A dominant Sébastien Ogier claimed a second consecutive stage win to increase his lead of the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse on Friday morning.
Stage info: SS2
Plage du Liamone - Sarrola-Carcopino 1, 29.12km
The only stage that is identical to 2015. A fast climb from Liamone beach leads to a tight hairpin at Casaligione. There’s a change of pace and profile as a wide, twisty road heads to Furcina bridge before a string of corners along a winding bumpy climb to Calcatoggio hairpin. After the villages of Sant’ Andrea d’Orcino and Cannelle, wide asphalt leads to Col de Sarzoggio and then a tricky run down to the finish.
He topped the times by 8.7sec on the 29.12km test from Plage Liamone through the mountains to Sarrola-Carcopino, extending his advantage to 14.7sec in his Volkswagen Polo R as the opening leg of the 10th round of the FIA World Rally Championship reached its midpoint.
The stage is the only one on the rally that was driven last year, but conditions could not be more different with clear blue skies and sunshine a contrast to 2015’s torrential rain.
“We have some work to do on the set-up to make it perfect but it’s a good start,” said Ogier. “There’s a very long way to go and I prefer to try to get a good feeling at the moment, but I pushed a bit more than in the first stage."
Thierry Neuville was second fastest to overhaul Hyundai i20 team-mate Dani Sordo for third in the standings, but the Belgian remained unhappy with his car’s balance. “Sometimes I have huge oversteer and sometimes understeer,” he said.
Neuville was 2.8sec behind Kris Meeke on the leaderboard, the Briton a content fourth in the stage in Citroën’s DS 3, and 1.4sec clear of a confused Sordo. The Spaniard was happier with his i20’s handling and pushed hard but his reward was only sixth quickest.
Hayden Paddon was fifth, still unhappy with inconsistent pace notes but relieved to have survived a close call in a village early in the stage. “I thought the bend was flat out but the rear of the car thought differently…the rear was coming out full sideways in the fast stuff,” said the Kiwi.
Andreas Mikkelsen was third in the stage to climb to sixth overall in his Polo R, 0.8sec behind Paddon and 1.6sec ahead of a lacklustre Jari-Matti Latvala. “Maybe the set-up in the test went in the wrong direction and my driving isn’t the greatest either,” said Latvala.
Craig Breen and M-Sport duo Mads Østberg and Eric Camilli completed the leaderboard, Østberg admitting he was ‘quite lucky’ after hitting rocks on the outside of a bend.