Thursday | 17 Dec 2015

Stories of 2015: Wet and wild in Corsica

It was early October when the WRC reached the Mediterranean island of Corsica. But instead of being bathed in late summer sun, the Tour de Corse was lashed by a fierce storm with torrential rain, landslides and floods that threatened to wash away the competitors.

The first signs that Corsica was in for a battering came on Wednesday, when meteorologists noted an intense low pressure weather system approaching the region. Worryingly, it had a lot in common with a tropical cyclone.

By Thursday the system had been classified as a Category 1 Medicane, and when it reached the island that night it brought chaos.

Up to 300 litres of rain per square metre fell over the next 24 hours in the rally base of Corte. Torrential rain caused widespread flooding, rivers burst their banks and many of the rally's twisty and narrow asphalt mountain roads looked more like waterfalls.

The rally got underway on Friday in conditions that had little in common with those on the recce. Stages were awash with mud and dirt and survival through the opening leg was the sole aim of many drivers.

The first run through Friday's 43.69km Casamozza - Ponte Leccia test was scrapped after nearby roads were flooded [above] while landslides blocked the stage itself.

The damage was so bad that Saturday's repeat was also abandoned even though by then the rain had stopped.

Rarely has the championship's promise of real-world competition on real roads been stretched so far!

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