WRC Corsica: Volkswagen's Ogier leads Meeke after first morning

Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier quickly established a comfortable lead on the first morning of the French round of the World Rally Championship in Corsica

WRC Corsica: Volkswagen's Ogier leads Meeke after first morning

A tight battle looked possible after the 30-mile Acqua Doria - Albitreccia stage that opened the rally, as Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo stayed within 4.8 seconds of Ogier's pace.

Thierry Neuville had also matched the world champion for much of the stage before fading brakes led to a poor final sector.

But Ogier suggested at the end of SS1 that his pace notes had been too conservative and he raised his game on the next stage, Plage du Liamone - Sarrola-Carcopino.

A time 8s quicker than second-quickest man Neuville on that one left Ogier 14.7s clear of Meeke overall heading for the midday regroup.

The fight for second remains alive - 4.2s covering Meeke, Neuville and Sordo, with the Hyundais having swapped places on SS2 as Sordo ended the stage baffled that what felt like a competitive drive in a better-handling car produced a disappointing time.

Ogier's VW team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Jari-Matti Latvala started badly.

Mikkelsen's SS1 splits were respectable until his left foot "went to sleep" amid a vibration in the car.

The situation was slightly better on SS2, where he was third quickest and moved back up from eighth to sixth overall behind Hayden Paddon.

Latvala concluded the set-up he chose in pre-rally testing wasn't working, and admitted to lacking rhythm and confidence as he finished the morning in seventh ahead of Craig Breen.

The M-Sport Fords have again lacked pace - Mads Ostberg and Eric Camilli closely matched but a long way off their rivals in ninth and 10th - while Ott Tanak quickly resigned himself to a tough weekend with DMACK's asphalt tyre. The Estonian is behind the R5-spec cars of Elfyn Evans and Jan Kopecky in 13th.

Follow WRC Rally Corsica from 1:20pm UK time on Friday, and all weekend, with Autosport Race Centre Live.

LEADING POSITIONS AFTER SS2:

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