Neuville leads in Corsica for Hyundai

At the end of the first full day of action on the Tour of Corsica, the French round of the World Rally Championship, Thierry Neuville leads after Sebastien Ogier encountered hydraulic problems. On the first stage of the afternoon, M-Sport Ford Fiesta driver Ogier took six seconds out of Hyundai's Neuville in the battle for the lead.

However on the next stage, SS8, Ogier had trouble with gearshifts and his car was rear-wheel-drive only, leaving the Frenchman to do his best not to lose too much time. Neuville then went quickest of all while his rival suffered, extending his lead to 38.9s with two stages to go. He'd taken the lead after Citroen's Kris Meeke had retired from the lead with an engine problem. His Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo is third, some 18.8s behind Ogier. Jari-Matti Latvala showed newfound pace in his Toyota and still remains within striking distance of Sordo, 11.7s behind. A change to the rear diff meant the Finn was much more comfortable with the Yaris in the afternoon.

Not for the first time this season, Craig Breen is the highest-placed Citroen with his two team-mates having retired. The Irishman didn't take any risks and continues to get seat time in the 2017 car after missing the previous round, and is only 2.8s behind Latvala at the end of the day.

Hayden Paddon is the last WRC car in the gaggle of leaders. Paddon was happier with his car in the afternoon loop, but lies half-a-minute behind Breen. Andreas Mikkelsen leads WRC2 by over a minute in his Skoda Fabia R5, with M-Sport Fiesta R5 driver Teemu Suninen in the order. Citroen's Stephane Lefebvre and DMACK's Elfyn Evans both crashed out of contention during Saturday morning.

Top Ten Positions after SS8:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Motorsport 2h44m10.2s
2 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport World Rally Team 38.9s
3 Dani Sordo, M.Marti Hyundai Motorsport 57.7s
4 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing 1m09.4s
5 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi 1m12.2s
6 Hayden Paddon, J.Kennard Hyundai Motorsport 1m43.8s
7 Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Skoda Motorsport Skoda 6m21.7s
8 Teemu Suninen, M.Markkula Sport World Rally Team Ford 7m29.6s
9 Stephane Sarrazin, J-J.Renucci Sarrazin Motorsport Skoda 7m46.8s
10 Yohan Rossel, B.Fulcrand Citroen 9m56.5s

8th April, 2017