Jari-Matti Latvala fought back to claim his third win of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship season, beating Elfyn Evans after the Briton threatened to claim an unlikely victory in France.
For the first time since 2008, the Rally de France took place on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, but was hit by heavy rain and flooding that caused two of the stages to be cancelled.
Championship winner Sebastien Ogier and former Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica shared the early lead of the rally, but both dropped back due to technical problems.
Evans emerged as the leader after stage three on Friday, enjoying an advantage of 22 seconds over Latvala. However, the Volkswagen driver managed to reel the Briton in and take the lead after stage six before keeping his rivals at bay over the remainder of the rally.
Despite only finishing third on the final power stage, Latvala claimed his third win of the season ahead of Evans by 43 seconds.
“We’ve not had to push to the maximum at any point, but it was a faultless drive in difficult conditions,” Latvala said. “After winning last year, I have now done it again in Corsica and it’s important for me to show I can be competitive on all surfaces.”
Evans managed to hold on to second place by 3.2 seconds to record his career-best finish, while Andreas Mikkelsen rounded out the podium in third place.
Although neither Ogier nor Kubica could finish in the points, both salvaged something from the weekend by coming first and second respectively in the power stage.
The WRC returns in three weeks’ time for Rally de Catalunya in Spain, which is the penultimate round of the 2015 season.