What a result! What a weekend! And what a performance from Thierry and Nicolas! Our Belgian crew claimed top honours in Tour de Corse with a stunning drive to triumph in the fourth round of the season.
After the heartbreak of Monte-Carlo and Sweden, we were determined not to take anything for granted. So it was only when the #5 i20 WRC Coupe, in its first tarmac rally, crossed the flying finish of the Power Stage could we allow ourselves to celebrate. They’d done it!
This win is ours!
“It’s an amazing feeling to take the win here in Corsica,” said an ecstatic Thierry at the end of the rally. “The team has been so supportive of me since those first two rallies, I am really happy to repay them with this result. This win is ours!”
Our Team Principal Michel was equally delighted. “Thierry and Nicolas have had a great weekend, showing their resilience after a tricky start,” he said. “Scoring four stage wins and demonstrating their resolve while others struggled allowed them to hit their stride. They thoroughly deserve this result.”
The Corsica win marked our fourth victory in WRC, as well as our fifth double podium result with Dani and Marc finishing third.
Our Spaniards started the day in the hunt for third but quickly found themselves in a scrap for second after Sébastien Ogier hit trouble in the long 53.78km Antisanti – Poggio di Nazza stage. It came down to a thrilling fight in the Power Stage.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for Dani and Marc as they were pipped by just 1.3 seconds. Still, there were plenty of reasons to cheer as they scored their first podium of the season – and two consolation points for finishing fourth in the Power Stage.
“We knew it would be hard to hold onto second,” admitted Dani. “We pushed as hard as we could and I am still happy to be on the podium. It has been a strange event, almost a lottery at times. Our target was to defend third place, and we did that comfortably so I would say it is mission accomplished.”
It was a slightly more subdued end to the rally for Hayden and John, as they retained sixth place. “Our focus was simply on bringing the car home and scoring a few points,” said Hayden. “It’s been a frustrating weekend but we have to find the positives.”
All good things…
WRC has now had different winners in the opening four rounds of 2017, making for an exciting Championship. Our points today have moved us up into second on the standings, just 24 points behind M-Sport World Rally Team. Meanwhile, Thierry is now third on the Drivers’ classification.
The win for Thierry and Nicolas was particularly poignant as Corsica was their first victory as a crew back in 2011. For our team, Tour de Corse victory comes as the result of a determined push with our new car this season – and some patience.
“They say that all good things come to those who wait,” reflected Michel. “We have been working so hard for this result all season. I hope it’s the first of many more to come.”
The next round of the WRC takes place in Argentina 27-30 April, where we celebrated success with Hayden and John twelve months ago. Who knows what the next chapter of the 2017 season will hold. Stay tuned!
Final Overall Classification – Tour de Corse
1 T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 3:22:53.4
2 S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +54.7
3 D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +56.0
4 J. M. Latvala / M. Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1:09.6
5 C. Breen / S. Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) +1:09.7
6 H. Paddon / J. Kennard (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2:16.3
7 A. Mikkelsen / A. Jaeger (Škoda Fabia R5) +8:10.7
8 T. Suninen / M. Markkula (Ford Fiesta R5) +9:17.0
9 S. Sarrazin / J. J. Renucci (Škoda Fabia R5) +9:23.6
10 Y. Rossel / B. Fulcrand (Citroën DS3 R5) +12:57.1
2017 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
After round 4
1 S. Ogier 88
2 J.M Latvala 75
3 T. Neuville 54
4 O. Tanak 48
5 D. Sordo 47
6 C. Breen 33
7 K. Meeke 27
8 H. Paddon 25
9 E. Evans 20
10 A. Mikkelsen 12
11 S. Lefebvre 10
12 J. Hänninen 9
2017 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
After round 4
1 M-Sport World Rally Team 129
2 Hyundai Motorsport 105
3 Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC 79
4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 71