WRC Rallye de France Day 1 Highlights


Reigning FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb heads the leaderboard of his home round of the Championship, Rallye de France Alsace, after the first full day of competition.

The Frenchman holds a 13.1 second advantage over Jari-Matti Latvala after being pushed hard by the Ford driver. Mikko Hirvonen is third for Citroën but in a close-fought battle with Petter Solberg.

Rallye de France Alsace got underway last night with an all-new super special stage run around the European Parliament in the streets of Strasbourg. Here, Thierry Neuville took honours in front of a crowd of thousands, but it was today when the crews headed into the Vosges mountains in eastern France for a day of competition over tricky asphalt roads that required considered tyre choices.

Today’s route has taken in two identical loops of three stages, split by just a 15 minute remote service in Colmar, before the day was rounded off by a short street stage in Mulhouse. While Loeb has led since the first stage this morning, he immediately came under pressure from Latvala, the Finn buoyed after his best-ever result on Tarmac in Germany just a few weeks ago.

And, in the final stage of the first loop, Latvala finally took the stage victory to come within 7.5 seconds of the lead. This afternoon Loeb conceded another two stages to Latvala, leaving the rivals 13.1 seconds adrift after 150 kilometres of competition.

Mikko Hirvonen ran as high as second this morning but has settled in third, while Solberg has bounced back from a difficult morning to hold fourth, just seven-tenths of a seconds behind the Finn.

Dani Sordo holds fifth in the MINI John Cooper Works WRC while Belgium’s up-and-coming young driver Thierry Neuville has slipped back to sixth.

Rallye de France Alsace after Day 1 – Provisional Results

1. Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Citroën DS3 WRC) 1hr 17min 32.6sec
2. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +13.1
3. Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (Citroën DS3 WRC) +32.6
4. Petter Solberg/Chris Patterson (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +33.3
5. Dani Sordo/Carlos Del Barrio (MINI Cooper Works WRC) +48.8
6. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Citroën DS3 WRC) +55.4
7. Mads Ostberg/Jonas Andersson (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:00.3
8. Ott Tänak/Kuldar Sikk (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:22.4
9. Evgeny Novikov/Ilka Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:35.9
10. Sébastien Chardonnet/T de la Haye (Citroën DS3 WRC) +2:51.0


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