SÉBASTIEN OGIER AND JULIEN INGRASSIA (FORD/MICHELIN) PICKED UP THEIR THIRD VICTORY OF THE 2018 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP IN CORSICA. THE FRENCHMEN WERE JOINED ON THE PODIUM BY OTT TANAK (TOYOTA/MICHELIN) AND THIERRY NEUVILLE (HYUNDAI/MICHELIN).
The 2018 Tour de Corse saw Ogier followed up his earlier wins in Monte Carlo and Mexico with a no-nonsense victory on the campaign’s first pure asphalt fixture to consolidate his lead in the Drivers’ standings with a quarter of the season completed.
The Frenchman produced a dominating display on Day 1 to pull more than half-a-minute clear by Friday evening, while long-time rival Sébastien Loeb (Citroën/Michelin) crashed out of contention on SS2. The long-awaited clash between the French stars failed to materialise, therefore, but the nine-time world champion went on to post three fastest times after re-joining under the Rally2 ruling.
Meanwhile, Ogier managed from in front at the wheel of his Ford Fiesta RS WRC/Michelin to collect his second Tour de Corse victory and Ford/Michelin’s fourth with as many different models since 1973.
The scrap for the other podium places produced a thrilling contest between last year’s victor Neuville, Kris Meeke (Citroën/Michelin) and Toyota Yaris WRC/Michelin’s Tanak and Esapekka Lappi. Citroën’s Ulsterman was eliminated by a crash on Saturday afternoon (his third ‘off’ on the same stage in as many years!), but Tanak concluded Leg 2 in second spot, a tenth of a second safe of Neuville. The Estonian then pulled out a decisive gap on Sunday morning’s long SS11 (55km), before sealing the deal on the Power Stage.
Despite the sunny weather, the event wasn’t without drama for several drivers, including Andreas Mikkelsen (Hyundai/Michelin), Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota/Michelin, accident), Elfyn Evans (Ford/Michelin) and even Dani Sordo who ended up fourth in his Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC/Michelin.
Skoda/Michelin took the spoils again in WRC2 thanks to Jan Kopecky. The Czech specialist was followed home by Yoann Bonato who gave the new Citroën C3 R5/Michelin a successful debut outing.