Yohan Rossel led the FIA Junior World Rally Championship field on day one at the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse, after coming out on top in a fierce battle with compatriot Laurent Pellier.
Both drivers are backed by the French motorsport federation and it didn’t take them long to get into their stride on home soil.
Pellier, who was taking part in his first-ever WRC event, hit the front on the opening 49.72km stage, but dropping 16sec on the next test allowed Rossel to strike back and take a 0.4s advantage.
The duo traded the lead on a further two occasions before Rossel secured the overnight lead with fastest time on SS4. The gap between the duo was 4.4sec after 157km of competitive action.
Despite ending the day in second, Pellier was in a positive mood. He said: ”This is our first WRC rally and it's perfect. But this rally isn't finished."
Third place looked to be heading to Terry Folb but the Frenchman crashed just after the flying finish on SS3 and the damage that his Citroën DS 3 R3T sustained forced his retirement before the last test. That meant Martin Koci finished third, slightly ahead of Romain Martel.
Simone Tempestini continued his march towards the Junior WRC title as he ended the day in fifth. Michael Burri was sixth, albeit 2min 11.2sec shy of Rossel’s category-leading pace.