Andreas Mikkelsen holds a narrow lead over series returnee Giandomenico Basso and World Rally star Dani Sordo at the end of day one of the latest Intercontinental Rally Challenge round in Corsica.
Basso, driving an A-Style-run Ford, was quickest on the first of leg one's three stages, before fastest time on SS2 took championship leader Mikkelsen (Skoda UK) from fourth to first. He heads for the overnight halt 1.8 seconds ahead of Basso, and 2.8sec clear of Sordo, who is the first top-line driver to showcase the S2000 Mini in the IRC.
A stage win on SS3 took Pierre Campana's Munaretto Peugeot up to fourth place, 19.3sec off the lead, and just ahead of Mathieu Arzeno (Sainteloc Peugeot), with 2011 title contenders Jan Kopecky (Skoda) and Bryan Bouffier (Delta Peugeot) next up. Kopecky had a minor off-road excursion on SS3, while Bouffier rued excessive understeer.
Further back, Hermann Gassner Jr's Red Bull Skoda has been delayed by a puncture, and Craig Breen's Sainteloc Peugeot has been hampered by driveshaft issues.
Pos Driver Car Time
1. A.Mikkelsen Skoda Fabia S2000 28m36.3s
2. G.Basso Ford Fiesta S2000 + 0.1
3. Daniel Sordo Mini John Cooper Works S2000 + 0.6
4. Jan Kopecky Peugeot 207 S2000 + 13.2
5. Mathieu Arzeno Peugeot 207 S2000 + 17.2
6. Bryan Bouffier Skoda Fabia S2000 + 17.4
7. Pierre Campana Peugeot 207 S2000 + 20.1
8. J-M.Manzagol Skoda Fabia S2000 + 46.9
9. Julien Maurin Peugeot 207 S2000 + 48.8
10. Sepp Wiegand Skoda Fabia S2000 + 55.5