This year, the French stop of the series features a heavily revised route that spans most of the Mediterranean island and will enjoy its biggest entry for four years.
On Round Four of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship, 96 crews will take on the twists and turns of the CORSICA Linea – Tour de Corse (28-31 March). This year, the French stop of the series features a heavily revised route that spans most of the Mediterranean island and will enjoy its biggest entry for four years.
The challenge remains the same as ever, presenting the drivers with narrow and winding mountain roads formed of rough and abrasive asphalt. The frequency of corners test drivers and co-drivers, while higher-than-average stage lengths add to the stress on the crews and the tyres.
For his home round of the championship, which he won on four consecutive occasions between 2005 and 2008, Sébastien Loeb is back after not making the trip to Mexico and it is Andreas Mikkelsen this time who gives way in the Hyundai line-up. After three rounds, Toyota’s Ott Tänak remains the championship leader but has Citroën’s Sébastien Ogier, last year’s Corsica winner, breathing down his neck following his Mexico triumph with only four points between them. Thierry Neuville, the Tour de Corse winner in 2017, is only six points further back in third place.
Kalle Rovanperä will face Łukasz Pieniążek in the FIA WRC 2 Pro category, alongside a large entry in FIA WRC 2 featuring competitors from not less than ten countries including a number of national rally talents. Rally Monte-Carlo class winner Yohann Bonato will aim to take another win but he will face stiff competition on the Corsican roads. The Tour de Corse is also the second round of the FIA Junior WRC Championship after Rally Sweden, with thirteen entrants that will line-up at the start in Porto-Vecchio, as well as the second round of the the FIA RGT Cup after Monte-Carlo.
All of the stages can be watched live on WRC All Live on WRC+, with two stages additionally broadcast live on television: SS11 (Desert des Agriates 2) and the rally-ending SS14, Calvi Power Stage.
THE 2019 ROUTE
80 per cent of the Tour de Corse route is different to 2018. Much of the new mileage comes on Friday in the south of the island, following a ceremonial start in Porto-Vecchioon Thursday evening. Two loops of three stages will be tackled before the first service of the rally on Friday evening in Bastia.
Over half of the total of 347.51 competitive kilometres will be driven on Saturday, which features the only two stages carried over from last year and takes in the island’s northernmost Cap Corse tip. On Sunday, the rally will finish for the first time in Calvi on the north-west coast following two nearby stages, with the Power Stage concluding just a couple of kilometres out of town.
347.51 km (29.10%)
Number of stages: 14