Jari-Matti Latvala won the WRC Rally of France today at the Tour de Corse 2015, his second consecutive win in France. The Finnish driver claimed his first victory last year where the event was held in Alsace. This was the first time since 2008 that Tour de Corse was added to the FIA World Rally Championship.
The French round faced heavy rains that led to the cancellation of two stages including Saturday’s opening stage. Landslides destroyed part of the stages making them impenetrable. Nonetheless, there was unlimited action from the likes of Robert Kubica who led in the first stages alongside the 2015 World Champion Sebastien Ogier.
Ogier retired on Friday after his VW Polo R WRC suffered gear shift problems. Efforts to revive the car over the phone failed forcing the newly crowned champion to drop out of the competition. As if that was not enough, the duo failed to press the “OK” button after stopping to fix a puncture. This resulted to a fine of 10,000 euros to be paid by Volkswagen Motorsport.
Elsewhere, after a healthy start and promising lead, Robert Kubica retired after five stages when his Ford Fiesta RS suffered two punctures. Elfyn Evans was in the lead in his Ford Fiesta RS when Latvala started to close in on him. By Saturday, Latvala had managed to turn things around and take the lead away from Evans.
Despite suffering a late gearbox issue in his VW Polo R on Saturday, Latvala managed to change into manual gearshift system and fend off Evans at the same time. By Sunday, the Finn had extended his lead over Evans who was under high pressure from another Polo R WRC of Andreas Mikkelsen. After intense racing through Sunday’s stages, Latvala crossed the line first leading Evans and Mikkelsen.
An overjoyed Latvala said, “We’ve not had to push to the maximum at any point, but it was a faultless drive in difficult conditions. After winning last year, I have now done it again in Corsica and it’s important for me to show I can be competitive on all surfaces.”
Kris Meeke finished fourth in his Citroen DS3 leading Hayden Paddon in a Hyundai i20 – the latter had climbed from 15th place to finish fifth. Mads Ostberg claimed sixth ahead of Dani Sordo, Bryan Bouffier, Stéphane Sarrazin and Ott Tänak.
Spain will host the penultimate round of the season – the RACC Catalunya in Costa Daurada. This is the only mixed surface event in the current season and will take place on October 25.