Dani Sordo ended the first full day of Rally France in fifth place, just 16 seconds off a podium position with the longest day of the event to come.
In the afternoon, all the lead drivers were on hard tyres as the temperature rose into the mid-20s. Sordo retained his fifth place on the second loop of the morning's stages, despite some brake issues, and took sixth place in the super special in Mulhouse. Yvan Muller continued his battle with Romain Dumas finishing the day in 20th, one place and 38 seconds behind Dumas. In the super special in his home town of Mulhouse, he recorded his best stage result with a 14th place.
Dave Wilcock, MINI WRC Team principal, said: "After the pace Dani showed in shakedown, today was a bit disappointing. We were hoping to be in a podium position going into day two, but we are a little off the pace we expected, even with the disadvantage of running ninth on the road. Still Dani is just 16 seconds off third and we know both he and the car have the speed to close that gap over the 190 km of stages tomorrow. Yvan has driven steadily today, he is clearly an exceptional driver. It is just his lack of rally experience in using pace notes that has not let him exploit the full performance of the car yet."
Dani Sordo said: "It was not like we expected today. The tyre choice today was good this morning, maybe we could have taken two soft, but this afternoon we have some problems with the brakes and we lost a bit of time with the others. The brake was going a little long, but I think the mechanics will fix it and then tomorrow we target the podium."
Yvan Muller said: "It was good today, it is first time I have done the whole day of the rally without a problem. My major problem is the notes are not correct for this car, they underestimate what this car can do. Plenty of times I lift off the throttle when I could go flat out and you lose time all the way along the next straight. I want to finish the rally, I do not want to take a risk to try and gain one or two places, I want to keep going on this rhythm and will push when I can."
Source: Prodrive MINI