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OGIER EXTENDS TOUR DE CORSE LEAD

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia continue to lead this weekend’s Tour de Corse. Combining impressive speed with control and intelligence, the pairing not only maintained but increased their advantage – demonstrating the performance of the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC on the event’s legendary asphalt stages.

Elfyn Evans and Phil Mills have climbed to sixth place overall – locked in an intense battle with Dani Sordo for fifth. Rising to the challenge in less than ideal circumstances, the Welshmen are building their confidence and have every chance of improving their position tomorrow.

But there was less good fortune for Bryan Bouffier and Xavier Panseri. Having delivered a strong performance on only their second appearance with the top-specification Fiesta, the Frenchmen had been challenging their vastly more experienced rivals before being forced to retire with an engine issue.

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

“It’s been another perfect day from Sébastien and Julien. After some stunning speed yesterday, they’ve delivered a very measured performance today – not taking any risks and confirming their notes on these new stages. They’ve managed to increase their advantage, but you can never relax – especially with two more challenging stages to come tomorrow.

“Elfyn and Phil are getting more and more comfortable with one another and we saw a good improvement from them this afternoon. For sure Elfyn knows what he has to try and do tomorrow – and that’s to try and bring home fifth place. He’s certainly capable of it, and it would be a fantastic result given the circumstances this weekend.

“I think Bryan and Xavier can be really proud of their performance this weekend. They were improving with every stage and challenging those with a lot more experience – so it was a real shame to see them retire from the rally. I certainly hope to see them back behind the wheel of the Fiesta WRC soon.”

 

OGIER AND INGRASSIA
FIRST AFTER TEN STAGES

Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia continue to impress at this weekend’s Tour de Corse – not only maintaining but extending their advantage at the head of the field.

Showcasing the speed and performance of the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC with some stunning times through the opening day of competition, the pairing consolidated their position with a highly controlled and intelligent drive today.

Despite not needing to take risks through the island’s notoriously challenging terrain, Ogier has extended his lead to 44.5 seconds with just two stages left to contest – 71.42 71.42 kilometres all that stands in the way of his third win of the year.

Stage performances:

SS5: 4th (+5.9)
SS6: 3rd (+1.4)
SS7: 2nd (+2.7)
SS8: 2nd (+5.2)
SS9: 5th (+3.8)
SS10: 8th (+8.1)

Sébastien Ogier (1st) said:

“It's been a long, but good day for us. Whereas yesterday we were just driving flat-out, today has been a bit more difficult as we’ve had to think a bit more about our approach. I tried to keep a good rhythm of course, but at the same time I didn’t want to take too many risks. We still managed to extend our lead on every stage, and I’m really pleased with that.

“There’s still a long way to go with the longest stage of the whole rally to come. We’ve had a good feeling all weekend so I hope to finish like that tomorrow. We won’t push to the maximum as our target is to cross the finish line – but it’s never over until it’s over.”

 

EVANS AND MILLS
SIXTH AFTER TEN STAGES

The special relationship between a driver and co-driver is developed and perfected over time. At this weekend’s Tour de Corse, Elfyn Evans and Phil Mills had just six runs through the Shakedown stage to perfect their new relationship aboard the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC.

Tackling the challenge head on, the pairing excelled in the face of adversity and were running as high as fifth overall through yesterday’s stages. As the route turned to more unfamiliar terrain today, Evans might have struggled to find the sweet spot in his rhythm, but continued to show good progress throughout the day.

With 71.42 competitive kilometres left to contest, just 3.1 seconds separate the Welshman from regaining a highly commendable fifth-place finish this weekend.

Stage performances:

SS5: 9th (+17.0)
SS6: 8th (+7.5)
SS7: 11th (+11.6)
SS8: 6th (+14.5)
SS9: 8th (+8.5)
SS10: 5th (+4.0)

Elfyn Evans (6th) said:

“We didn’t have the best of mornings, and I felt as though I was a bit too hesitant in places. It wasn’t anything major, but it soon adds up. We made some improvements in the afternoon and I was feeling a lot more comfortable in the car. The relationship with Phil has gelled quite a lot better today too and we’ve seen some promising times which bodes well for tomorrow.”

 

BOUFFIER AND PANSERI
DNF AT TOUR DE CORSE

Taking to the wheel of the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC for only the second time in competition, Bryan Bouffier and Xavier Panseri didn’t let their inexperience hold them back – challenging their more seasoned rivals throughout the weekend.

Experience is everything in rallying, but Bouffier showed his potential – a fifth fastest time through the first pass of ‘Piedigriggio - Pont de Casirla’ (SS2) seeing the Frenchman outperform a number of considerably more experienced drivers.

Increasing their confidence and speed with every stage, the pairing made good progress before an engine issue put paid to their efforts. With the issue proving terminal, Bouffier will go no further this weekend, but should take pride in his admirable performance at the Tour de Corse.

Stage performances:

SS5: 11th (+24.8)
SS6: 11th (+10.3)
SS7: 9th (+9.2)
SS8: DNF
SS9: DNS
SS10: DNS

Bryan Bouffier said:

“I’m disappointed for sure, but this is part of motorsport and we know it can happen. I was happy with my pace as this car is still quite new to me and I have a lot of things still to improve and understand. In this context it was very good to see some good times and I really hope that we can do some more kilometres with this amazing car.”

 

OVERALL
CLASSIFICATION

1. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 2:43:07.7
2. Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +44.5
3. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +44.6
4. Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +54.9
5. Dani Sordo / Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1:46.7
6. Elfyn Evans / Phil Mills (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1:49.8
7. Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2:13.5
8. Jan Kopecky / Pavel Dresler (Skoda Fabia R5) +8:22.9
9. Yoann Bonato / Benjamin Boulloud (Citroen C3 R5) +9:47.3
10. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (Citroen C3 WRC) +10:41.4