemingly beyond its reach in Corsica, Citroën tested various set-ups to try and pinpoint the cause of the C3's performance loss and Ogier said that work was important as he continues to understand the car.
Team principal Pierre Budar shared Ogier's concerns about the lack of pace in Corsica. "For sure, we have some homework to do on Tarmac," he admitted.