Long before the World Championship was founded, the Tour de Corse started to build its legendary status in the 1950s. Back then, the island’s roads provided an unforgiving test of the handling of the cars and the talent of the drivers. Even today, the “Rally of 10,000 Corners” is still known for its narrow, twisty stages with uneven and abrasive roads. Demanding on the brakes and tyres, the mountain landscapes are also capable of serving up constantly changing weather. Whether the rally is held in the autumn or the spring, like this year, it is extremely unusual for rain not to put in an appearance at some point!
The French round of the World Championship was in October last year. In 2017 calendar it takes place in April, between the rallies in Mexico and Argentina. A very welcome reorganisation, which avoids there being a long uninterrupted series of six gravel rallies. As a result, the organisers have not made any drastic changes to the route, which is almost identical the one used in 2016. After an opening leg on roads around Ajaccio, the competitors will stay in the Bastia region on Saturday, before fighting it out on stages close to Porto-Vecchio on the final day. The itinerary of this sixtieth edition of the rally features only ten stages.
— M-Sport (@MSportLtd) 5 April 2017
Taking place over ten stages and a competitive distance of 316.80km, Tour de Corse will serve as the first all-tarmac event of the 2017 WRC season. The service park remains at Bastia Airport in the northeast.
Stamina will be key for the drivers on Friday. There will be no midday service, instead just two tyre fitting zones in Porticcio. Saturday sees only four stages run but it will represent the greatest distance covered on any of the three days, with both loops totalling 131.96km.
The final leg on Sunday features the longest stage of the entire rally. SS9 runs between Antisanti and Poggio di Nazza and covers a whopping 53.78km. There will be no respite for the crews ahead of the rally-concluding Porto-Vecchio – Palombaggia Power Stage.
Tour de Corse is famed for its many tricky twists and turns, which have contributed to its nickname – “Rally of 10,000 Corners”. Providing some of the most stunning scenery on the calendar, the rally takes place against a variety of backdrops, ranging from jaw-dropping cliff edges, to crystal blue seas and picturesque villages.
This will be only the third iteration of the event since its reinstatement to the WRC calendar in 2015. The itinerary itself will have a familiar feel, although several stages are shorter, reducing the competitive distance from 390.92km to 316.80km.
- Tour de Corse was France’s round of the world championship during the first WRC in 1973 but dropped off the calendar after the 2008 edition.
- There was a French WRC event in the Alsace region from 2010-2014, with the country’s world championship counter returning to Corsica in 2015. However, the event was a round of the IRC from 2011-2012. For the following two seasons it joined the European championship roster.
- Frenchmen Didier Auriol and Bernard Darniche jointly hold the record for the most Tour de Corse wins with six apiece. Sébastien Loeb is the next most successful on four.
- Tour de Corse provides a unique challenge in rallying, with tight and twisty mountain passes ready to catch out crews at any moment and giving the event its nickname of ‘the Rally of 10,000 Corners’. Precise pacenotes, preserving tyres on the abrasive asphalt roads and second-guessing the ever-changing island climate are key to success on Tour de Corse.
- This year’s event on the Mediterranean island has a new date. It was in September, while now is in April. Therefore it is the first pure asphalt event of the season.
The route for this year’s Tour de Corse is largely unchanged, although some of the stages have been made shorter in order to reduce the overall competitive distance
- The rally’s based is at Bastia Airport in the north-east of the island. Despite that the action kicks off on the west coast on Thursday evening with a starting ceremony in Ajaccio. Two stages near the capital will be run twice on the Friday. They total 120,64km, with just a mid-leg tyre change at Porticcio in between and no service.
- The competitive distance is even greater on the Saturday. There are 131,92km around two repeated stages to the north of the island. Sunday’s final leg in the east includes the longest stage of the rally, Antisanti – Poggio di Nazza at 53,78km. Those who survive that challenge will go on to contest the Power Stage at Porto-Vecchio where the rally also concludes.
|2016||Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia||Volkswagen Polo R WRC|
|2015||Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila||Volkswagen Polo R WRC|
|2014||Stéphane Sarrazin/Jacques-Julien Renucci||Ford Fiesta RRC|
|2013||Bryan Bouffier/Xavier Panseri||Peugeot 207 S2000|
|2012||Dani Sordo/Carlos Del Barrio||Mini Cooper S2000 1.6T|
Tour de Corse Schedule (GMT+2)
Thursday 6 April
8.00am: shakedown (Sorbo Ocagnano)
Friday 7 April
8.15am: Start (Ajaccio – Parking Miot)
8.50am: Tyre fitting zone (Porticcio)
9.22am: SS1 – Pietrosella – Albitreccia 1 (31.20km)
11.14am: SS2 – Plage du Liamone – Sarrola-Carpocino 1 (29.12km)
12.24pm: Regroup (Porticcio)
1.39pm: Tyre fitting zone (Porticcio)
2.11pm: SS3 – Pietrosella – Albitreccia 2 (31.20km)
4.03pm: SS4 – Plage du Liamone – Sarrola-Carpocino 2 (29.12km)
7.15pm: Neutralisation (Place Saint-Nicolas – Bastia)
8.30pm: Flexi Service A (Bastia airport – 45 mins)
Saturday 8 April
7.30am: Service B (Bastia airport – 15 mins)
8.40am: SS5 – La Porta – Valle di Rostino 1 (48.71km)
10.17am: SS6 – Novella 1 (17.27km)
1.03pm: Service C (Bastia airport – 30 mins)
2.28pm: SS7 – La Porta – Valle di Rostino 2 (48.71km)
4.08pm: SS8 – Novella 2 (17.27km)
5.48pm: Neutralisation (Place Saint-Nicolas – Bastia)
6.58pm: Flexi Service D (Bastia airport – 45 mins)
Sunday 9 April
7.15am: Service E (Bastia airport – 15 mins)
8.58am: SS9 – Antisanti – Poggio di Nazza (53.78km)
12.18pm: SS10 – Porto-Vecchio – Palombaggia (10.42km)
1.30pm: Podium (Porto-Vecchio Marina)
17:30: Parc Ferme (Bastia)