Don’t forget to see the 2019 Tour de Corse Analysis.
Tour De Corse Headlines
- Ogier’s Finest Performance of 2018
- Perfect Weekend for Ogier
- Loeb threw away certain Podium and possible win
- Meeke likely to have finished 3rd but for big off
- Lappi’s impressive pace could have been podium but for puncture
- Hyundai’s not suitable for Corsica
Sebastien Ogier – Winner
Sebastien Ogier put in his best pace and performance of the season in Corsica to win although he was never challenged from the end of Stage 2. There is no doubt looking at the stage times and his pace line that he dominated Rally Corsica. Sebastien won the first three stages, after which he held a lead of over half a minute. The rest of the rally was about managing that lead without risking too much. With long stages it would be easy to drop time quickly by coasting round but the times still had to be good. He wouldn’t win any more stages but his lead would increase through Saturday until he could begin to ease.
Stage 11 was little more than a drive to the start of the Power Stage at Penitencier de Coti-Chiavari. The rally leader wouldn’t gamble the win but still managed to score points, losing time only to Sebastien Loeb and Esapekka Lappi, two others of the Rally’s fastest drivers. If Sebastien could have planned this rally it would have turned out much like this. This was an untouchable, impeccable and outstanding performance.
He finished Rally Corsica just 45.8 seconds down on the fastest times set. This was his best performance of the season. Although another driver would go on to beat that pace in another rally!
Ott Tanak – Second
By the end of Friday Ott Tanak wouldn’t have looked likely for a podium. His car and confidence had not been up to the standards of the others, but he quickly turned that round. He put in some great pace through much of Saturday and Sunday, winning two stages and trumping Neville and Meeke for a gain of two positions.
Thierry Neuville – Third
Thierry Neuville would have a disappointing weekend which he would mostly put down to various issues of his car. Thierry would post no top times, but he had the skill and fight with Meeke for second place at, least until Tanak fought back. As was the case in Mexico, Thierry would not have a bad weekend, but would leave wondering what could have been had his car been set up to his liking. Though Thierry would say he had done the ‘maximum he could’, if you play ‘what if?’ you can also say he could have finished behind Loeb, Meeke and Lappi.
Those Who Lost a Podium
Sebastien Loeb posted a brilliant time on the opening stage to show he was the best of the pack other than Ogier. He then went on to slide off the road on Stage 2 which cost him a certain podium, if you assume he would have kept the pace up for all of Friday’s stages like the opener. Had he not have retired he would have given Ogier the battle for the win, the exact same scenario that could have played out in Mexico too. However World Championship level rallying does not allow such mistakes. A frustrated Loeb would go on to set 3 fastest times on Saturday in what could only be a show run. A belting Power Stage time earned him a consolation prize of 4 points. Championship points he didn’t need that would deny contending team mate Meeke 1.
Kris Meeke would likely have finished just behind Ott Tanak and stepped on the podium but for his off on Stage 10. A simple mistake by co-driver Paul Nagle in reading the severity of a corner meant they were out for the day. Restarting under Rally2, Kris was able to get back into the points and finish 9th. Extra points would come via the Power Stage though with no help from Loeb. Kris’s overall Rally Corsica pace was not as great as Ogier or Lappi’s, but like Neuville he managed to keep up there for most of the rally. However it would be another rally defined by another off road incident.
Esapekka Lappi was another driver who could have missed a podium position. His rally was ruined by a wide line in a corner that resulted in a puncture on Stage 11. Changing the wheel cost EP about two minutes and three positions. His pace on the Saturday and Power Stage suggest that had he won this stage he would have gained a position off Thierry. His confidence in the car setup was not high on Friday, something that was clearly corrected for Saturday. He set four fastest times over the remaining stages and has a near flat pace line for most of the other stages. One mistake on one corner of the 10,000 that make up Corsica cost Esapekka 3 positions, 7 championship points and a bottle of champagne.
Neither Dani Sordo or Andreas Mikkelsen could dial a workable setup to their Hyundai i20 to give them the confidence to push. Like Thierry Neuville, they would not feel confident on the road for most of the weekend. This is probably more true for Mikkelsen as he span on the first hairpin of the first stage. Fortunately for Sordo others would fall lifting him to an overall 4th.
Elfyn Evans had a guest co-driver as Dan Barritt sat out the round recovering from the accident in Mexico. However for all Phil Mills’ World Champion experience, Elfyn would be another driver unable to put in top times all weekend.
Jari-Matti Latvala wasn’t having a great Tour de Corse either before a collision with a tree on Stage 8 ended his rally. Had he stayed in the rally, he may have been able to battle with Evans and Sordo for fourth place, but certainly no higher.
Please note, penalties have been applied between the final stage and the overall time in the charts, this will be fixed for 2019.
If you would like to read more WRC Rally Pace reviews, you can also check out:
- Rallye Monte Carlo 2018
- Rally Sweden 2018
- Rally Mexico 2018
- Tour de Corse 2018
- Rally Argentina 2018
- Rally Portugal 2018
I will be following this review up in preparation for the 2019 season with reviews of all rallies in 2018. You can subscribe below or follow me on Twitter for notifications of new posts @PushingPace. If you enjoy the wider rally discussion I’m @WRCStan. Please let me know any comments, opinions or mistakes too.
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