Sebastien Ogier has taken a dominant victory around the twisty stages of the Tour de Course for M-Sport, his third win of the 2018 World Rally Championship so far.
Ogier stormed into an early lead of the event and maintained the position while many of his rivals ran into problems, with Sebastien Loeb the first victim of the rally when the nine-time champion ended up in a ditch in only the second stage of the weekend.
Ott Tanak beat Thierry Neuville to second after the pair went into Sunday’s action with only 0.1s between them. An engine issue for Neuville at the end of the final stage also thwarted the Belgian’s chance of taking any power stage points.
Dani Sordo finished in fourth after a close battle with Elfyn Evans, with the Welshman competing with stand-in co-driver Phil Mills while Daniel Barritt continuing to recover from his concussion in Mexico.
Andreas Mikkelsen blamed understeer for his sixth-place result, with all the Hyundais struggling for balance on the first all asphalt event of the season.
Esapekka Lappi was running in fourth before receiving a puncture in Sunday’s mammoth 55-kilometre opening stage and dropping down to seventh, although the Finn ran fastest in the power stage and takes away the five extra championship points.
WRC2 winner Jan Kopecky finished eighth, with Yoann Bonato also representing WRC2 in 10th.
The other Citroen of Kris Meeke also ran into trouble while challenging for second, becoming tangled in the bushes during the Saturday afternoon running of Novella- a stage which Meeke has struggled with in previous years. The incident was caused by a misinterpreted pace-note and dropped Meeke into ninth.
Jari-Matti Latvala and Bryan Bouffier did not finish the rally after incurring damage after hitting a tree and an engine failure respectively.