Stéphane Sarrazin and Bryan Bouffier head in to the second day of the Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse with just 1.7 seconds separating the two, setting up a great final day of the season.
Sarrazin started the day well and despite having to slow down to avoid a wandering cow shared the fastest time with Bouffier. By the third stage Bouffier had the upper hand but a damaged tyre cost him 17 seconds on stage four, handing the lead back to Sarrazin.
With nothing to lose Bouffier headed on to stage five and six in full attack mode, taking the fastest times on both stages, Sarrazin had done enough though to take the lead overnight.
“It was a good battle with Bouffier today,” said Sarrazin. “I went with the soft tyre on the second loop and I think it was a mistake. We continue to enjoy and make a big push.”
Last year’s Corsica winner Bouffier said: “I am happy to be here after a very good time on stage five. I am doing the best race as possible. Tomorrow will be really tough and we have to stay concentrated.”
Kevin Abbring sits in third place in his Peugeot 208T16 after inheriting the place from Peugeot Rally Academy team-mate Craig Breen who retired with transmission failure after four stages.
This years champion Esapekka Lappi placed as high as third but crashed out of the rally on the final stage of the day.
Eric Camilli suffered exhaust problems but secured fourth place ahead of Julien Maurin and Romain Dumas.
Maurin suffered from two punctures on his Fiesta R5 whilst running first on the road while Dumas suffered from handing problems in his Porsche 997 RGT on the tight and twisty Corsica roads.
The top ten was rounded out by Bruno Magalhães, Jaromír Tarabus, local hero Jean-Mathieu Leandri and fellow Corsican Pierre-Antoine Guglielmi in the leading ERC 2WD class car.
Keith Cronin leads the ERC Production Car Cup on his debut in JRM’s Subaru WRX STI in eleventh overall with title contenders Martin Hudec and Vitaliy Pushkar in second and third in class respectively.
In the ERC Junior class Andrea Crugnola leads the way with Fabio Andolfi and championship contender Stéphane Lefebvre in third place. Gino Bux finished the day in fourth place after early brake problems while Aleks Zawada retired on the opening stage with a broken engine. Florin Tincescu‘s luck run on on stage two as he crashed out.
Kajetan Kajetanowicz suffered a broken driveshaft but was able to complete the stage following a delay only to be forced to retire on the road section heading to stage two.