Sébastien Ogier finally found the pace that has eluded him at the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse to slash Thierry Neuville’s lead on Saturday afternoon.
Stage info: SS7
A legendary stage that has been trimmed by 5km at the beginning. A technical uphill section from the start ends at La Porta church, before twisty and bumpy roads run through Giocatojo and up to the Col Saint Antoine. The descent on new and older asphalt heads through several villages before climbing again to Campile. A twistier road tracks the mountainside before a series of abrasive downhill hairpins leads to the finish.
Ogier claimed his first win of the rally in the repeat of the marathon speed test from La Porta to Valle di Rostino, cutting Neuville’s lead from 8.2sec to 2.2sec with one stage remaining in the penultimate leg.
The Frenchman has been unhappy with his Ford Fiesta’s set-up but appeared to have found a better feeling following mid-leg service.
“It’s a bit better now on the set-up and I can trust a bit more the car now. I’ve never tried so many different set-ups before and this one is quite a big change,” he said.
Neuville was third fastest in his Hyundai i20 Coupe despite an early spin. “I did quite well but spun in the first hairpin. Then I had a lot of wheelspin from the rear differential,” he said.
A rejuvenated Jari-Matti Latvala split the lead duo with second fastest time in his Toyota Yaris. It was enough to climb to fourth and relegate Craig Breen by 0.2sec.
The Finn modified his car’s transmission towards the set-up used this morning by team-mate Juho Hänninen, who posted top three times in both tests.
Dani Sordo was fourth to retain third overall but his advantage over Latvala was down to 11.3sec. Breen and Paddon were fifth and sixth fastest, the Kiwi reporting overheating tyres on the wider sections mid-stage.