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Rnd 10 - Rally China Sept8-11
Due to Weather cancelled!
click: wrc.com/rally-china

Rnd 11 - Rally France (Tour de Corse) Sept 29-Oct2




Asphalt suspension - low settings which provide stability and improved balance.
Different road characteristics in the same group of stages mean set-up is often a compromise.

France's WRC round was held on the stunning island of Corsica from 1973 to 2008.
Never-ending sequences of turns earned the event the nickname "The Rally of 10,000 Corners".
After a year's absence due to rotation, the rally moved to the Alsace region of the French mainland in 2010.

Bastia replaces Corte as the host town.
Porto-Vecchio hosts the finish instead of Ajaccio.
Seventy per cent of the competitive distance has changed and the rally is 20 per cent longer than last year, with more 390km of special stages.

Official website: tourdecorse.com

Listen Live: wrc.com/live_popup_radio

WRC+ : Live Stages/Live Maps/Onboard Action/Full Highlights plus.wrc.com/


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Thursday-Shakedown

Sebastien Ogier headed a Volkswagen Motorsport 1-2 as he set fastest time through Thursday morning's shakedown stage at the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse.

The Frenchman, bidding to secure his fourth consecutive world drivers’ title on home ground, completed three runs through the 5.40km Sorbo Ocagnano test. He posted the fastest time of 3min 51.7sec in his Polo R on his final attempt.

Team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala moved to within 0.8sec of Ogier in his fifth and final pass with Kris Meeke completing the top three in Citroen's DS 3, a further 0.6sec further back.

"It's no secret that I would love to win this event. I have won the French rally already twice but never in Corsica and that's something I would like to change," said Ogier, who admitted pre-event testing had been targeted at the long stages which will be key to the outcome.

"In the tests we’ve been working on long distances to ensure the set-up of the car is adapted to that and to help us also to save the tyres, because this rally is about the driving style but also the set up. We have a long stage every day, with a lot of different sections where you must adapt the rhythm and adapt to the different conditions, so it’s a big challenge."

There was a three-way tie for fourth between Hyundai team-mates Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo, driving i20 World Rally Cars, and the DS 3 of Craig Breen.

click: wrc.com/corsica-shakedown



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Friday:

SS1 Acqua Doria - Albitreccia 1 (49.72 km)


Sebastien Ogier laid down the gauntlet to his rivals by winning the opening speed test at the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse on Friday morning.



Although he was briefly headed in the early splits by Kris Meeke and Thierry Neuville, Ogier completed the marathon 49.72km test south-east of Ajaccio 4.0sec faster than Meeke, and delivered a warning that there was more to come.

“It’s not so easy to find a rhythm,” said the Volkswagen Polo R driver. “I think my notes were a bit too slow and slowing me down a bit but maybe it’s better that way at the start of such a long rally.”

Meeke was 0.6sec faster at the opening split after 8.20km but a spin cost several seconds and the Ulsterman was delighted to net second fastest in Citroen’s DS 3.

“I spun at a hairpin not far into the stage. I immediately got back into the rhythm and without that time I would have been quickest. Not so bad on a dirty road,” he explained.

Dani Sordo was only 0.8sec behind Meeke in his Hyundai i20, the Spaniard struggling with understeer and brake issues near the finish. Team-mate Thierry Neuville reported similar problems en route to fourth, 4.0sec behind the Spaniard, the Belgian complaining that he could not commit to the apex of corners.

Fifth-placed Hayden Paddon lamented inconsistent pace notes that were too fast in places and too slow in others, while Jari-Matti Latvala was over-cautious and struggled to find a rhythm.

Andreas Mikkeslen was more than 20sec off Ogier’s pace in his Polo R, the Norwegian feeling his left foot had ‘gone to sleep’ due to a vibration feeding back through the brake pedal.

Conditions were dry and sunny, with temperatures forecast to climb to 26˚C this afternoon, and all the leading drivers opted for Michelin’s hard compound tyres for the opening two stages.

click: wrc.com/corsica-ss1/



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SS2 Plage du Liamone - Sarrola-Carcopino 1 (29.12 km)

A dominant Sebastien Ogier claimed a second consecutive stage win to increase his lead of the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse on Friday morning.



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 Citroen’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 Ostberg and Eric Camilli completed the leaderboard, ?stberg admitting he was ‘quite lucky’ after hitting rocks on the outside of a bend.

click: wrc.com/corsica-ss2/



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SS3 Acqua Doria - Albitreccia 2 (49.72 km)

Kris Meeke’s hopes of challenging Sebastien Ogier at the head of the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse leaderboard went flat after he stopped to change a puncture in Friday afternoon’s opening speed test.



Meeke started the second pass of the 49.72km marathon less than 15sec behind Ogier, and was tied with the Frenchman at the first split after 8.20km. However, a puncture on Citroen’s DS 3 forced Meeke to stop and replace the wheel.

He restarted seconds after team-mate Craig Breen passed and followed the Irishman to the finish, conceding 2min 27.2sec to Ogier and any realistic chance of victory.

“We had a puncture early on, no idea where,” said Meeke. “We decided to stop and restarted just after Craig went by. We caught him within another kilometre which was a bit frustrating. When the dust came up from his car I couldn’t see the road, but I didn’t want to disturb his rally.”

Ogier demoralised his rivals by winning the stage, his third consecutive fastest time, by 15.0sec in his Volkswagen Polo R. “It was very hot and the tyres were moving a lot. I tried to save them but I didn’t have a rhythm and couldn’t really push. It was tough but enjoyable,” he said.

Thierry Neuville was second fastest to replace Meeke in second overall in his Hyundai i20. He was happier with the handling and brakes than this morning but astonished at Ogier’s pace.

A revitalised Jari-Matti Latvala was third, despite fighting with the brakes in his Polo R for the final 20km. It propelled the Finn from seventh to fourth, 6.2sec behind Dani Sordo’s i20.

Craig Breen was distracted by glimpses of the chasing Meeke but moved up to sixth, relegating Hayden Paddon, who was also overtaken by Latvala and Mikkelsen. Paddon overheated the front tyres on his i20 shortly after the midpoint while Mikkelsen, like many, struggled with brake issues late in the stage in the high temperatures.

Mads Ostberg was overhauled by Eric Camilli after problems with the brake cooling in his Ford Fiesta RS, while Lorenzo Bertelli yielded more than four minutes with broken intercom.

click: wrc.com/corsica-ss3/



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SS4 Plage du Liamone - Sarrola-Carcopino 2

Sebastien Ogier completed a clean sweep of wins in Friday’s opening leg speed tests at the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse to build a strong lead in pursuit of his fourth world drivers’ title.



He won all four twisty and bumpy asphalt special stages on the Mediterranean island in a Volkswagen Polo R, completing the first of three days’ competition with a 44.0sec lead over Thierry Neuville’s Hyundai i20 after almost 160km of action.

Under clear skies and in high temperatures which demanded skilful tyre and brake management, Ogier showed a degree of caution but still opened a 14.7sec lead in this morning’s two stages in the mountains near Ajaccio. Victory in both tests when they were repeated put the Frenchman into a dominant position.

“We made no mistakes, a tough but enjoyable day,” he said. “I really enjoyed the beautiful stages and beautiful weather. Everything was there to enjoy a good rally day.”

Handling problems frustrated Neuville this morning. With the balance improved this afternoon, the Belgian was happier, despite overheating his tyres in the final speed test after attacking too hard.



Jari-Matti Latvala filled the final podium place in a Polo R, 14.0sec behind Neuville. A mix of set-up issues and an over-cautious approach left the Finn in seventh midway through the leg, but a much-improved afternoon catapulted him into third.

His advantage over fourth-placed team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen was 1.3sec. The Norwegian’s problems were mainly physical – his left foot ‘going to sleep’ due to a vibration feeding back through his Polo R’s brake pedal.

Craig Breen and Hayden Paddon completed the top six. Breen had a trouble-free day in Citroen’s DS 3 in contrast to Kiwi Paddon.

Inconsistent pace notes that were too fast in places and too slow in others sapped his confidence initially. Overheating tyres and two punctures in the final two stages added to his woes as he ended 7.5sec adrift of Irishman Breen.

Eric Camilli’s Ford Fiesta RS held seventh with WRC 2 leader Elfyn Evans, Dani Sordo and Mads Ostberg completing the leaderboard. Sordo was third until he dropped almost two minutes in the final stage changing a puncture.

Ogier’s closest challenger this morning was Kris Meeke. The Ulsterman held second until a puncture early in the penultimate stage required him to stop and change it and he ended in 11th.

After overnighting in Bastia, drivers face another 169.04km of bumpy mountain roads tomorrow, comprising two identical loops of two stages in the north of the island.

click: wrc.com/corsica-day-one-wrap




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Saturday:

SS5 La Porta - Valle di Rostino 1 (53.72 km)


Sebastien Ogier’s stage-winning run at the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse was finally broken on Saturday morning’s opening stage when Kris Meeke topped the times through the toughest speed test of this second leg.



Ogier won all four special stages yesterday but a stunning drive from Meeke enabled the Northern Irishman crush his rivals by a massive 17.0sec through the marathon 53.72km test.

“I really thought I was slow. The road was so dirty. Everything in my mind is focused on 2017 and if I can do that in this car, then it’s looking good for next year,” said the Citro?n DS 3 pilot, who climbed to eighth overall as he continued his recovery from yesterday’s puncture.

Andreas Mikkelsen also beat Ogier, the Norwegian 0.3sec quicker than his Volkswagen Polo R team-mate. He moved ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala, who struggled with his pace notes, into third but the effort took its toll.

“It’s the most tiring stage I’ve ever done, corner after corner after corner. It’s a proper challenge,” said Mikkelsen, who explained the difficulties of knowing how hard to push on such a long stage where tyre and brake management is so crucial.

Ogier lost time near the start after a mistake at a hairpin but still increased his lead over second-placed Thierry Neuville, who was sixth fastest in his Hyundai i20, to 52.6sec.

“I had a bad start. I was too cautious, too slippery maybe. I didn’t want to take too many risks because it’s a risky stage for punctures. I don’t need to push so I tried to drive cleanly,” he said.

Craig Breen was fourth despite believing his driving was ‘terrible’, while Hayden Paddon overheated his i20’s brakes in the opening 15km and had no confidence in his car’s stopping power for the final two-thirds of the test.

click: wrc.com/corsica-ss5/



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SS6 Novella - Pietralba 1 (30.80 km)

Team-mates Sebastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen tied at the top of the timesheets in Saturday’s second speed test at the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse, but there was disappointment for Kris Meeke who crashed out.

Both Volkswagen Polo R drivers reported an encounter with cows in the 30.80km test but Mikkelsen was not in the mood for slowing as he continued to close on Thierry Neuville in their battle for second.

“We saw some cows going into a blind corner on the entry. I was expecting the worst but kept my foot at full throttle and all was OK. I hit something a couple of times on the inside of a corner and was afraid I had a puncture but it was OK,” explained the Norwegian.

Ogier’s lead rose to 53.6sec as Neuville trailed the Polo pair by a second in the test. “When you’re not pushing at the limit sometimes you lose a bit of time, but that’s something I can afford. The road was very dirty with a lot of gravel so I was pretty careful,” Ogier said.

Meeke, who broke Ogier’s run of stage victories in the previous test, retired his Citroen DS 3 after hitting a tree 400 metres after the start (pictured below).



Neuville was happy and frustrated in equal measure, his Hyundai i20 handling well in narrow sections but less so on wider roads. The Belgian’s lead over Mikkelsen was down to 5.4sec.

Jari-Matti Latvala retained fourth overall ahead of Craig Breen, but was far from happy with his Polo R. “I’m not enjoying it. I can’t get the best confidence and I’m really struggling with the brakes. I can’t get a good feeling with the car and it’s annoying me,” said the Finn.

Hayden Paddon took one look at his seventh fastest time and declared: “It’s back to the drawing board. It’s not working this morning.” The Kiwi retained sixth however, with Eric Camilli, Dani Sordo, WRC 2 leader Elfyn Evans and Mads Ostberg completing the leaderboard.

click: wrc.com/corsica-ss6/



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SS7 La Porta - Valle di Rostino 2

The rain that has threatened to fall on the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse finally hit the mountain roads on Saturday afternoon to add to the difficulties posed by the twisty and bumpy asphalt speed tests.

Tyre selection was the big talking point as competitors left the Bastia service park for the afternoon’s two tests. All the leading drivers fitted four hard compound dry weather tyres and while the early starters cleared the opening stage in the dry, those further down the running order had to contend with wet roads.

S?bastien Ogier was quickest by 5.9sec from Thierry Neuville to increase his advantage to almost a minute. The Volkswagen Polo R driver was relieved to have avoided the rain.

“The stage was completely dry. We had some rain just before the start and it was on the limit but in the stage it was OK. We went on the safe side by taking two soft tyres as spares,” he explained.

Neuville was buoyed by a new rear differential fitted to his Hyundai i20 at the mid-leg service. “I had a very good stage. The change hasn’t made a big difference to the car but at the entry to corners I have a bit more turn-in and that’s what I wanted,” said the Belgian.

He was 5.4sec faster than Andreas Mikkelsen to increase the gap between the battling pair to 10.8sec. The Norwegian reckoned he pushed his Polo R too hard at the start of the stage because he was losing grip in the final kilometres.

Fourth for Dani Sordo promoted the Spaniard into seventh ahead of Eric Camilli, with Jari-Matti Latvala and Hayden Paddon completing the top six in the stage.

Latvala continued to struggle with the brakes in his Polo R, having changed the brake system since the previous round in Germany last month, while a frustrated Paddon remained unhappy with his driving.

click: wrc.com/corsica-ss7/



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SS8 Novella - Pietralba 2

Sebastien Ogier remained firmly in control of the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse after a risk-free strategy during Saturday’s second leg.



He won two of the four mountain road speed tests near Bastia during the longest leg of the arduous three-day asphalt event. But as conditions deteriorated late in the day, the Frenchman measured his pace and will take a 46.5sec lead into Sunday’s finale.

After winning all four of Friday’s special stages, Ogier’s run ended in the opening test. He bounced back to win the next two, widening his lead to just under a minute, before throttling back in the rain to end with a comfortable advantage.

With just two wet weather soft compound Michelin tyres available, Ogier mixed them with two hard compound tyres in a crossover pattern to provide maximum grip on the wet asphalt.

“I just wanted to finish the day in the tricky conditions,” he explained. “It was really cruising for us. Crossing the tyres means that the car oversteers on one side and understeers on the other, but at least we had some traction and brake performance in the wet.”

Thierry Neuville was second, winning the final stage despite a scare when his Hyundai i20 slid wide onto some stones. The Belgian improved his car’s handling by modifying the differential in the mid-leg service and distanced Andreas Mikkelsen in their fight for second.



The Norwegian was only 5.4sec behind at Saturday’s midpoint in his Polo R, but the gap increased to 21.5sec. Mikkelsen narrowly escaped clipping some cows this morning and admitted overheating his tyres and losing grip in the penultimate test.

Day-long brake problems frustrated Jari-Matti Latvala, who succumbed to Mikkelsen’s pace and yielded third in the opening test. He trailed by more half a minute but had over 20sec in hand over Craig Breen, the Irishman excelling on his asphalt World Rally Car debut.

Hayden Paddon retained sixth, but the New Zealander was deeply unsatisfied with his driving. Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo recovered to seventh after yesterday’s puncture, and Ford Fiesta trio Eric Camilli, Mads Østberg and WRC 2 leader Elfyn Evans completed the leaderboard.

Kris Meeke stopped Ogier’s winning run by topping the times in the opening stage. However, his day ended early when he was caught out by a tightening bend 400 metres into the next test, having speeded up his pace notes, and slid into a tree.

Sunday’s finale comprises just two stages but has a sting in the tail. The opening 53.78km test is the longest of the weekend and the rally ends with the live TV Power Stage, offering bonus points to the fastest three drivers.

click: wrc.com/corsica-day-2/



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Sunday:

SS9 Antisanti - Poggio di Nazza (53.78 km)


Championship leader Sebastien Ogier closed on his maiden Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse victory after easing through Sunday morning’s longest speed test of the three-day event.



Restarting with a 46.5sec lead, Ogier took no risks in the marathon 53.78km special stage south of Bastia on roads still wet after heavy overnight rain. The Frenchman was sixth quickest in his Volkswagen Polo R to head for the final live TV Power Stage 43.8sec clear.

“It’s tricky with damp in the stage. Like yesterday, when it starts to be tricky we calm down. When you’re in this position, you want to get to the finish as soon as you can,” he said.

Kris Meeke, starting first in the order in Citroen’s DS 3 after yesterday’s retirement, blitzed the stage to win by a massive 35.3sec from Hayden Paddon.

“It was damp in a lot of places. I really concentrated in keeping heat in the tyres so that when we arrived at the damp sections we had something there to give us grip,” said Meeke.

Fourth fastest and a clear run for Thierry Neuville was sufficient to retain a comfortable 27.3sec advantage over Andreas Mikkelsen, both keen not to take risks.

After rally-long brake problems, Jari-Matti Latvala fitted different pads to his Volkswagen Polo R, and changed the anti-roll bars and suspension springs in an effort to find a better feeling. “I didn’t have any problems with the brakes. The changes were something of an experiment and although we had understeer, we’re not too far away,” said the Finn.

Latvala remained clear of Craig Breen, who was annoyed with himself. “It was horrific. I used pace notes from last year and it was a stupid mistake. There were 20km in the middle that were really fast but the notes were too slow. When you lose the rhythm it’s difficult to get it back,” he explained.

Lorenzo Bertelli’s disappointing weekend continued when the Italian dropped six minutes after changing a puncture on his Ford Fiesta RS and then losing his place in the pace notes.

click: wrc.com/corsica-ss9/



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SS10 Porto-Vecchio - Palombaggia (Power Stage) (10.42 km)

Sebastien Ogier won the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse for the first time on Sunday after leading the three-day Mediterranean island classic from start to finish.



The Frenchman was unchallenged over almost 400km of Corsica’s bumpy asphalt mountain roads. After dominating the opening leg to build a comfortable lead, he measured his pace in wet conditions to win by 46.4sec in a Volkswagen Polo R.

Thierry Neuville maintained his strong recent form to finish second in a Hyundai i20, with Andreas Mikkelsen third in another Polo R, a further 23.6sec behind.

Kris Meeke won the final live TV Power Stage to claim three bonus points in a Citroen DS 3. Mikkelsen took two points for second while Ogier secured the final point.



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Next Rnd 12 - RACC Rally Spain - Oct 13-16




Official website: rallyracc.com/2016/en/

Listen Live: wrc.com/live_popup_radio

WRC+ : Live Stages/Live Maps/Onboard Action/Full Highlights plus.wrc.com/


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