Dani Sordo grabs early lead in France!
But the big story of the day is for Sébastien Ogier
The Rallye de France Alsace began on Thursday evening with a super special stage held in the streets of Strasbourg. Dani Sordo set the fastest time to claim the three bonus points awarded to the winner of the Power Stage.
Quickest in the shakedown, Dani Sordo had said he felt confident in his DS3 WRC. The recent winner of Rallye Deutschland confirmed his good form by going fastest on the opening 4.65km super special stage: “Everything went perfectly for us today, but it’s nothing like what awaits us tomorrow. We have an excellent base to build on and try and secure a great result this weekend. Congratulations to Sébastien Ogier for winning the title. He has had a magnificent season, setting times that have occasionally beggared belief for his challengers!”
Dani’s performance effectively sealed the outcome of the Drivers’ World Championship, as it prevented Thierry Neuville from obtaining the perfect score he needed to keep his slim hopes alive. Sébastien Ogier could therefore celebrate his first world title before he had even started the first stage proper!
Mikko Hirvonen also made an excellent start to his rally with the fourth fastest time: “Above all else, I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to Sébastien Ogier. He has been so dominant this season that you have to say the title has gone to the right man. Of course, it won’t stop me from going for the win in the next few days! The stage went well, and I’m pleased with the balance of the car. I just have a nasty chest infection which is making it difficult for me to speak clearly!”
Competing in his DS3 WRC, which is sporting a special livery for his final WRC appearance, Sébastien Loeb finished seventh in this opening test. “It could have been better. A bit like last year, I made a few mistakes on the tight corners and through the chicanes. In any case, this is not my favourite type of stage,” summed up the nine-time World Champion, who also congratulated his successor. “Sébastien really deserves his title. He couldn’t have done much better this year, as he has secured the title with three rallies still to go. Congratulations to him and his team; they developed a reliable and fast car very quickly.”
The race continues tomorrow, with six stages taking the competitors into the hills of the Vosges. SS2 is due to start at 9.18am.
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