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Neuville Extends Tour De Corse Lead

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Thierry Neuville has extended his lead in the Tour de Corse to 23.4 seconds after Friday's six stages.

The Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg driver won the opening two stages on Thursday afternoon, giving himself an overnight lead of 8.9 seconds over Skoda Motorsport driver Jan Kopecky.

A spin on Friday's opening stage, SS3 Erbajolo – Pont D Altiani saw his lead cut to 1.4 seconds, with Peugeot France driver Bryan Bouffier moving into second place. A stage win for Bouffier on SS4 Barchetta – La Porta saw the Monte Carlo winner move into a 4.2 second lead over Neuville.

However, Bouffier's lead would not last long as he suffered a puncture on SS5 Taverna – Pont de Castirla, losing a minute and dropping to sixth. Neuville won the stage as he regained the lead, now with an advantage of 15.8 seconds over Kopecky.

SS6, a repeat of SS4, saw former world rally champion Ari Vatanen crash the course opening zero car that he was driving with his son Max. Ari was sent to hospital for precautionary checks after complaining of back pains. The stage was cancelled and run as a liaison section.

Neuville won the remaining two stages to extend his lead to 23.4 seconds. Kopecky remains in second place, while Freddy Loix moved up into third in the BFO Skoda on the final stage of the day, past the Skoda UK entry of Andreas Mikkelsen.

Local driver Pierre Campana is fifth in his Peugeot 207, 17 seconds ahead of Bouffier. Julien Maurin moved up from ninth to seventh on the final stage of the day in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta, passing Peugeot Sport Portugal driver Bruno Magalhaes and Toni Gardemeister in his own TGS Skoda. Another local driver Jean-Mathieu Leandri is tenth in his 207.

Guy Wilks began the day in sixth for Peugeot UK, winning the first stage of the day and moving up to third. However, he went off the road on the next stage, and although his car was undamaged he was stuck in a ditch and unable to return to the road, consigning the Briton to retirement.

Pierre-Antoine Guglielmi continues to lead the 2WD Cup in 13th overall, with Production Cup leader Florian Gonon just behind.

Top ten positions after SS8:

Pos. No Driver Team Car Time/Gap
1 5 Thierry Neuville Peugeot Belux Peugeot 207 01:52:23.0
2 4 Jan Kopecky Skoda Å koda Fabia +23.4
3 2 Freddy Loix  BFO Skoda Å koda Fabia +27.7
4 6 Andreas Mikkelsen Skoda UK Å koda Fabia +29.0
5 10 Pierre Campana Munaretto Peugeot 207 +52.8
6 1 Bryan Bouffier Peugeot France Peugeot 207 +1:09.8
7 11 Julien Maurin Privateer Ford Fiesta +2:53.5
8 7 Bruno Magalhaes Peugeot Portugal Peugeot 207 +3:01.9
9 8 Toni Gardemeister TGS Worldwide Å koda Fabia +3:03.2
10 18 Jean-Mathieu Leandri Privateer Peugeot 207 +4:08.2
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About author
Peter joined the TCF team in September 2010 and covers GP2 and GP3 along with WTCC and Formula Two. You can find him on twitter at @PeteAllen_
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