WRC Tour of Corsica: Jari-Matti Latvala closes on Elfyn Evans' lead

Jari-Matti Latvala closed the gap to Tour of Corsica leader Elfyn Evans to just 1.7 seconds after a blistering run through a slippery and treacherous first Saturday stage

WRC Tour of Corsica: Jari-Matti Latvala closes on Elfyn Evans' lead

Once again the Casamozza-Ponte Leccia stage was cancelled due to flooding and landslides, meaning the day started with a second run through the 22.6-mile Francardo-Sermano stage.

World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier, who rejoined under Rally2 after a gearshift problem heading to parc ferme on Friday night, was the early pacesetter but was quickly bettered by Volkswagen team-mate Latvala coming in 14.4s faster.

Andreas Mikkelsen came closest to beating the Finn but fell short by just 4.5s. He did however climb to third overall.

This left all eyes on M-Sport Ford driver Evans. The Welshman didn't set the timing screens alight but was steady through the splits.

He completed the stage seventh fastest overall, 21.2s slower than Latvala, but crucially he was able to hold on to his overall lead.

Like many other drivers, Evans complained that the stage surface was "slimy" after Friday's poor weather.

"It was slimy and difficult," said Evans. "We will do what we can in the afternoon, we can't do any more."

Hyundai's Kevin Abbring, who was second on Saturday, fell to fourth overall as he struggled through SS5.

He was 31.6s down on Latvala through the stage, which he blamed on a slow puncture and poor tyre choice.

"We had a slow puncture but we didn't hit anything," said Abbring. "At 15km it didn't feel good at all. The hard tyres were definitely worse on this surface."

Kris Meeke was the biggest mover. He jumped up the overall standings to fifth ahead of Citroen team-mate Mads Ostberg. He was fourth fastest through the stage, 17.2s behind Latvala.

Stephan Sarrazin couldn't repeat his Friday afternoon heroics, finishing the stage only 13th fastest amid a loss of boost, which meant he dropped a place to seventh overall.

Bryan Bouffier maintained his overall position in ninth. He was also ninth fastest on the stage.

Ott Tanak jumped into the top 10 with Dani Sordo, who was fifth fastest through SS5, 20.2s behind.

Friday morning joint-leader Robert Kubica stopped twice on stage with a suspected puncture to put him out of contention.

Craig Breen lost his WRC2 lead after Julien Maurin was 29.4s faster through the stage. Esapekka Lappi also jumped Breen into second in class, topping the WRC2 stage classification in the process.

LEADING POSITIONS AFTER SS5:

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WRC Tour of Corsica: Jari-Matti Latvala deposes leader Elfyn Evans

WRC Tour of Corsica: Jari-Matti Latvala deposes leader Elfyn Evans
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