Spainard Nil Solans took the opening victory of the season in the new-look 2017 FIA Junior World Rally Championship, the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse, and won four out of the 10 stages in the process.
Solans won the WRC-supporting event in dominating fashion and led from start to finish across the weekend, eventually winning 43.5 seconds ahead of second placed Nicolas Ciamin and Terry Folb in third.
Third placed Folb was chasing Solans throughout most of the event in second however a driveshaft failure on the final day of action meant that Ciamin would move into second and drop the Frenchman Foib down into third overall.
Soalns however was delighted with the victory. He said: “We went fast from the start to establish a gap and then aimed to just maintain that. It was about driving an intelligent rally, we drove fast when we needed to and were cautious when it was tricky. The long stages were tough, difficult to get right, but we are both very happy with this result and to get the championship off to the best possible start.”
While Folb was only able to reflect on what could have been. He admitted: “I came here to fight for the win and we were fastest over the stages on Saturday to close the gap to Solans. This morning I was pushing hard to get first place but the transmission problem today was disappointing. It was good to hold on to third and, with four fastest stage times, we have also shown that we have the pace to win.”
The new-look JWRC this season features drivers competing in identical Ford Fiesta R2T machinery with the championship being backed by tyre manufacture DMACK.
Fourth in the class was German Julius Tannert, while fifth went to the best-placed WRC debutant, Dennis Rådström ahead of Irishman Robert Duggan in sixth.
Seventh in class went to Bolivian Sebastian Careaga with American Dillon Van Way in eighth and the final finisher in the class, Miko-Ove Niinemäe, taking ninth.
The second round of the 2017 FIA Junior World Rally Championship takes place in Italy with the Rally Italia Sardegna between June 8-11.