Dani Sordo topped the times on shakedown as Prodrive prepared for its latest outing in the World Rally Championship in France.
The Spaniard set a time of 2min 34.1secs to go three-tenths of a second faster that Jari-Matti Latvala ahead of the first event for the MINI John Cooper Works WRC since a new engine software calibration and enhanced gear cut was installed on the car.
“It's the first time I have driven the car with these changes, but it feels much better and stronger,” he said. “I am also really pleased the FIA has agreed all WRC cars can have gravel notes. I am sure the times will be close this week, so every little bit of time we can find will help.”
Petter Solberg was third fastest in the second of the factory Fiestas, with Sebastien Loeb fourth for Citroen. The Frenchman can wrap up the championship crown if results go his way this weekend, with team-mate Mikko Hirvonen the only man who can now deny him another title.
Hirvonen was sixth quickest through the 3.8km shakedown stage behind Thierry Neuville, with Nasser Al-Attiyah, Mads OStberg, Evgeny Novikov and Ott Tanak rounding out the top ten.
The action gets underway later today with the opening Super Special stage.
Rallye de France Alsace – Shakedown (Top 10):
1. Dani Sordo
Prodrive WRC Team MINI John Coopers Works WRC 2m 34.1s
2. Jari-Matti Latvala
Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC 2m 34.4s
3. Petter Solberg
Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC 2m 35.0s
4. Sebastien Loeb
Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 2m 35.5s
5. Thierry Neuville
Citroen Junior WRT DS3 WRC 2m 35.7s
6. Mikko Hirvonen
Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 2m 37.5s
7. Nasser Al-Atiyah
Qatar WRT Citroen DS3 WRC 2m 37.5s
8. Mads Ostberg
Adapta WRT Fiesta RS WRC 2m 38.0s
9. Evgeny Novikov
M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC 2m 39.4s
10. Ott Tanak
M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC 2m 40.0s
all times unofficial