Wet roads look like being a feature of this week's rally. But it was a different story on Monday and Tuesday, when we joined the drivers in dry and sunny conditions for the pre-event recce. Here's what we saw:
1. Narrow and technical
This edition takes in far more of the Mediterranean island than 2008, the last time it featured in the WRC calendar, when the action was centred on the Ajaccio region. The longer route has brought more varied stages, with Friday and Saturday's roads generally narrower and on more abrasive, broken asphalt than Sunday's. One constant, however, is the number of corners. We couldn't verify the 'Rally of 10,000 Corners' nickname but we didn't find a straight longer than 200 metres anywhere. The picture below is from the Casamozza - Pomte Leccia stage, run on Friday (as SS2) and repeated on Saturday (as SS4).
2. Broken and bumpy
The variety of road surface covers everything from fresh laid black-top to sections that are way past their prime. Pictured below is an example of the latter, 22km into Saturday's Muracciole - Sol de Sorba (SS6).
3. Smooth and tidy
Sunday's stages tend to be wider and on better asphalt than Friday and Saturday's. The day includes more of the island's main roads, sections of which have been resurfaced especially. Pictured here is the best we could find - a perfectly smooth, barely-cooled, 500 metre stretch of fresh asphalt on Sunday's Sotta - Chialza test (SS7).
4. Monte Carlo-esque
Corsica isn't the only round of the championship to be based in France, and in places the route reminded us of the Alpes Maritimes north of Monte-Carlo. Below is a good example, 26km into Saturday's Muracciole - Col de Sorba (SS6). It's a classic Monte mix of narrow and twisty road, rock face on one side, stone wall and sheer drop on the other.
5. Junction hairpin right.
There are hairpins aplenty in Corsica, but the one below in the Francada - Sermano stage (SS3/5) is so incredibly tight that organisers have added an alternative route. Taking the hairpin option, drivers will approach the corner uphill from the road on the right, before turning hard right. If that isn't possible, they can continue 50 metres past our camera position and double-back around a bus stop instead. We expect the World Rally Cars to favour the hairpin option. Less agile cars, the RGT Porsches for instance, will probably take the bus stop.
Picture credit: Omar Avila