The 2017 Rallye de France-Tour de Corse has moved from an autumn date to springtime and, while the organisers have opted to run a very similar route after only staging last year’s event in early October, the move may or may not bring with it a change in weather conditions. This could add a new dimension to the first asphalt rally of the season, which now breaks up a string of seven loose surface events.
The route remains reminiscent of the Tour de Corse of old and takes in narrow and relentlessly twisty mountain roads across most of the island. Abrasive asphalt is tough on tyres and conditions can often be changeable in the mountains, placing high importance on the work of the weather and route note crews as drivers attempt to predict what they could be facing some hours later.
This year, Rally de France also hosts the opening round of the new-look six-round FIA Junior WRC Championship. Youngsters looking to excel and get noticed on the world stage will compete in identical Fiesta R2 machinery this year and a different structure to the points scoring will see crews fight for up to seven rallies at the wheel of an R5 car in the FIA WRC 2 Championship next season.
This year’s route is largely the same as 2016 and once again takes in Bastia in the north, which is also the host town, Ajaccio on the west coast and Porto-Vecchio in the south of the island. After the start ceremony on Thursday in Ajaccio, Friday’s opening stage – Pietrosella-Albitreccia – is shorter this year and the first 7.40 kilometres are new. The Plage du Liamone-Sarrola-Carcopino stage remains the same but once again there is no mid-leg service this year placing importance on preservation throughout the day. On Saturday both stages have been shortened, but the day remains the longest of the event. Sunday’s route is identical to 2016 and includes the longest stage of the event, the 53.78 kilometre run from Antisanti to Poggio di Nazza.
1,080.73 km total distance
316.80 km (29.31%) stage distance
10 number of stages