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Australian photographer, Michael Vettas, reports from day 1 of Rallye de France Alsace.

A long day has finally come to an end - a loop of three stages today down south with a 35km stage smack bang in the middle. After the first stage Latvala had a slight lead over Ogier with Mikkelsen following in third, however that would change drastically come the second stage and for the remaining stages of the day.

On stage 2 of the day Ogier had problems, apparently a faulty gearbox sensor which put him back by four minutes. Then on stage 3, Ogier’s co-driver Julien Ingrassia checked them in to the stage early, earning them a further four minute penalty.

So, come the end of Heat 1, Ogier is massive 8 minutes and 50 second behind the leader Latvala with Mikkelsen now in second just 8.5 seconds behind with Meeke now in third a further 22.7 seconds back.

Mikkelson had this to say about his efforts today: "I'm happy with my drive, really enjoying it. But Jari-Matti was bloody fast in here - crazy!

“Second fastest again, and second overall, I have to be happy.” 

Tomorrow’s (Saturday’s) stages travel south yet again through typical vineyard and forest stages.

Michael Vettas

Visit RallySport Mag's Photo Gallery to browse Michael's photos from Rally France


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