Frustrated Paddon sixth at Rally of France
- Author: Joe Gonzales Apr 10, 2017,
Apr 10, 2017, 2:05
He and co-driver Paul Nagle might well have been fastest on all four but they were forced to slow slightly at the point where Ford's Ott Tanak crashed on stage three, still finishing less than a second behind Ogier's M-Sport Ford Fiesta.
"It's an unbelievable feeling to take the win here in Corsica this weekend", Neuville said.
Neuville turned things around on Saturday by winning the first stage, with Ogier coming second while Meeke put his Citroen in third.Things turned around in the following stage when Meeke retired with smoke coming out of his vehicle, he had to coast all the way to finish line.
Belgian Thierry Neuville has won the Rally of France in Corsica for Hyundai to become the fourth different driver to triumph in four rounds so far this season. "I struggled a bit in the opening day and I wasn't sure we could win this event, but we came back and turned it around".
Spaniard Dani Sordo was third in the second Hyundai, capping a terrific result for the Korean manufacturer.
Instead, he lost more time due to an electrical problem, finishing in seventh.
Meeke then responded by going fastest by 2.2s on SS4, and holds a 10.3s lead overnight. "We have to try to find something because this isn't the pace I want".
Jari-Matti Latvala won the final Power Stage in his Toyota Yaris to claim five bonus points.
That meant Neuville, who finished each of Friday's first four stages in third place, moved into the lead after winning the long fifth stage - 49 kilometers (30 miles) from La Porta to Valle di Rostino - and the much shorter sixth.
Overall, it was a frustrating race for Ogier, who left Volkswagen to drive the Ford Fiesta for M-Sport this season.
Ogier stayed within touching distance of the Meeke, who is aiming to follow up his dramatic victory in Rally Mexico with another win. Even though he won the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally, he is still getting accustomed to the vehicle.
"I still don't have the auto I'm dreaming of, so I have to fight because I can't do exactly as I like", said Ogier, who has 39 career wins.