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WRC Corsica: Evans put back into lead after delay behind Meeke

Tour of Corsica stewards have returned Elfyn Evans to the lead of the rally after he lost time catching Kris Meeke on the final Friday stage

Evans took the lead of France's World Rally Championship round on the first stage of the afternoon and looked set to remain out front overnight.

But the M-Sport Ford driver caught Meeke's ailing Toyota around two miles from the finish of the Alta-Rocca stage.

The road narrows towards the end of the route and Evans was unable to find a way past Meeke, who was unaware the Ford was behind him.

Evans stopped the SS6 clocks 10s down on Ott Tanak, which would have meant him starting Saturday five seconds behind the championship-leading Estonian's Toyota and in third place behind Thierry Neuville.

Having viewed onboard footage from Evans's Ford Fiesta WRC, the stewards have now credited Evans with the same time as Tanak.

That means Evans leads Tanak by 4.5s at the end of day one.

M-Sport team principal Rich Millener told Autosport: "We asked the stewards for Tanak's time and that's what we've got.

"There's no feeling that Kris did this on purpose - Elfyn said that at the end of the stage. It's just one of those things."

Meeke, who was slow through the stage due to rear suspension damage, immediately apologised to Evans at the stop line.

"Seb [Marshall, co-driver] and I had a conversation at the start and thought Elfyn would get a three-minute gap behind us," Meeke explained.

"I'm sorry for Elfyn, I don't want to get involved in the race for the lead."

Saturday's second day of Tour of Corsica takes the crews into one of the longest legs of the season with 108 competitive miles in six stage.

It also contains the event's longest test - the 30-mile Castagniccia stage - with some feeling a particularly broken and gravelly section in the middle could prove decisive in the outcome of the event.

Evans will start last on the road of the World Rally Car runners, courtesy of start order regulations that reverse the rally classification for Saturday and Sunday.

Leading positions after SS6

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Elfyn Evans, S.Martin M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 1h09m39.6s
2 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 4.5s
3 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 9.8s
4 Dani Sordo, C.del Barrio Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 26.1s
5 Teemu Suninen, M.Salminen M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 30.9s
6 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia Citroen Total WRT Citroen 36.3s
7 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Citroen Total WRT Citroen 46.3s
8 Sebastien Loeb, D.Elena Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 2m27.9s
9 Eric Camilli, F-X.Buresi Eric Camilli Volkswagen 2m46.4s
10 Yoann Bonato, B.Boulloud Yoann Bonato Citroen 3m06.4s


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